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soror

regentrude- scheduling question, please?

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I'm working on planning our upcoming year and am considering changing up things a bit on scheduling. I'm intrigued by what I've read method. If you have a moment I have a few (probably stupid)questions. I'm just trying to picture how it plays out. My son *needs* structure but I'm exploring the idea of relaxing some to give him some freedom and more ownership.

 

The way I understand it you make a list of resources and then tell your student they need to work on it for x minutes a day, going through whatever they make it through. Do you pre-buy everything on the list or do chunks at a time? Did you have your students record what they did in some way for your own record keeping? Do you even make a list of topics you want them to cover and offer different resources for hitting that topic or let them delve into the areas that are interesting to them?

 

Do you limit resources like documentaries and videos or did you find they were self-limiting?

 

How often did you schedule output? How did that work into the schedule? Did the kids have a break from input for a week or two to work on their paper/project? 

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by soror
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I love it!  There are seven people following this thread, and regentrude hasn't even responded yet.  :001_smile:

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Sorry, just seeing this now.

I'm assuming we talk about middle grades, not high school?

 

I always had a long list of resources, especially for history. I researched this carefully and then came up with a list of materials we wanted to use in a given school year. They could choose what they wanted to do for history/ English, for example: outline in the encyclopedia, or read a non fiction book, read a literature book related to the period, watch a documentary, research online.

 

My kids had to do a certain amount of school (five hours in the middle grades) and were free to spend this time however they wanted, with the exception of the required daily 45 minutes of math for DS (DD worked math in binges and not daily, but DS did not have the concentration for more than 45 minutes).

 

I bought in chunks. I actually did not spend a lot of money on materials; lots of used books, documentaries per Netflix, a few spine textbooks I bought used, very few online things like a geography game. No scripted curriculum. 

I had my kids record in their planner what they did for how long and then put it in my spreadsheet. They would write down "30 minutes Robinson Crusoe, 60 min PBS Napoleon, 30 min GC lecture".

 

We do a lot more input than output; my kids abhorred busywork, and we never did worksheets, fill in the blanks, etc. Aside form daily math work, I only assigned longer writing or presentation projects; they were free to choose a topic related to what they were studying. They loved giving oral presentations with Powerpoint visuals. They also made posters.

 

Not sure if this answers your questions - I'm happy to answer more questions, let me know.

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I love it!  There are seven people following this thread, and regentrude hasn't even responded yet.  :001_smile:

 

We're at 9 now :) 

Sorry, just seeing this now.

I'm assuming we talk about middle grades, not high school?

 

I always had a long list of resources, especially for history. I researched this carefully and then came up with a list of materials we wanted to use in a given school year. They could choose what they wanted to do for history/ English, for example: outline in the encyclopedia, or read a non fiction book, read a literature book related to the period, watch a documentary, research online.

 

My kids had to do a certain amount of school (five hours in the middle grades) and were free to spend this time however they wanted, with the exception of the required daily 45 minutes of math for DS (DD worked math in binges and not daily, but DS did not have the concentration for more than 45 minutes).

 

I bought in chunks. I actually did not spend a lot of money on materials; lots of used books, documentaries per Netflix, a few spine textbooks I bought used, very few online things like a geography game. No scripted curriculum. 

I had my kids record in their planner what they did for how long and then put it in my spreadsheet. They would write down "30 minutes Robinson Crusoe, 60 min PBS Napoleon, 30 min GC lecture".

 

We do a lot more input than output; my kids abhorred busywork, and we never did worksheets, fill in the blanks, etc. Aside form daily math work, I only assigned longer writing or presentation projects; they were free to choose a topic related to what they were studying. They loved giving oral presentations with Powerpoint visuals. They also made posters.

 

Not sure if this answers your questions - I'm happy to answer more questions, let me know.

Yes, I was talking about middle school, sorry I wasn't clear.

 

This is helpful. So, you did writing through content, correct? How often did they have writing assignments and how often did they have general assignments?I am assuming Lit was done the same way, you had a list for the year or did you just incorporate lit with history?

 

Thanks in advance!

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 So, you did writing through content, correct? How often did they have writing assignments and how often did they have general assignments?I am assuming Lit was done the same way, you had a list for the year or did you just incorporate lit with history?

 

They had a handful of writing assignments each year that were incorporated with their content studies - reports on science and history topics, one books, with complexity and length increasing as they got older.

 

I loosely coordinated literature with history, taking my inspiration from the WTM, but not following the program precisely. 

 

 

What do you mean by "general assignment"?

 

 

Edited by regentrude
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They had a handful of writing assignments each year that were incorporated with their content studies - reports on science and history topics, one books, with complexity and length increasing as they got older.

 

I loosely coordinated literature with history, taking my inspiration from the WTM, but not following the program precisely. 

 

 

What do you mean by "general assignment"?

General assignments I meant those that were not writing assignments.

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General assignments I meant those that were not writing assignments.

 

I don't understand what those would be in my context. The only general assignment was "Spend five hours on school work using the materials mom has selected and provided for the various subjects". In other words: read, watch, write, work math problems for five hours, picking what to do and for how long to do it. The whole point was not to have "assignments" - aside from the long term projects over several months which could be either a report or a poster or an oral presentation.

Edited by regentrude
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thanks for taking the time to reply regentrude!

 

so, did you basically plan out a term/year and just let them work through your plans in their own way? I mean, specifically, did you plan what should be x-hours of work for each subject and let them go? Did you do more answering questions rather than preemptive teaching? What did you do if it looked like they wouldn't complete it in time?

 

I like the idea of it, we did something somewhat similar, but dd would leave the harder things until last and rush them, and it was difficult to coordinate meetings to do the direct instruction needed whilst giving my younger kids the structure and teaching time they need...

Edited by LMD
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so, did you basically plan out a term/year and just let them work through your plans in their own way? I mean, specifically, did you plan what should be x-hours of work for each subject and let them go? 

 

I did not "plan out" anything in detail. I assembled a book list, found documentaries, got textbooks - a buffet of options to choose from. I did not tell them what exactly they needed to do for each subject each day; they could choose to do any of the educational activities appropriate for their subject. As I said before, the one exception was math which for DS was required daily (DD  preferred to work in binges)

 

 

 

 What did you do if it looked like they wouldn't complete it in time?

 

The concept of "not completing "it" in time" did not exist - there was no "it. I did not require a set amount of content coverage, but simply time on task. I wanted them to be engaged with their subjects for x hours, but free to explore, use what materials they found most appealing, take detours, delve into areas of interest. The wonderful thing about the middle grades is that nobody requires you to cover a set curriculum, check of set boxes, show what you have done. You are free to let your kids learn what they are passionate about, with a few boundary conditions to make sure math gets done. 

When I felt the learning to get too lopsided, I would gently redirect; for example, after a few weeks of history binging, I would tell them to spend some time on science.

 

 

 

Did you do more answering questions rather than preemptive teaching?

 

I did not do any direct instruction.

I was directly present while they worked on math to be able to answer questions or help with Socratic guiding. I was available for questions, for discussions, to listen to them tell me what they found interesting.

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thanks for that reply regentrude!

 

do you think that doing it this way particularly suited the personalities of your children and yourself? What age did they start, and did you do any sort of transition?

 

love what you've said, lots to ponder...

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I am struggling a bit with the no direct instruction thing, I think.

 

How did you develop the skill subjects?

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do you think that doing it this way particularly suited the personalities of your children and yourself? What age did they start, and did you do any sort of transition?

 

I pulled my kids out of public school in 5th/6th grades, respectively, because they were not learning and were not adequately challenged.

The first day DD was home, she said "I am glad I don't have to go to school anymore, I can finally learn something!"

That is why our method worked so well: they were sick of being bored and craved learning.

 

The first day my DS was home in 5th grade, I had to go to work and told him he would be alone with DD for two hours. He asked me whether he could have DD show him how to use Powerpoint, and when I came home he had created a 13 slide show about the battle of Thermopylae.

They needed no "transition" - they were just happy to finally be allowed to learn something in "school".

Edited by regentrude
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I am struggling a bit with the no direct instruction thing, I think.

How did you develop the skill subjects?

 

Not quite sure what you mean by skill subjects.

 

For math, we used AoPS which is written to the student and provides the instruction via discovery method. I just needed to answer questions, clarify, give hints.

For writing, they just wrote. I read their writing, made suggestions for improvement. They wrote better the next time.

For presentations, they presented, we evaluated and critiqued their presentation, and they presented better the next time.

 

 

 

 

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I like this idea and can see it working out for my older child (grade 5). I do something similar sometimes but I think my younger kids still need some instruction in reading and writing for a bit longer? Did you do any grammar or did they learn it intuitively through quality reading.

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I like this idea and can see it working out for my older child (grade 5). I do something similar sometimes but I think my younger kids still need some instruction in reading and writing for a bit longer? Did you do any grammar or did they learn it intuitively through quality reading.

 

As I explained above, my kids attended ps for elementary - so they could read and spell when they came home in 5th/6th grade

 

I never did any formal grammar instruction in English; they studied grammar in their foreign language. 

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I don't understand what those would be in my context. The only general assignment was "Spend five hours on school work using the materials mom has selected and provided for the various subjects". In other words: read, watch, write, work math problems for five hours, picking what to do and for how long to do it. The whole point was not to have "assignments" - aside from the long term projects over several months which could be either a report or a poster or an oral presentation.

I'm sorry for being obtuse. As you mentioned earlier so much out there seems like unnecessary busy work, I might try it out because I feel like we need to do something more but I drop it because I find it pointless, then I'm left still feeling like we need to do more but not sure what, that is why I started a thread on output a few weeks ago. I'm trying to wrap my brain around what I want to do for this coming year. It has to be a plan that I feel is worthwhile but not so intensive I can't pull it off. I know that you have successfully schooled your children without a lot of the extras people tout as necessary so I'm trying to wrap my brain around the whole process now that my son is older and more able to handle some independence. I believe we'll try it out for the first quarter of school and if it is successful we'll go from there. 

 

How often did they do long term projects? How did their work for them fit into the schedule? Were they told at the beginning of the section they would be expected to do a project and do it along the way or did they take a week or two at the end to work on it before moving on to the next section. How often did they write papers as opposed to other projects?

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How often did they do long term projects? How did their work for them fit into the schedule? Were they told at the beginning of the section they would be expected to do a project and do it along the way or did they take a week or two at the end to work on it before moving on to the next section. How often did they write papers as opposed to other projects?

 

They had a long term project or paper a few times per semester. 

Typically, they started studying their subject, and once they had read several books and watched documentaries, I asked them to come up with a topic they would like to study in more detail and give us a presentation. They picked their topics, read more, assembled material, and when they had completed visuals gave us a presentation a few weeks later. If it was late in the semester, I would remind that it needed to be finished before going on a summer trip or Christmas break.

 

Below, let me just give you a few examples from my records.

 

DS, fall of 6th grade :

For Earth science: three power point presentations about   

  • Natural disasters- volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis
  • History of the Earth
  • Layers of the Atmosphere

For English and history: Powerpoint presentations about Norse mythology and Atilla the Hun; report on the Crusades;

shorter writing Assignments on assigned reading. Creative writing

 

DD fall 7th grade:

Power point presentation about the Cell for bio (she also took tests since it was a high school level class);

For history/English: 

Powerpoint presentations about Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci; Poster Renaissance Astronomy+ oral presentation;

Essay Life of Galilei (the Brecht play she read in German) and the Medieval and Renaissance views of Man

Essays on Of Mice and men, Jane Austen

Some essay practice for a (rather useless) 6 hour session coop writing class 

Free writing/poetry

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They had a long term project or paper a few times per semester. 

Typically, they started studying their subject, and once they had read several books and watched documentaries, I asked them to come up with a topic they would like to study in more detail and give us a presentation. They picked their topics, read more, assembled material, and when they had completed visuals gave us a presentation a few weeks later. If it was late in the semester, I would remind that it needed to be finished before going on a summer trip or Christmas break.

 

Below, let me just give you a few examples from my records.

 

DS, fall of 6th grade :

For Earth science: three power point presentations about   

  • Natural disasters- volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis
  • History of the Earth
  • Layers of the Atmosphere

For English and history: Powerpoint presentations about Norse mythology and Atilla the Hun; report on the Crusades;

shorter writing Assignments on assigned reading. Creative writing

 

DD fall 7th grade:

Power point presentation about the Cell for bio (she also took tests since it was a high school level class);

For history/English: 

Powerpoint presentations about Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci; Poster Renaissance Astronomy+ oral presentation;

Essay Life of Galilei (the Brecht play she read in German) and the Medieval and Renaissance views of Man

Essays on Of Mice and men, Jane Austen

Some essay practice for a (rather useless) 6 hour session coop writing class 

Free writing/poetry

Thank you so much for the details, it really helps me to get a picture of your schedule and how it worked. 

 

Judging by the number of followers it seems I'm not the only one whose been more curious of how you schooled, I think you helped so many, thanks for taking the time to answer all our questions.

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