May 21, 2012

Our School Year

Happy Home School Greetings,

As our year is coming to a close, I am wrapping up my planning for next fall.  How about you?  In the back of my mind I am thinking ahead to Brianna's high school graduation next spring.  Which has me reflecting back on eleven years of her schooling in the old Wachter Academy.  I am always evaluating and reflecting and fine tuning our school program.  This year we tried a few new things that we really took to.  I hope to share them in other posts shortly for those who are looking for some new ideas for next year.  This letter from a fellow home school blogger, Lisa, over at Homeschool Days was very timely with all our figuring and thinking and end of the year summing up this week.

I hope you don’t mind me asking you some questions.  I’m not asking to be nosy.  A friend and I were talking about these things and both of us, at times, revert back to the public school way of thinking.  So here goes… What does your homeschool look like?  Do you use a certain curriculum?  How do you feel about teaching former grammar and sentence diagramming, etc.?  And what about math?  How structured are your days?  In what month do you start and finish school, normally? Blessings,Lisa

Dear Lisa,

In no way do I mind your questions.  Asking questions and sharing ideas is one of the ways we make a successful home school.  I have answered many of these questions to some degree before here at Art's Chili Pepper.  If you check the Homeschool Label on the side bar you can check out some previous posts that may be of interest to you.  In the meantime, let me try to summarize some of your questions quickly.

Our School Year

Because we vacation from the middle of September through the first week of October, I typically don't start formal schooling until the second week of October.  We school until the Friday before Thanksgiving and then take off until the first week day after the New Year Holiday.  We then school until the end of March or April, depending a lot on the weather.  

How can we fulfill all our requirements in so little time?

For one thing, as I mentioned before, we don't waste time on busy work.  We do what we need to learn and then move on.  Second, we do what I call double days.  Knowing we want to do our work in the 110-130 days when we are confined to indoor activities we divide 180 days of work (that is roughly the public school schedule, give or take some snow days) and figure how much we need to do in order to finish in 110 days.  Using only 110 days in our calculations leaves us 20 for appointments, sickness or when company comes to visit.  180 days boils down to 36 weeks.  Now take this example.   Each Math-U-See workbook has 30 lessons per grade.  We also use 5 weeks for World Math Days and one for the American Math Challenge.  That means we have 30 weeks remaining or 1 week per lesson.  There are 6 pages and a test per lesson with a four unit tests per grade and a final test.  That is 215 assignments.  That is 1.95 or roughly 2 assignments per day.

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