I know many homeschoolers are currently finishing their school year and looking towards planning next year. Therefore, I thought now might be a good time to explain how we homeschool.
First, I choose our course of study and books. I use Charlotte Mason and AmblesideOnline (AO) as a guide. Though we are eclectic homeschoolers, I would say we are Charlotte Mason followers at our core. If you have not heard of Charlotte Mason or her educational ideas, please read AmblesideOnline's Introduction page. In a nutshell, I would say a Charlotte Mason education is filled with good books and beautiful things.
Second, I don't follow AmblesideOnline's booklists explicitly. You'll notice that their Year 8 is not exactly like my Year 8. One reason for that is that I make substitutions according to what is available to me. Another reason is that AO travels through World History in only two rotations. I chose four rotations - each lasting three years. Potatoes, Potahtoes. Both choices are valid.
Third, I make checklists for each term. These checklists itemize every chapter to be read and lesson to be completed. In a few cases, as in the Free Reading section, the checklist merely lists a book title. The date when the assignment is finished is to be written in the blank next to the assignment.
Here are our current checklists:
And here is a snippet for Year 8:
Utopia by Sir Thomas More.
_____ Of the Cities
_____ Of the Magistrates
_____ Of the Sciences, Crafts, Occupations
_____ Of their living
_____ Of their journeying
_____ Of Bondmen, Sick Persons, Wedlock
_____ Of Warfare
_____ Of the Religions
I let the children complete assignments at times of their own choosing. The Montessori part of me believes that it stifles a child to always demand that Geography lessons take place every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:00. However, we are currently working on "Together" subjects (such as Plutarch and Shakespeare) at 2:00 each day, but we chose this time as opitmum for all, much as a college student would sign up for Intro to Criminal Justice - choosing the best fit for her schedule from the days and times offered.
A new addition to our school this term is a wooden recipe box filled with index cards. This idea was born out of my need to give my children a visual reference as to how much work should be completed each week. We all have ADD or ADHD here and it is very easy to become distracted. It would be very unpleasant to arrive at the last week of school and still have most of a seven-page checklist of assignments to complete. Not that I'm saying this has happened. Oh, no, we have never hopped down all the delightful bunny trails of knowledge to suddenly find responsibility staring us solemnly in the face. Ahem.
Anyway, I divided each book or subject's assignments among 12 weeks and wrote one index card for each time an assignment should be completed during a week of school. For instance, Plutarch's Solon has twelve sections and one should be completed each week. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has 24 sections and two should be completed each week.
When a child completes a lesson of Solon and writes the date on his checklist, he should also move a Solon index card to the Done area of the recipe box. At the end of the week, all of a child's cards should be in the Done area. On Monday, all of the child's cards are moved back into his or her own section of the recipe box and the process begins again.
We have found the card box to be a very helpful in keeping us on track with our educational goals and it looks like we will continue using it.
I hope this post has helped explain how we homeschool and helps others on their own homeschooling adventure. Please let me know if you have any questions. You can comment here or, if unable, send a missive via email: mrshappyhousewife at yahoo dot com.