I've decided to do eclectic homeschooling with ds this year since our attempts to do Enki last year didn't work. I've chosen the curriculums and subjects, but I'm not sure how long or how often to do each subject each day.
What do others of you do with your 7 year olds and/or 1st or 2nd graders? My son is asperger's-ish, so not a long attention span.
I was thinking of having at least two 20-30 minute sessions each day--one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I'm not sure he'd be able to handle more than that, unless I do 3 sessions with pretty big breaks in between. And I'd like to have school 4-5 days a week.
I plan to teach the following subjects: reading/writing/phonics/spelling/handwriting (lumped together or separate?), math, social studies/history, science/nature. And I'd like to have at least one session a week for handcrafts/art.
I will probably place an emphasis on language arts and math, and might have a short reading practice every day (like 5 minutes with an easy reader). Science and history would probably be fine just once or twice a week.
Do you do reading and math every day? Do you separate reading/math lessons from practice (such as teach concepts one day and practice the next)?
Can you please share what your day looks like?
Thanks so much,
What if you kept the main lesson block rhythm? I'm not sure what exactly didn't work for you guys regarding Enki, but we love the main lesson block. Ours is only about 30 min, but that's following movement and seasonal songs, as well as recorder. We incorporate some math everyday in our movement (skip counting w beanbags).
We also try to include about 20 min of practice work later in the day, after rest time. This work is Lang arts if we're doing math fro main lesson in morning and math practice when we are in a Lang arts block in morning.
For science, we use the nature stories 1x per week. History is tied with the cultural studies done during Lang arts block.
Schedule? Oh, that's that thing where you write stuff down on the calender or other stuff, thingies, and what-have-yous. Riii...iiight!
Hm, well, we don't do that, but we are spending a lot of time reading: dd to me, me to her, etc. Playing games where you read what you have to do on the card counts.
Stargazing is at bedtime now, and most of our "schoolish" stuff happens before dinner or at other odd times.
No, this train is chugging along quite merrily without a schedule. I know that isn't quite what you asked, I was just in a snarky mood. Just so you know that if you feel you need to, a schedule can be ditched successfully. (Well. Gymnastics on Wednesdays, etc.)
You sound like a wonderfully responsive mama, finding what works for your son. Good luck!
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
With my 5 & 7 year old we were spending 15 minutes a day on math & 15-20 minutes a day on reading, and my 7 year old does 15 minutes on piano & 15 on violin. The rest of the day was free play, with a maximum of 30 minutes of screen time, me reading to them, which they love, and some once a week classes: music lesson, art, gymnastics. They also do baseball and soccer.
But the kids were complaining that "school is boring". So, I replied that we never get to the fun stuff, like science & history, except for during reading, because they were to busy with legos, etc. We mutually decided last week to add science & history for 30 minutes each, twice a week. They decided that I needed to add 30 to 60 minutes of crafts, twice a week. And I decided that they needed to add 10 minutes of writing, 3 to 4 days a week.
So, with all of that, school should take about 2.5 hours a day, 4 days a week. We've been taking about 4 to 6 hours to get that accomplished, with free play and outside time mixed in. We've only been at this new schedule for a week, so I can't say how long we'll keep it up.
I'm a noob with schedules, and my dk is older (now 8) ... but we've been doing this for a month or so and it seems to be working well.
She does two academic blocks a day, about four days a week. We slot each in on an hour, but we only go as long as her enthusiasm holds. If necessary (if she wants to) we have up to an hour to allot, but generally it's more like 30 minutes. She's working at a 7th grade level, and this seems to be sufficient for decent progress.
We also block in time for outdoor activity, craft time and hands-on science, as well as for violin practicing / lessons / orchestra and such. She likes knowing when things are happening, and I'm so busy with my older kids and work that unless I commit to a schedule we often don't get around to the things she wants to do.
Anyway, 30 minutes of academics twice a day 4 or 5 days a week works well for us. I'm amazed by how much it is possible to accomplish in just that bit of time.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
I will write about my third grader, since she is closest to your son's age. She also has some "quirks" and learns best when I think outside the box. Our schedule is fairly loose. I prefer not to have a schedule, my kids prefer to have one. We have come up with something that works for all of us -- for now anyway :)
We plan on math daily. However, I will not have her do a worksheet more than 3 times/week. In reality it varies between 2-3 worksheets/week. On the other days we use manipulatives, do oral math, use the white board for problems, and on Fridays (at least) we do math games. The "Friday" games are usually for reinforcement, not new material. I will use games for new stuff sometimes, but I think of it as a manipulative then, and we do it earlier in the week.
We plan to read daily. She reads to me during the day. I vary the selections. Sometimes she reads from specific skill related readers, and sometimes she chooses. I have a couple things we use for reading instruction. That happens 2-3 times/week. Spelling is only once or twice a week right now since we are focusing on reading multi-syllable words. She is also spelling multi-syllable words (using similar strategies so it is all related). I read to her and her sisters every night (minimum).
Writing/Grammar: so far, I must be doing something good because writing isn't a chore. I rarely require much, but I allow for many opportunities for her to use her writing skills. Most of our writing requirements are about handwriting not composition. She and her sisters create their own stories and perform them frequently, so I don't worry that she isn't putting them on paper. Grammar is only done in an introductory style here about 15-20 minutes each week. I hate grammar workbooks for her, so I use one as a guide for me (topics) and create my own "grammar" activities. People read about my "egg hunts" a lot. My dd loves to hunt for Easter eggs. I frequently hide them with learning in mind. She might go find all the eggs, open them and put the strips of paper into appropriate buckets (noun or verb), or any number of things I might have her do. Active lessons are more meaningful for her.
Science/Social Studies/Art: These are usually favorite subjects in our house. Our "schedule" has Science on Mon/Wed. and Social Studies on Tues/Thurs. and Art on Friday. "Art" means learning something new related to the subject. My dd loves art and works on projects, etc nearly daily. I am not talking about that. However, if Science is particularly interesting we will abandon the 'schedule' and just do science for a while, skipping the rest. Same goes for another subject.
School takes at most 2 hours a day, broken up a bit.
This is so helpful everyone to see what you're doing (or not doing). I also prefer not to have a schedule and just go with the flow like SweetSilver --in fact, we tried unschooling for awhile. But ds is a black and white thinker and really does better when he knows what to expect ahead of time. Otherwise he fights me all the way.
We tried Enki for almost 2 years, but he hated it. I finally had to admit that it appealed more to me than to him. We do plan to keep much of the rhythm of Enki day, as you suggested Briansmama. Like we'll have sensory work before lessons, quiet time after lunch, then practice time, contract work, and perhaps some alternating of subjects (new material along with practicing the older stuff). And I'll always think of Friday as nature/science day b/c that's when we did it with Enki.
Miranda and Amy, I appreciate you taking time to write out your schedules. That gives me a lot to consider as I figure out what we're going to do. Sounds like we can do everything I'd like to do in just and hour or two each day. Which will leave plenty of time for the important stuff, like playing!
Thanks again, Kelly
My daughters almost seven and we are doing grade one. We are using mostly AO.
We usually start with piano practice/music for 10 min or so, and then math for 15 to 30, but usually the shorter number. tHe longer time is if we are doing fun things like code stuff.
We spend five min on poetry, and up to 10 on copywork. Then up to 10 min on one of our readins, and up to 10 on French. Some days we spend five min or so on spelling, and then do another AO reading for about 10 min.
After that we might do science, or a picture study, or handwork, or mapwork/timeline. We spend as much time on that as we feel like.
We also have a one hour music class, dance class, and choir during the week.
We often do this with breaks, mostly necessitated by my pre-schooler or toddler. Or sometimes we'll run errands early or decide to go for a walk, or if the girls are playing really well together I'll just wait and do school later. I figure if we can be flexible, we might as well make use of it.
I've been thinking through our grade 1 schedule for next year and what I've come up with is a blend of sorts between main lesson blocks that last weeks and daily subjects. What I'd like to do ideally is this:
Monday--Seasonal circle time, Fairy Tale Main LA Lesson w/ drawing; Afternoon, baking
Tuesday--Seasonal circle time, Math Main Lesson w/ story and practice; Afternoon, cleaning/chores
Wednesday--Seasonal circle time, Nature story with clay or wax modeling; Afternoon, nature walk
Thursday--Seasonal circle time, Math Main Lesson w/ story and practice, review from Tuesday; Afternoon, wet-on-wet painting
Friday--Seasonal circle time, Fairy Tale Main LA Lesson from Monday revisited w/ breadmaking; Afternoon, needle-felting scene from fairy tale for a felt fairy tale book
Our kindy circle now lasts just a bit over an hour, and I want to keep our grade 1 circle and main lesson about an hour - an hour and half. Following our afternoon work, we'll just go outside to play all day.
My ds is also 7, and while we do do some "sit down" work, I try to keep it to a minimum. Each day, he does 2 pages of math (5-10 minutes), math facts on the computer (5 minutes), Writing with Ease (10 minutes), and spelling or grammar (10 minutes). He also does Rosetta Stone Spanish every other day, which takes a little longer (15 minutes, maybe). Ds does need routine and schedule (unlike the rest of our family), so having a regular time to sit down and do this work every single morning is very important. He also has to keep tabs on the rest of our activities for each day. Even though the rest of us are not very scheduled people per se, we do have a regular rhythm to each day that we generally adhere to.
Other stuff we do outside of the 'sit down' time: Waldorf handcraft group once a week, homeschool group once a week for fun science experiments, Spanish class, Story of the World audiobooks in the car for history, and then of course we just read books. He reads to us in the evenings, and then we read to him more lengthy books on a variety of topics. Lastly, we just live life and do interesting things! I know that sounds corny, but it's true...
I'd agree with the two hours of "real" school per day, but it can take me 4 to 6 hours to get that finished.
The main thing is to review, review, review any basics. Just a quick three times each several times at a sitting keeps it light and
My seven year old is my eighth child and is brighter than some of the others, especially in Math. We took Dr. Art Robinson's advice about learning the Math facts and used flash cards videos and printable Math worksheets to practice writing the equations. In 6 months he "tested out" of all four operations! We're also happiest using an Orton/Spalding sort of phonics/handwriting/spelling/reading method, although I've used several Orton programs. The phonics flash cards and note book for the rules have been what helped my oldest children advance the most easily, so I'm sticking with it for him.
I've had children in and out of school so it was quite a consolation to me now that we're home for good that there was lots of hats and coats time when the other children were in school that counted as school time including recess, bathroom time, lunch, coloring time, game times, etc.
He helped me create the schedule. I set out a one week blank grid with days of the week and a number of blank rectangles for each day. I then wrote down subject names on a bunch of little cards, to be taped into the blank grid rectangles. In doing this, I determined ahead of time how many days I wanted to do each subject...math, science, reading, etc, and wrote that number of cards with that subject. Then I let him help me place them on the schedule. We've tweaked the original schedule a bit, but finally ended up with something we can work with. I let him know in advance that we could move these subjects around on the schedule (so he didn't take it too literally or get upset by making changes, him being an Aspie). I also let him know in advance that these are the things we want to get done each day - not a specific time for each thing. Otherwise, he would ask me exactly what time we are doing math and such. Each day I give him the choice of which one he wants to do first, next, and so on. And we don't usually do them bang, bang, bang right in a row. Usually it's one thing, then something else like playtime or a game or something. Later we do the next subject.
We ended up with 3 math days a week, 2 science, 2 reading, 2 language arts, 1 foreign language, 1 music, 1 art. I also put his outside classes on the schedule, too. Now, my DS is 5, going to be 6 in December, so he's a very young first grader. He doesn't have the attention span or ability to sit for long periods as I would expect an older child to do. So I keep each subject short, unless he's totally obsessing on it. We usually do 15-30 minutes for math, 15-30 minutes for reading, 15 minutes for language arts, foreign language is on the computer, so however long it holds his interest. Music and art are for however long he's interested in doing them. He actually does lots of reading and activities in the science area (an obsession of his), so no worries of him not getting enough science there. Science can take us anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or more if he's obsessing.
Kim mama to DS 12/2005, Pepper kitty , and 10/03, 1/05;
I agree that an Aspie kid does better with a schedule -- we finally realized this a couple years ago with DS. He really needs an external guide in place, step-by-step instructions and clear expectations. He's so much happier, even though initially it kind of jarred my unschoolish sensibilities lol...
There are so many different approaches to scheduling. My best advice would probably just be -- try something. If you don't like it, change it. Whatever you try, you don't have to be locked into it forever. And even if you love what you come up with, a year from now your child will be a different person and it might need a complete overhaul.
We've done sticker charts. Checklists. Workboxes. I've decided the order of lessons, and he's decided the order based on a list I give him. We've done lots of short lessons, we've done a few longer lessons. We've done the same basic schedule every day, and we've done a couple core subjects each day with rotating other stuff through the week. We've incorporated circle times, poetry tea days, outdoor time, and we've lost those activities... and regained them... and lost them. We've had many breaks during the day, and we've had 'get all the work done first then free time all day'.
Along the way, we've learned what sorts of things work best for us. (In our case, physical activity - preferably outdoors - is essential for a productive day; he's almost useless academically in the morning but can do his music practice well; he can't be permitted free time blocks because he gets 'stuck' in whatever activity it is; and we've found a good mix of the 'core' things I require along with his own greater passions and interests; all organized through homeschoolskedtrack and he gets a checklist each day)...
So just jump in and try something and see what happens. Explain to your son precisely that -- you're TRYING stuff out. If he HATES it at first, then you can tell him something like 'we're going to try this for 2 weeks just to make sure, it's often hard to try something new but we might end up liking this once we're used to it -- but if it's a disaster, don't worry, we'll try something different." Kids are generally more likely to go along with trying something if they understand it's a trial run and is open to modifications and improvements. :)