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How often to do what?


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I'm set with the basics, i.e. I know I need to do Math, Language Arts, Bible and handwriting on a daily basis, but what about the other subjects? The hard-to-get-to subjects I want to do more of are:





Nature studies

Art/artist studies

Music/composer studies

Home Ec./Life skills, including gardening



But where's the time?


And if you're like me, and don't feel the need to necessarily follow a precise format for these subjects and are honoring rabbit trails, then how do you know if you are doing enough of these things?


I love it all, but it is obvious that ALL of those can't be done every day and that I must decide which to do when, and how much of what, so how do I go about deciding such things? :confused:


I should say, I'm interested to know how you go about making these decisions for your homeschool.





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I don't know your ages, but, starting out a newbie, I took the times SWB noted in WTM, figured out how many hours per subject per grade, turned that into a year round hours/month (i.e. took the weekly rate, multiplied by 36, then divided by 12).


I have a record sheet with squares for entering the 3 R's, science and history for daily time, and for things like music and art and handwriting, I make a small quartered circle for each hour I need to do per month. I color in these circles as I go, and every few days, tally the time I have towards my other subjects. Except for sickness, this is easy to keep up with.


Do we listen to a Vox Music Master CD while we color his animals of the world coloring book and I mention a few things about the music. That gets 30 minutes towards music. Do I take down the art in my house peice by peice and discuss: how was this made, what tools were needed, why did the artist make this, is the man talking or singing or whistling? Do I do this for 30 minutes....I color in half of one of my circles.


The third week of the month I look over my weaknesses. We are usually ahead in math, so I just do a few facts or simple things the last week and try to make up some other things.



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I look at your list and I think some could be intergrated in with other such as composers and artists could be worked in as part of your history along with the handi crafts.

I don't do both history and science at the same time. We do one or the other. We are doing a lapbook on Dinos right now and when we start school up in Aug. we will start our Truth Quest history.

I guess I think that the life skills just happens. That is where you have your kids help fix meals, do dishes, clean, etc. My two are learning to do their own laundry along with what happens if you don't do your laundry. LOL

I fully believe that children need time to 'just do their thing' too. I don't try to fill up their day. They have their chores, we do school 4 days a week with the basic getting done in the morning. We do the 'life skill' part more on Friday as far as cleaning and such. In the afternoon we do our history or science. They have time in the afternoon to be that free spirit that children in mho need to be.

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I take things that I would want to teach/do with my kids out of the "school" equation. So for me, handicrafts and life skills would be something I strove to do as part of family life, and I'd keep that separate from official schoolwork.


I farm out music appreciation & skills and art appreciation & skills, so that is just one day a week. If I did it at home, I would do it the same way.


We currently do history twice a week and science twice a week, though we may have reading that spills over onto other days. We do not do extra history projects, however, except very very rarely. Some weeks history is actually just one day, in practicality.


If you are serious about a foreign language and your goal is mastery rather than exposure, I think it has to become a daily thing. On the other hand, if your goal is exposure at the present time, you could easily do it just one to three days a week.

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Kalanamak-thanks! That's an approach I hadn't thought of. I like the circle idea, filling it in, etc. I'll have to think about that to see if I think that would work.

Mom4him--I so agree with the free time. We are all ready to be done by 3. I'm ready to go write and they are ready to play. Life skills--I'm thinking of things like teaching my 11 year old to sew. It seems these things always get pushed back for "another day".


I can see how I could use both of your ideas both in planning and seeing how we are actually spending our time. There are just so many great things out there that it's hard to narrow them down and choose.


I probably should also choose a "spine" for these things. I'm liking that concept more lately.

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Well, first of all my decision are based on the requirements of my state. Each level, elementary, junior high and high school, have certain required courses in my state.


In elementary school, we are required to do history and science. I do history three days per week (Monday through Wednesday) and science two days per week (Thursday and Friday). I like to do these subjects on consecutive days for continuity sake. When the children reach 5th or 6th grade then we go to 4-5 days per week in these subjects, but they are also doing more of the work independently.


Art and music I used to do once a week in a co-op. Now they get hit the last week of each quarter. I really wish they were once a week. I am just not good at fitting them in. If I leave them for Friday, we are all tired, and no one especially me wants to do them. It is a little sad. I wish we did more.


I haven't done foreign language too much with my elementary kids, and home ec. is every day but informally. They all cook and bake with me. They make their own breakfasts and lunches now. Some of it is interest driven. One of my twins is in 4-H and she gets a lot of home skills there.



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In our home with our morning studies we include...

M-Geography, T/TH History, F- Science. During the time after schoolwork and before lunch the kids listen to the composer of the quarter while playing indoors.


In the afternoons we have an extended read aloud time during which I read all the books that I can't get to during the morning sessions +

M-Art, T-Nature Study, Th-Handicrafts, F- Science experiments


Home ec/life skills/gardening happen spontaniously and we haven't added in Spanish but when we do it will be a short lesson daily with our morning studies.


I work Wed. so no schoolwork.



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If I wanted to be sure I got around to that many subjects but keep some of the spontaneity, I would make myself a rotating schedule of open blocks and keep a journal of project ideas.


A simple mini notebook I can keep in my handbag will probably work best. I'd jot down the potential rabbit trail when it occurs to the kids or myself. When my time block for that subject arrived, I'd turn to the notebook to see what we might do. I'd also look at it before planning the week's shopping to be sure we had supplies on hand.


My schedule would include, say...


Spanish - Monday, 60 minutes

History - Tuesday, 60 minutes

Science - Weds., 60 minutes

Nature studies - Alternate Weds., 60 minutes

Art/artist studies - Thursdays, 60 min.

Music/composer studies - Alternative Thursdays, 60 min.

Home Ec./Life skills, including gardening - Fridays, 60 minutes

Handicrafts - Alternate Fridays, 60 minutes


Note that I have set to alternate those subjects I am comfortable doing less in. If I felt comfortable doing history every other week, I'd set that to alternate with music and do something else more frequently.


Looking at this specific list, though, I'd definitely do Spanish, handicrafts and music practice daily. Spanish would not be formally daily; I'd be trying to speak as much as possible in the home. Music simply requires daily practice, if you're learning to read it or play it. Handicrafts is an entertainment, at least, for us, a pastime, so I'd probably do it during storytime at night.


You'd want to adapt this, naturally, to when you have time and how much of it you have. I've been amazed, though, at what can get done when you clear an hour, and only an hour, to explore a single subject.

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That looks very much like our schedule when we were following TWTM more closely. This is what we did in a perfect week:



Spanish (daily)

History (Mondays and Wednesdays)

Science (Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Nature studies (Saturdays - it's as simple as taking a family hike with a journal)

Art/artist studies (Fridays)

Music/composer studies (Music practice - daily; Composer studies - monthly)

Home Ec./Life skills, including gardening (as it happens - we have to eat and clean every day anyway)

Handicrafts (whenever the kids feel like doing it)


Art and science were the things I dropped first if things got tight, but that is because my children were interested enough in art to pursue it on their own time, and I've always questioned the wisdom of doing formal science with elementary aged children in the first place. They weren't my priorities; you will of course set your own.


The actual hours spent varied depending on what we were doing, and most of our history and science studies were composed of rabbit trails. I used the spines listed in TWTM as a kind of a starting point. In my case, I knew that we were doing "enough" because my kids started pretending to be historical figures instead of the Pokemon of the week, and they wanted to read ahead in their books - always leave them wanting more! Also, if one of our rabbit trails happened to lead us to a history session on a Sunday, I would not be very concerned with doing history again on Monday.


For handicrafts I tried to teach them things that they could continue on their own time if they were interested enough, like knitting, crochet, calligraphy, etc. because I can't think of a more tortuous way to spend an afternoon than doing children's crafts. Again, that's just me.

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Well, I do schedule in order to try to get as much in as possible. If I didn't, I'd never get anything at all done. For elementary years, I try to keep most lessons short: 20 minutes or less. Even for middle school, I tend to keep them to about 30 minutes or less. I do that by breaking up assignments into what I think can get accomplished in that period of time. I decide that by watching how things typically run from day to day and year to year. If I see that something takes too little time on a regular basis, I'll increase it - or vice versa.


Now, we tend to read for much longer periods of time, because we just like to do that. But you could certainly keep reading intervals shorter, too. You can also break up longer subjects into multiple intervals at different times during the day, to help prevent bogging down and stalling on one particular subject that might not be liked as well....


You don't say what age your child is, so I'm not certain what depth of work you're doing or how long should typically be spent on a subject. If I presume middle school, I'd say something like this:


Bible 8-8:30 (or, you might not need this long, depending upon what you're doing)

Math 8:30-9

LA (is this grammar or does it also include reading? If both, then....) 9-10

Handwriting 10-10:15

Break 10:15 - 10:30

Spanish 10:30 - 11

History 11-12

Lunch 12-1

Science M,W,F and Nature Studies T,R (or vice versa) 1-2

Art M,W,F and Music T,R (or vice versa) 2 - 2:30

Home Ec. M,W, F and Handicrafts T, R (or vice versa) 2:30 to 3 or whenever, segging into free time for the afternoon.....


If you want a shorter day, you could combine history and science, doing perhaps 3 days of history, one day of science and one day of nature study per week. This would make your afternoon an hour shorter.


You could also do just one day per week of art, music, home ec, and handicrafts, but make them for an hour each day. That would move these things into the 1-2 time slot, instead of science, and make for a shorter day on Fridays (or whatever the fifth day was). Or, the unassigned day could be used to follow rabbit trails.....

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I lump Science and Nature Studies together - we try to do 1 nature walk and 1 science lesson a week, but we also read books on different science subjects as they catch Ariel's interest.


We do Spanish 4-5 times a week, but that's only because DD absolutely insists on it. I would recommend twice a week for retention, if your kids aren't super thrilled with it.


Music is 4 times a week, because Ariel insists, otherwise we would do it twice a week, since that's what the curriculum recommends, although if you aren't learning to play an instrument, I'd do it once a week.


Art is once a week, and home ec, life skills, and handicrafts are just as they come up, we don't really schedule those.

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Thanks everyone. I'll chew on this for a while and re-vamp my schedule. You know, I think it also helps to realize that *just because* I'm not teaching it, doesn't mean that learning isn't happening. I tend to forget that... until I see my daughter carefully perfecting an amazing portrait of her younger brother dressed as a pirate, for example.

Uh, art? CHECK!


Or piling up her history readers in bed with her for a little "light reading" before sleep.

History? CHECK!


I guess I worry too much or I have control issues or something. LOL

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Spanish--if they are young, let them pick it up from bedtimes stories in spanish or videos (Disney and others usually have a spanish track).


History--do 1-3 times a week


Science--fill in the rest of the week where history leaves off


Nature studies--playtime outdoors (have butterfly nets, magnifying glasses, bug boxes, and field guides on hand). Plant a garden, go the park, etc. Make it informal.


Art/artist studies--let them do art and as artist come up get a video or a book on that artist and look at it together. Once they are old enough go to the art museum.


Music/composer studies--same with art only you may want your child to take instrument lessons.


Home Ec./Life skills, including gardening--this just happens with life and living, invite them to help out.


Handicrafts--make this a family night thing. Get a movie, pop popcorn, talk and tackle a fun craft.




Honestly we focus on skill subjects and explore the rest through either independent studies (lapbooks) or thorugh experiencing life. It is too stressful to try to plan out all these things when they are just best absorbed through experience and experiences.


Good luck in your journey.:001_smile:

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