Technically, we have been homeschooling throughout the summer, and subjects have been worked in throughout the month of August, but this is our first week of full-on homeschool with all subjects.

We tried embracing the full-on unschool philosophy: just follow your bliss and school will happen, but that was an abject failure. Weekly goals also didn’t work–everything was left until the end, and then there was a mad panic. So, we had a talk and agreed that an actual school schedule would be best. She needed class periods and daily assignments. So I went to work to figure that out.

Since I am a college professor, I think in terms of how college classes are laid out, so we have a MWF set of classes (US History, Algebra, and Literature) and a TR set of classes (World Religions, French, and Physical Science). On Tuesdays, there are music lessons, and on Thursdays, we are going to try to learn some Chinese. This way, there is some balance between types of classes.

In addition to planning the classes, I also created an actual schedule with daily goals or assignments, so, for example, US History is 7:30-8:30, then a 15 minute break before the start of Algebra, and so on. When 8:30 hits, that class is done, so any work that is not completed goes into the Overflow times right before lunch and in the afternoon.

For today, at least, it worked splendidly. She finished all her work on time, then we had lunch and took a 15 minute walk before instrument practice. After practice, we went over some past assignments and talked about the first 150 lines of Beowulf, which was her literature reading today. I read some of it in Old English; we looked at some pictures of the Sutton Hoo ship burial; we talked about how Tolkien’s scholarship on Anglo-Saxon literature found its way into his fiction–all the things one thinks off when they think “homeschool.” We even got in an episode of TV while we were eating our lunch.

Right now, I think she is watching cat videos. Considering how well today seemed to go, I think that is OK.

Kim Harrison

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