A Flexible Schedule That Still Has Set Key Times

From Our House to Yours

A Flexible Schedule That Still Has Set Key Times 

Do you have a night owl who likes to stay up late and start school late? Or, maybe you have an early bird who likes to go to bed early and start school early? Or, maybe you have a child who is just “in-the-middle” who likes to start school mid-morning and end school mid-day? Then of course, there’s YOU (as a homeschool mom) to consider too! You yourself might be an early bird, a night owl, or an “in-the-middle” person. In our home, we have a night owl, a few early birds, and an in-the-middle person. So, how do you make a flexible schedule that still has continuity for everyone? Well, you choose set key times for everyone, but allow flexibility around those key times!

Key Times for All to Make a Priority

Below you can see the key times our family has set for all to make a priority:

8:30-9:00 Shower/grooming, chores, room (30 min.)

9:30-9:45 Breakfast (15 min.)

11:25-11:45 Cocoa break (20 min.)

1:00-1:30 Lunch and cleanup (30 min.)

2:20 Leave for work

Key times keep us moving forward and make us aware if we are falling behind or wasting time.

We need key times in our days to keep us all moving forward. Key times make us all aware if we are falling behind or wasting time. They act as markers for each of us within our own schedules. The early bird who got up early to finish school early can see he is off track for his goals if lunch has arrived for everyone and he still has a lot of his school left to do. The in-the-middle person who doesn’t want to do ‘homework‘ at night can see if he is off track for his goals if the time to leave for work has arrived and he has not finished his school. The night owl who doesn’t want to get up early can see he is off track for his goals if night has come and no ‘homework’ has been done for tomorrow.

Key times give us times to all be together cohesively.

Key times give us times to all be together cohesively. They give us routine amidst flexibility. Everyone can plan on doing their chores at the same time, so there is no need to be quiet as no one is trying to do school. Several can plan on having help doing bigger chores, such as clearing snow, watering flowers, or feeding/watering/exercising the pets – because they know they won’t be interrupting each other’s schoolwork. Everyone can plan on breakfast and lunch being ready at key times, so all work hard to arrive on time. All can look forward to having cocoa together mid-morning, so everyone knows they have that break in their day just to talk and hang out. Everyone can plan on wrapping up their school day by the time they leave for work.

Key times are planned in an order that helps the day go smoothly.

Key times are planned in an order that makes sense. For example, chores must be done before breakfast, as unloading the dishwasher and setting the table are part of our chores. By mid-morning, everyone is needing a break, wanting to talk, and longing for beverage. A cocoa break between breakfast and lunch fills all those needs. Lunch and cleanup must be consistent so each person can make it to work on time. Key times keep order to the day so things happen in an efficient manner.

Flexible Times for Everyone

Start and end times can be flexible for everyone. That way, the early bird can start school early. The night owl can do homework at night. The in-the-middle person can structure work time in the middle of the day. Each person can have a snack whenever he is needing it. As the homeschool teacher, I can be flexible with how many teacher-directed meeting times I plan with each child. I may want to meet more often for shorter segments of time with a child who needs help staying focused. Or, I may want to meet fewer times with an older student who works well with large blocks of uninterrupted independent work time. For the child who struggles with transitions, I may add extra time in the schedule for transitions. If I need my teaching to be done by 1:oo PM, I may only schedule independent work after 1 PM.

I hope this post helps show how having set key times in the homeschool day promotes unity but also respects individuality! Try having set key times in your day, while still allowing flexibility in the rest of the day, and see if you like it!

In Christ,

Julie

Enjoy stress-free planning ahead with HOD’s flexibility in placement and pacing!

From Our House to Yours

Counting guides and stressing about planning ahead? Well, don’t! HOD takes the pressure off by offering flexible placement and pacing!

As homeschool moms, we love to plan ahead! Even when our children are little, we might be planning ahead for middle school or for high school. Blessedly, Heart of Dakota offers complete curricula for PreK through 12th grade. So, that already takes the pressure off planning what your child will do next! However, Heart of Dakota takes this one step further by offering flexibility within this plan, both in placement and in pacing. But how?

Flexibility in Placement

Heart of Dakota recognizes proper placement should be based on more than a child’s age. This is why we have a placement chart with age ranges for guides. It is also why when you ask for placement help, we don’t just ask the age of your child and then send you the same box of materials we’d send every other child of that same age. All children of a given age are not exactly alike – praise God! For how drab that would be! Heart of Dakota recognizes children of the same age have different needs by offering guides with age ranges, and by also including within each guide multiple levels of math, reading, spelling, grammar, etc. But, how do the plans ahead change based on if your child is on the younger, the middle, or the upper part of the target age range?

Flexibility for Those Who Place in the Middle or Upper Target Age Range

Heart of Dakota recognizes you might need flexibility in pacing for your children through the years. Students who place in the guides in the middle or upper side of the target age ranges will more than likely move through the typical guide sequence, graduating in 12th grade having done the 4 high school guides as written. However, if your child needs to slow the pacing of a guide, due to life events or to learning needs, extension packages can be added as needed. Then, going forward, we can help you plan the best path through high school based on your teenager’s future goals.

Flexibility for Those Who Place on the Youngest Side of the Target Age Range

For students who are more advanced and place on the very youngest side of the target age range, Carrie purposefully wrote the guides to have some flexibility for several reasons. One, in case this more advanced placement becomes too difficult at some point and the pacing needs to be slowed down, or two, in case there are some difficult years ahead. So, for example, if health concerns arise (for children/parents/grandparents), or if there is an unexpected job change or move, or if any other of the many unforeseen difficulties in life that make homeschooling need to be slowed down for a year or so occur, the student who had been doing the guides on the youngest side of the target age range has a year of ‘wiggle room.’ Or, of course, you can always just graduate a younger student a year early.

How I’ve Personally Taken Advantage of HOD’s Flexibility in Placement and Pacing

I find it interesting that all of my sons did Little Hearts for His Glory for kindergarten. However, none will graduate one year early. My oldest son did a guide a year until my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My son did not finish the last 7-8 units of World Geography, which he was using for 8th grade because of what was going on with my Dad. We decided to have my son complete the last 7-8 units of WG and the remaining 3 high school guides over 4 years.  It was perfect!  He was able to spend time with my Dad before he passed away and so was I, he worked more hours and earned money to pay for college, and he helped me homeschool my other children by teaching their math (he loves math and is good at it).  He is now in college and thriving!

How HOD’s Flexibility in Placement and Pacing Helped My Middle Son

My second son did a guide a year until Creation to Christ. He is very artistic and creative, and he was taking too long to finish each day. For him, we spread CTC and RTR over 3 years instead of 2 years.  It was perfect!  He is now an 11th grader doing USI and loving it! Lord willing, he will graduate exactly on time. HOD’s flexibility in placement and pacing was such a blessing!

How HOD’s Flexibility in Placement and Pacing Helped My Youngest Son

My third son did a guide a year until Bigger Hearts.  He was an excellent reader, but his writing needed to mature. We spread Bigger Hearts and Preparing Hearts over 3 years instead of 2 years. It was perfect!  He is now a 6th grader doing RTR and loving it!  Lord willing, he will graduate exactly on time. HOD’s flexibility in placement and pacing has been such a blessing!

The Blessings of Having an Extra Year of Flexibility

I share our homeschool journey to show that often times something in life happens that we do not expect, either health-wise or pacing-wise. It is an incredible blessing to have an extra year to work with, which is why Carrie planned for this.  Children on the youngest side of the target age range may find at some point that a slower pace would be better for one reason or another. Of course, if everything goes just perfectly both in life and in pacing of learning, students can graduate one year early.  There are many options for earning college credit that can be done from home in this scenario.

One More Option for Children on the Youngest Side of the Age Range

One other option that many families enjoy is taking either 5 years to do the 4 youngest guides (i.e. Little Hands…, Little Hearts…, Beyond…, and Bigger Hearts…) by homeschooling 4 days a week instead of 5 days a week. Click here for a schedule for this option. Or, families may take 4 years to do 3 guides (i.e. Little Hearts…, Beyond…, and Bigger Hearts…) by homeschooling half-speed at the start of each guide and/or 4 days a week instead of 5 days a week.  These are all 5 day a week guides, so this works well. Preparing Hearts… through USII 12th grade guides are all 4 days a week.

In Christ,
Julie