As Charlotte Mason inspired homeschoolers, I follow a way of teaching that involves shorter lessons with narration and a daily schedule of coursework. We have readings on history, literature, geography and science, though not necessarily every day. We also have daily course work which includes language arts/copy work, reading, math, second language, typing and poetry. Within our weekly schedule we also study a composer, artist, folksong and ethic.
Overall, our 9 year old does approximately 2 hours of lessons per day and our 5 year old might do 20 minutes, if she chooses (she will start more formal lessons at 6 years old). This leaves plenty of time for them to pursue their own interests or projects.
If you are new to homeschooling – please check out the first two posts on my Homeschool page – Homeschool Resources Part 1 and Part 2. I will be using these resources extensively in the following steps as I build my yearly schedule.
Step 1. My first step is to head over to AmblesideOnline and download their yearly schedule for the year/grade for my child. I always download their ODT file, but they also have it in PDF and DOC formats. For these examples I will be using the AmblesideOnline Year 2 Schedule as my starting format – (Click here). I keep an original copy at hand to refer to while I make changes to my working copy.
Step 2. In my working copy I start by deleting the sections I will not be using. Make sure to keep the row intact, simply delete the words in the section. When I have completed this step, my lesson plan for Year 2, Term 1 looks like this:
Step 3. Then I move a few things around so my subject sections are where I want them to be. I change Natural History for Science. (I have also deleted one of the readings from the Natural History/Science section) After I have changed the headings, subjects and readings around to my liking, my schedule looks like this:
Step 4. This step is where I really start to change things around. I start with the History section. AmblesideOnline offers alternative history selections if a book is unavailable or if you need to use an online option. It can be a bit confusing to figure out, but the information can be found here. I chose to use The Discovery of New Worlds (New Worlds on the schedule) instead of CHOW – Childs History of the World. I have also used two chapters from a book called The Pageant of British History (Pageant on the schedule). I also incorporate two books from my Childcraft series (Indian Book and Bug Book) as mentioned in my post, Homeschool Resources Part 2. My Schedule now looks like this:
Step 5. I continue to change the subjects and add in the reading materials I am using for this term. I also add in a Geography section with a Childcraft book – Places to Know. When I have finished, my schedule for our Year 2, Term 1 looks like this:
Remember, this schedule only includes the readings for the term, broken down into weeks. This it does not include the daily work – such as Math, Language Arts/Copy Work, Reading, Second Language, Poetry or any other daily lessons. It also does not include the riches associated with a Charlotte Mason education. These will be included within my next post, when I delve into how I create our daily schedules.
*PLEASE NOTE MY FINAL YEAR 2 SCHEDULE IS MORE ADVANCED THAN INTENDED FOR THE TYPICAL AGE USING IT! I HAVE ADAPTED IT FOR BOTH THE AGE OF MY CHILD AND BASED ON WHAT HE WAS LEARNING PREVIOUSLY! IN FUTURE POSTS, I WILL SHOW WHAT WE WILL BE USING WITH OUR YOUNGEST AS SHE PROGRESSES STARTING AT AGE 6*
I have a confession to make when it comes to homeschooling… I LOVE PLANNING OUT OUR YEAR! Yes, that is correct, I really do love figuring out our lesson plans and schedules. I know it can seem daunting and believe me, when I first started out I would spend far too much time questioning everything. After hours of research online and days spent pouring over various books, I would schedule out our year ONLY to spend yet more hours constantly revising everything. It was such a huge headache and a constant stress.
Then I decided to give myself a break! Seriously, homeschoolers, if there is one thing I can tell you that might help ease some of the stress.. YOU CANNOT DO IT ALL.. and even better, YOU ARE NOT EXPECTED TO DO IT ALL! That’s right! Stop trying to be everything, to provide everything. Schools are not expected to cater to every individual desire, every interest, every whim and neither should we be expected to as homeschoolers.
There is a lot of pressure to constantly provide an exciting lesson plan, but in all honesty some subjects may not appeal to every child. I don’t think it is our responsibility to make every lesson ‘fun’ or ‘exciting’. I do believe our children should be engaged and obviously we need to find ways to help them understand the concepts within the lesson, but it doesn’t need to be entertaining. It does not need to be a game. In life, especially if they go on to university or college, they will have to take courses that may not necessarily interest them in pursuit of a greater passion or learning outcome. So, take a deep breath and spend some time thinking about what you want to teach just as much as how you want to teach it.
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