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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

2nd Grade Schedule Adjustment

After much prayer, talking to other homeschoolers, Camille's dad, my dh and many talks with Camille, Camille and I have decided to make some changes to our workload and it's distribution.

I put our subjects on the dry erase board for Camille today and told her what we have to do: Bible, Reading (read-alouds and independent), Math, Writing, Grammar, Spelling. And a separate column of subjects that are extras, which means they can be downsized dramatically or not done at all: History with art, Science with geography & the daily weather journal, French, Music, U.S. Geography on Fridays.

After 30 minutes of staring at the board, she came to me and said, "Mom, I love it all. Do I have to give something up? I don't want to." We talked about this past week, how the "have to" subjects are to be done before we can do the extras and that it's up to her if we do the extras. She became upset.

We talked about the changes we've made since first grade, in math we are using the supplement worksheets in Horizons and being consistent with what the TM says. This takes more time, right now I feel this time is needed. The supplement worksheets? I promised to use them only if I feel she needs it, problem solved.

We are dropping U.S. Geography. It can wait until 3rd and 4th grade and we want our Fridays to be very light. Bible, Daily Mental Math, and a little reading- that's it unless we want to do something else. Fridays are for field trips, finishing projects and for interruptions. Friday's work will take about 45 minutes, 20 for Bible, 10 for the math, and 15 for reading.

Our schedule is changing a little too. We can't change the 100+ degree weather right now but we can move around our daily attack plan! Lol. (Update: the weather has improved! This makes a HUGE difference!)

Here's our current schedule (with changes marked)

  • 7:20 am Family Prayer Circle
  • 7:30 am Bible
  • 8:00 am Math
  • 8:45 am Independent Reading -Break for 30 minutes and snack.
  • 9:15 am Handwriting - Just waiting to finish Classically Cursive Book I before eliminating.
  • 9:30 am Grammar/Spelling
  • 10:00 am French
  • 10:30-11:30 am History/Science
  • 11:30 Piano work
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 12:30 pm Reading time with mom while Danny naps. (Independent and Mom reads)
Modified schedule for when handwriting is absorbed into copywork. Modified again 8/22/07 to reflect more prayerful desires to have a healthy balance between instilling self-discipline in Camille and maintaining our attempts to be done by lunch to enjoy the rest of the day.
  • 6:30 Wake-up, chores
  • 7:00 Breakfast & Weather Journal
  • 7:30 am Family Prayer Circle & Bible - 30 minutes
  • 8:00 am Math - 45 minutes (15 minutes of teaching, 30 minutes for independent work)
  • 8:45 am Recess & Snack - 30 minutes, needed regardless of work ethic
  • 9:15 am Grammar/Spelling - 10 minutes to go through Spelling flashcards, 20 minutes for Grammar
  • 9:45 am French - 30 minutes of conversation, reading, DVD, games, etc
  • 10:15 am History/Science - 1 hour of reading, activities, experiments
  • 11:15 am Piano work - 15-20 minutes of practice and book work
  • 11:30 am Clean up Time - 10 to 30 minutes, also includes chores
  • 12:00 Lunch - however long it takes
  • 12:30 pm Reading time with mom. - Golden time, can take as long or short as needed or desired.
Updated Thoughts on the newly (8/22/07) revised routine
Do we want to continue to aim towards being done by lunch? You betcha! I also want to keep challenging Camille to have better work habits so that as I fold in Danny into our day, I can trust that she will do her work on her own as I know she can. Instead of trying to stick to the clock, we'll try to make each subject only last so long and if the work constantly gets moved into "homework" status, I'll look to see how we can streamline it. In theory this accomplishes a healthy balance between working towards a strong work ethic and not being so arbitrary with our time. There is really no reason there needs to be stress added to the day because we didn't start Grammar on time! Lol.

About what else we do
Memory work is in each subject, copywork is in Grammar, History and Science, narrations are within History, Science, Grammar and Reading. I may need to carve out some time just for memory work, still thinking about this. I'm content with this although I worry about the reading time, I hope it will cement and become a treasured time like bedtime read alouds are.

Bedtime Read Alouds are now to be shared with Danny and Camille.
I was reading to Danny separately and then to Camille. Since Camille and I will have our own time, I'm going to try reading to both of them together, our first book will be Beatrix Potter Treasury. We'll see how this goes. I read Moonlight Kite to them both and they loved it.

Family Life Changes
Camille and I also decided that there needed to be one special outing a week- whether it's to go swimming, to the State Park near us, the movies, a friend's house, etc. We all need something to look forward to. Field trips will begin soon, once a month on Fridays. We also need to do family game night (which has fallen to the wayside), possibly on Thursday night since we don't really have school the next day. I think Danny will be left out of this since he's only good at destroying games. : )

After we live with this awhile, we'll look and see again if there needs readjustment. That's the beauty of homeschooling, you can change it whenever you need to. Now I've got to get to work putting next week's schedule together with the changes and preparing myself for our lessons.

A sigh of relief, I feel so much better! Thank you Lord.



Susu said...

That sounds lovely, Jessica.

I am glad you were able to work it out and everyone is happy.

Your daughter sounds so sweet!


Anonymous said...

I think you are misunderstanding GA's state laws. It is not 4.5 hours of Reading, language arts, math, social studies, and science. It is intended to be 4.5 hours of instruction to include those subjects but not excluding all the others. I helped with the writing and wording of that law when I worked for the Department of Education.

My dh is a 4th grade teacher in a GA school and his class would never get 4.5 hours a day of instruction in those subjects alone. They spend only an hour a week on History and Science, the bulk of the time is spend on Reading and Math of course.

That being said if it works for you r family then carry on. For me and my family it would be difficult to continue that way with multiple children and I fear you are setting yourself up for frustration as you add Danny's academics into the fold.


Melora said...

Your new schedule looks great, and I think it is wonderful that Camille enjoys what you do so much that she can't bear to drop anything! You obviously do a good job of making learning fun.
We had our first week of school with all our subjects this past week, and I am also going to be rearranging the schedule to make things work better. I find it hard to know how much time to allocate to each subject, and what order/days things should be done in without actually using the materials. As you say, that is one of the great things about homeschooling -- we can easily change what needs to be changed!

Angela said...

You are doing a wonderful job and I so appreciate you sharing what you go through. The beauty of homeschooling is that it is so fluid and changeable according to the needs of the family and the child. Thanks for "thinking out loud" on the WTM boards and on your blog!


LisaWA said...


What a great encouragement you are to others.... sharing your home school journey like an open book like you do helps people to see that we all need to readjust and its not a bad thing!

Learning to be flexible is part of what we as parents need to learn.... especially when it comes to home schooling our children..... No one home school looks or functions the same…. No one home school family will use curriculum and or books the same…. Or at the same level…. Its what makes us all “different”

Your plan looks very reasonable and manageable…. And I want to commend you for digging to the root of the situation with your family as a family… you did it right away… and this will help bring you all closer as a family…. You are working together….. Awesome!

Its like any training, if its not productive and not producing fruit... then it needs tending are tending....and trying to be flexible in the process. That is the way God needs us to be to work and move....pliable, flexible.... You are trying your best and doing fine…. You are making your way…. Your way..



Jenni said...

I'll admit that I'm one who has looked at your list of subjects and occasionally thought, "For a 7-year-old?" I think some of us may misinterpret some of your posts. Or maybe we feel defensive because, by golly, *we* weren't able to get around to doing French and piano. The way you have it laid out in your schedule looks very reasonable. It does not look like you're working the poor child to death;o) The schedule is broken into manageable chunks of time.

The only caution I would give you is to remember that the schedule is a tool and you should not be a slave to it. You will probably find that one or more subjects do not always fit perfectly into their given time slot. You may have to rearrange the order of subjects on some days. Other days you may have to call it good after your 4.5 hours (or sooner) and not worry that you haven't finished everything you had intended.

I just don't understand why some folks are so adamant that *their* educational philosophy or style is *the* *right* way. We should all do what works for our own situations and not be so critical of how others do things. If your daughter is not breaking down in tears of frustration and weariness each day (and sometimes even if she is) and if she is learning and enjoying it, don't worry about what others think. I also don't see asking questions about how you could do better invites criticism. It is a request for *suggestions*. Anyone who is honest will admit that they've had their own less than stellar moments in homeschooling their child(ren) and that they too have wondered how they could do it better. I would worry about anyone who doesn't occasionally wonder how they could improve things.

Relax. Enjoy the process of teaching your children and learning with them. Look forward to each new day with excitement for the adventure which lies ahead.

Kerri said...

Your schedule looks good. We are also in the midst of changing some things in our school day.

We don't know if its going to work until we try and when it doesn't we change it...the beauty of homeschooling :)


my5wolfcubs said...

I commend you for thinking, looking, sharing, talking, listening and *moving forward* with a hopeful heart! I know you know each day will not be "perfect" but I think the days will be better! :)

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. --Num 6:24-26


Anonymous said...

Jessica - I think your schedule looks great! It seems to be just about the same as my 7yo ds (and his younger siblings).

And we don't live in a state that requires a min. number of hours per day.

He schools that long each day, because I choose for him to do so.

You are doing a great job - the changes look like they will work well.

But don't go changing things all the time because of other hs'ers - only change things when prompted by the Lord to do so!

Lady Jenn

Riverfront Headmistress said...

It all looks great. Keep your chin up!

5atkins said...

I also agree that this is one of my favorite reasons for homeschooling. I can adjust much more easily for my own girls than a good intending public school or private school teacher! I am so thankful for that! Glad to hear that Camille is loving her subjects!

You mentioned, "but I also knows her thought processes are muddled because she wants the problem to be harder than what it is."

My Hannah does the same thing when I try to teach a new math idea. She becomes overly focused on the fact that she doesn't already know it. I say, "I know you don't know how, that is why I am showing you, but I wouldn't teach it if you weren't ready. So listen and tell me what you do understand! I don't know why she is like that. Sarah doesn't have the same issues. She just listens and tries to do it!

Anyway, so thankful that God has blessed you both with a desire to learn and grow! It really shows! :)
In Him, Eva

Anonymous said...


Great job working out the "kinks"! I seem to have to do that regularly depending on what God is doing in our lives at the time. It's good to start the flexibility now!!!

God bless. Keep discipling your children the way you always have. You are a blessing!

Dayle (in Guatemala)

Quiver0f10 said...


I think the new schedule looks wonderful! It looks like you are going to have a great year! :-)


MamaArcher said...

Sounds like you are ready for school!
I too am a classical Christian homeschooler. We use primarily Veritas Press. I wanted to suggest something if you are interested. What we have used for geography and really liked is Geography Matter's Trail guides. They are designed to use every day but only for like 5 minutes a day and then we did mapping or other projects on Friday. If you are really wanting to incorporate geography into your schedule you could do it easily with only about 5-10 minutes a day.

southerngirlmusings said...

I am glad that things are turning around and how sweet that Camille likes all of her subjects. At the end of the day, you have to do what works best for you and your family and a schedule is just that a schedule, it isn't carved in stone. :)

Barbara said...

Jessica, I've spent some serious time in the last month preparing for this year in a much more organized way, and now I think I see why you and others like it! Our daily routine, tweaked according to last year's experience and this year's plans, is now combined with a schedule for the term that helps us see ahead in history and literature/reading. I even have a checklist of readings for each week, believe it or not -- and since the "bites" are small, it doesn't feel like a burden to me (my concern).

I posted my autumn reading overviews for my boys, and their weekly routines, on my blog. In case you're curious :)


Barbara said...

Oops, our reading overviews etc. are on my *other* blog! So I need to provide the link, LOL.

A Bit of Bubbly

Cathy said...

Hey - I haven't read the comments in detail, but I do know it's 4.5 hours of instruction time - I do know that what is required - 4.5 hours of instruction I believe for academics - with one child it's more intense. (I hope that makes sense)

How far do you travel for field trips?

Anonymous said...


Glad to hear things are working out! Our early morning schedule is very similar...Bible, math, then the language arts stuff: spelling/vocabulary, grammar, handwriting. It's been this way for several years. Once we get the harder stuff out of the way, we just have all the fun stuff left.

One thing different I'm going to try this year: Set a time limit for math, where dawdling happens more than in other subjects. Whatever doesn't get finished during "class time" in the morning (a 30- to 40-min. time slot that includes a 1-on-1 lesson) will be "homework" for the afternoon. This won't be difficult for ds10. I figure if dd7 (soon to be 8) has 15-20 min. of homework a day for 3rd grade, that's not bad at all, esp. compared to fellow 3rd graders in public/private school who have 45-60 min. of daily homework. Well, we'll see how it goes, anyway!

Have a blessed year!