When my husband and I made the decision to home school our first child, Tractor Man, it was an easy choice for us. What I did not plan for was the schedule chaos that would ensue. Perhaps this post can help you with yours.
My husband was homeschooled his entire life until college. Many people think that homeschooled kids can be awkward. Well, let me tell you all kids in general have awkward moments. I know I had many weird moments. How about you?
With my husbands background being homeschooled and my degree in k-12 education homeschooling our boys became our logical choice. It provided us with extra time to nurture our children, give them quality one-on-one education and to push them when needed not just go with the typical classroom flow. It was going to be perfect, or so I thought.
Flash forward three years to the present day and that once easy choice is now a sometimes difficult daily task.
I’m certified k-12 but my primary teaching time was for grades 7-12, and I was known as one of those demanding teachers. Being demanding with a three year old des NOT work. Especially one with such a strong personality like our Tractor Man.
After many attempts and many failures I decided going back to the basics was best. I also did a bit of homework myself. Homework?!?! Yes indeed. I looked into the amount of time pre-schoolers spend actually learning. Here is what I found.
Our most expensive option was $3,000 a year at the private school for mornings only three days a week. Child to teacher ratio was about 12:1 which really is not to bad but still something to think about.
Our most inexpensive option was $170 a month for three mornings a week from 8-12. Figure your school is nine months long which means for the year it would still cost us $1530. Students ratio to teacher here was a bit higher being 19:1 but there was a teachers assistant that floated from room to room. Numbers may not matter to some but for me they help me to justify school supply purchases.
AFter looking at these two choices we decided that the private school simply was not an option for our situation.
So now the time spent learning needed to be looked at as well. After talking to the administrator I found that the school for the kids was divided into 15-30 minute intervals. After all little ones do not have long attention spans. But after a bit more questioning and prodding I found that of the four hours students were there only about one and half hours were spent actually having teaching time. The rest was creative play, gym time, story time, and child collaboration (I would call this learning to share and play with others). So in one week the kids got about four and a half hours of education time.
Taking my new found information I decided to make a schedule that matched if not exceeded that of the public school pre-school. I also took into account things that we wanted to accomplish such as field trips, my son’s interests, money and of course TIME!
Here is what I have created. Please feel free to take from mine and see what works best for your family. Working around our regular schedule and also having a trip day option our schedule was born.
Our basic schedule looks like this:
Monday: School 9am-12 noon (regular schedule)
Tuesday: Trip Day (zoo, library, amphibian zoo, grocery store, gym, etc.)
Wednesday: School 9am-12 noon, religion 2pm-3pm
Thursday: School 9am-12 noon (regular schedule)
Friday: catch up day, basic fun school with lots of activities (outdoor play whenever possible)
This may not seem like much but we get in three and a half hours a week this way. Less than what they have at the public school? Well no, actually since my three and a half hours excludes review everyday, field trips (which are always educational) and also all of our Friday’s as they are a float day.
I also did not include story time into my teaching hours since we always are reading to the kids anyway and want that to stay fun. Our story time also includes an activity that is hands on that correlates with the book we just read. We read the book and follow-up by making a craft that was based on the story.
I also determined that breaking down the schedule and having a regular daily routine helped Tractor Man and myself to accomplish everything we wanted to in a day. I have attached a photo of our regular daily schedule.
For us deciding to home school was indeed an easy choice. And while it can be challenging at times providing our son with one-on-one education is a wonderful gift that we can give to him. We are able to set up his learning to what fits him best, his interests and his speed of learning.
While starting your adventure in creating your pre-schoolers schedule remember that there will be good days and there will be bad ones as well. This is part of the reason I strongly encourage you to have a float day for those times when it simply is not going to happen as previously scheduled.
Take things in stride one day at a time and let your child help you to learn through this process as well. It will be challenging but ultimately extremely rewarding in the end.