Now that everyone’s kids are home full-time and folks are trying to find a home-school rhythm that works, we’ve run across so many friends and acquaintances who are struggling with the “how long”, “how much” and “what” questions of home schooling.
We started home schooling our two oldest kids four years ago, and prior to that had over a decade of experience in staff training and tutoring. Our own kids, as well as the various other kids she’s worked with (both at home and in our various STEM and outdoors classes she volunteers with) represent a variety of ages and requirements.
So, she and my daughter wanted to put together a video talking about what’s been successful, as well as what challenges we’ve faced, in implementing home school curriculum that works well.
One of the core pieces that Kathryn brings up in the video above is to focus on running good control on the day with a schedule. This schedule, to be really effective, has to be known by all of the kids, and agreed-to by all the kids, and then actually run well.
The principle behind this, and the full reasoning, is detailed in a book called The Problems of Work, in a chapter titled The Anatomy of Control. I’ve queued the video of this chapter here:
The point is, first, look at the person you have in front of you and look at what they can reasonably be able to start, change and stop to their own satisfaction.
Some older kids might be able to sit for two hours straight and burn on a math lesson. Other younger kids might only be good for 5-10 minutes while you take them through a spelling page to spell three-letter words. But as long as they can start and finish their lesson, and you don’t interrupt them, and they can be permitted to finish that before starting the next thing, it will add so much smoothness to trying to run the day.
Every week, my wife draws up a new schedule and posts it on the fridge, and lets all the kids know what their days look like. It’s a little more challenging than usual these days, given that we have these WONDERFUL Zoom lessons that The Delphian School puts on each day (math, creative writing, space, chemistry, zoology, poetry, singing, crossfit, etc – they’re FABULOUS) that do need to be planned into the day.
But the key has been finding activities they all are good with (and that has taken a fair bit of trial & error) and then getting their buy-in on the activity, and how long they’ll be doing it.
That way, they’ve eventually started doing a lot of the own “running” of their schedule – vitally important given that I work from home, and my wife also runs the books for my IT consulting company. We actually, at this stage, have enough time & sanity in our lives to work as well as run the kids on daily schooling which is pretty fabulous.
If there’s anything you’re running into in home schooling your kids, or if there’s anything you’ve found to be really workable, please share it here! We’re planning a whole series of videos, so would love to take up a variety of aspects of this. Please – feedback is welcome!