Thursday, October 18, 2012

Independent Learning Days

I know many a homeschooling family who use a non-traditional school schedule.  One does school for three weeks and takes a week off, year-round.  Another doesn't do school on Mondays and uses that day for field trips (which really is school, just not classroom work).  And I know many who don't do school on Fridays.

The great part of these days off is that it gives you a chance to get things done that you have no time for otherwise, like grocery shopping and other errands, special projects around the house, and paying bills.

But, my state requires a specific number of school days each year and schooling year-round isn't something my Hubby and I want to do.  So, until this year, I thought the alternative schedules were out of the question for us.

That is, until I had the idea of "Independent Learning Days."

What are "Independent Learning Days" you ask?  

Well, each Friday, we start the day off just like any other day with calendar time and Bible.  Then, instead of moving on to our other regularly scheduled schoolwork, the kids get to pick what they want to work on.  They can read, write, draw, play learning games on their iPods or the computer, play with Legos, Playdoh or other creative medium,  listen to stories, play board games, watch educational videos, or whatever else they can think of that has educational value.  If it is a new idea, they just need to run it by me to make sure it fits the bill.  Because the kids are still working on things that help them learn, I still count it as school.  So, it doesn't throw us off when it comes to fitting in all our school days the state says we need. 

homeschool schedule independent learning legos blocks play
Playing with Legos for Independent Learning
This not only lets the kids focus on the things they really enjoy for a while and use their creativity, but it also frees me up from teaching to get some things done.  Every other Friday morning, I can finish up my shopping list and work on the budget.  Then, after lunch, we are ready to head out to the store (where the kids get a little math and practical life-skills practice in).   On my non-shopping Fridays, I can write or work on worksheets.  I can also do some school planning or work on my own projects.  When you homeschool in the mornings and go to work in the evening, this time is even more important!

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