Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Schedule and How Our Day is Organized

On a typical day of school, after attending 8:30am Mass at our parish, we begin our day with prayer (Morning Offering and Ave Maria), songs (Good Morning Jesus and You're a Grand Ol' Flag), the Pledge of Allegiance and then the Saint of the day.

The children then work in their calendar binders followed by phonics, handwriting and reading.

 I generally work with Luke first and use the HWT blocks and chalk board to teach him a letter (then send him off to play) while William and Miriam work on their writing and phonics, coming to me for help as necessary.  I then listen to each child read a short story to me from our reading books and we have a short recess.

Our morning is extremely flexible and prone to interruptions from our toddler who on a good day just wanders around the classroom emptying crates and baskets and knocking down pencil cases.  On a bad day, well, at times there are multiple children in tears for various reasons.
  After everyone is refreshed from our recess and snack, we tackle math
and then proceed to Exercise (P.E.) Spanish/Latin, Religion, History/Science, Music, Story time, Nap time for Luke and Phonograms/Spelling for William and Miriam. Lunch and another recess are also inserted at some point before naptime but it varies depending on when we started school and how efficiently we have worked through the various subjects.

 Normally we wrap up our day before 2pm and have our afternoon free for a trip to the library or family project, errands or free playtime, walks or bike rides and chores.Once a week we may also spend the morning with friends on a field trip for some hands on learning in which case, I'll apply this to whichever subject area it fulfills and we'll have school before and after.

To help the kids know what to expect for the day and to help the older children work as independently as possible, I love the idea of Workboxes or at least the many adaptations I've read about on the blogosphere. Since my kids are all so young and we have a destructive toddler who likes to pull out things from bins, I had to come up with my own adaptation.

We used these nice little pictures on our schedule in past years but I was ready to give each of my children their own schedule and thought that it would be too much work to print out the little tabs times three, cut them out and laminate them so I made a schedule book for each of my kids.

 I found the mini photo albums at JoAnne's Fabric store (I also got some at the Dollar store around Mother's Day for our Holy Cards) - they are hard to find! I then just typed the name of each subject (4 subjects to a page in Word) and added a picture to help the kids know what to do during our school day. I then slipped the papers into the photo sleeve and it is easy for me to adjust their schedules as necessary for the next day without too much effort.

For subjects that alternate like Science and History, I just keep them in the same photo sleeve and extra activities that are weekly, like Library and Religious Education(CREDO), are kept in the back of the photo book until their appropriate day. The kids really like their schedule books and enjoy knowing what to do "next."

To keep things clear in my own mind, I have a block schedule and lesson plan sheet where I plan and keep track of what we've completed.  At the beginning of the year I made a year plan and planned out our four quarters and divided the subject material up that we need to complete this year so I can stay on track and to help me with my weekly plans.  I try to lesson plan ahead during the week as we complete work in class and make sure to finish my plans on Saturday or Sunday so our week goes smoothly.   I only plan 1 week in advance so that my plans are accurate since you never know what may come up :-)

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