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Friday, August 15, 2008

Year round school - How I plan it

In our house we school year-round. We do this for several reasons. One is because of our ministry as missionaries, we can't really plan for the long-term. People in this country don't plan very far ahead and naturally as our ministry is with/to them, we can't either.

We usually have a rough sketch of what we'll be doing for a 3 month period at a time, occasionally we have things on the calendar as much as 6 months or so in advance... but always tentatively :) As we go along we usually have a pretty good idea of what the coming month will hold.

We travel within Peru relatively often with ministry related trips, or have people staying with us, or are hosting short-term mission teams or whatever else. These things all would be quite difficult to school through without missing a beat. So, we school year round and take breaks when we need to.

How I set up my year:

Each year, several times a year, I have a homeschool planning day. This means that we figure out someone (or several people in shifts) to stay with the kids, and I go away to the library, Starbucks, Panera, or somewhere that has wireless internet. During this day, I do what I need to do for our homeschool. (yes, I found a place here in Trujillo, Peru with wireless... woohoo! no library though, and no Panera...)

Sometimes it is actually breaking down the books into what we will read each week. Other times it includes researching library resources or curriculum on the internet. I always work out what we will cover for each term (see below) and what we need to do each week to accomplish that. Some planning days have been more intense than others.

We use AmblesideOnline as a guide to our reading and curriculum choices. One of the most awesome things about AO is that some wonderful ladies have posted many things including beautifully formatted schedules on the yahoo groups for FREE. I have used these from the beginning and they are of immeasurable worth to me in my planning.

The year is separated into 3 terms, each 12 weeks long. From there the reading selections (living books) are divided up over the weeks so that I know what I need to read each week. Booklists and schedules for each year are also found on the AmblesideOnline website. On my homeschool planning day, I look this over and gather all the materials that I will need for the term (composer music, art selections, hymns printed off from online, etc.) If we do have guests or have to travel then I just leave off and take up the next weeks' plan where I left off.

I generally buy all the books I need during the year ahead, and take the year one term at a time. Because we school year round and so we don't stress out when we have to take a week off here and there because of ministry, travel or visitors.


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