Planning our New Learning Year.

I was sitting here wondering just how do other homeschooling families plan out their school year? Over the years we have tried a huge variety of different ways, from following the public school system and their terms, to only having time off when we go away or people visit us. Each has had its positives and negatives, yet somehow we still have not found our magical ‘fit’ for our lifestyle.

We need something that provides structure to our days, yet allows for unforeseen elements, spare of the moment changes and most of all time for me to keep one step ahead of the children and their learning needs.

So with that in mind, I have spent the last week planning out our new learning year.

Deciding exactly when to start our new learning year has been a hard decision – as it is impacted on by the manner in which we wish to work through the year with our learning.  As a family we have discussed our individuals needs, desires and ideas on how our learning in 2012 should evolve. We were lucky enough to have common goals and expectations overall. Therefore it was decided as a family, that we will section out our learning year and manage our time in a ‘4-1-4-1-4-1′ and on and on pattern. The children feel that ‘blocks of learning’ work better for them – and I definitely agree.

So after much discussion and examination of our commitments throughout 2012, we have decided to break the year up into a series of four week blocks. With one week ‘free schooling’ in between each block – hence the 4-1-4-1-4-1… pattern.

For us this pattern of learning provides us with a foundation for 2012 that we can build our lifestyle around, giving structure and yet room for flexibility at the same time.

The week of ‘free schooling’ also provides the children with a week to complete any unfinished work they may have hanging around, enjoy educational activities of their own choosing or if everything is up to date, then they can have a time free of schooling requirements. The children feel that this is a good way to go. They like the idea that if they complete everything on time in our four week block that they can have one week all to themselves. It is definitely a motivating factor for them.

Personally for me, when our week of ‘free schooling’ comes around I will be planning out our curriculum activities, gathering resources, organising field trips and so much more for our next block of learning. This 4-1-4-1-4-1… pattern feels like it gives me the room I need to keep on top of making sure everything is organised and ready for each ‘block of learning’. Believe me I know I am definitely going to enjoy the room to breath and the flexibility it provides me throughout the year.

Let’s just hope it works out as well as it sounds, once it is up and running!