Austin had his wisdom teeth out on Monday (he's doing really great - the sensory part has been worse than the actual physical recovery) so we've been staying close to home this week. Also, the weather has been horrible with heavy, heavy rain and some thunderstorms. So I've been making good use of this time at home to get lots of our scheduling done.
What I mean by scheduling is dividing the books and curriculum that we are using into weekly chunks. It can be as simple as taking the number of chapters or pages and dividing by 36, if it's a resource we're using for the entire year, or dividing by 12 if it's a resource we're using for a single term.
But this year, I'm finally doing some smarter scheduling.
First off, I am going to implement end-of-term exams for all of the kids this year. We did it once or twice in the last couple of years, but this year I have scheduled exam weeks into our school year. So this means it will be more critical to finish each term at a natural ending point - the end of a book or the end of a chapter or a unit in curricula that is divided that way.
Also, since I have broken our school year into weeks on, exam weeks, break weeks, etc. and I don't know which days exactly we may take off for an event with our new homeschool group, I need to build in some "catch-up" time this school year. I too often find that we're at the end of the school year and we've gotten behind, but the end of the year is the craziest time with standardized testing (which I built into our schedule as well) and recital (built in time off for that as well!). So instead of building a schedule that's full and crazy, I've built a schedule that allows for some catch-up time if we need it. And if we don't, then we'll end up with a lighter schedule come the end of each term.
Knowing that we have this catch-up time scheduled helps me to feel a little easier about all we have to accomplish this coming year. Granted, we will be doing school from early August until June, but we'll have nice, week-long breaks every 6 weeks or so, and I think that's going to be much nicer in the long run. And the exam weeks will be busy mornings, but not all day long events each day. And having a full 36 weeks of lessons, plus the 3 exam weeks, allows us to have slightly less busy days because we have MORE days. Normally we would have "Sun and Fun", but I think with the kids' ages and the more intense nature of their work, I think this is going to be a better way to approach our year now. But if it doesn't live up to my expectations, I'll change it around next year! (And I'll have to change it up a little bit next year for Austin anyway so he's done by graduation - ACK! Graduation??? Next school year?? NOOOOOOO!!! LOL).
I am finding myself really looking forward to this school year for the first time in several years! We got our first book order yesterday, and tomorrow I'm going to place a few more orders! If I keep working this way, I'll definitely be done planning in time to take a nice break for myself before the first day of school! :)