October 15, 2016

Built-in Catch-up Weeks

Before our school year even started, I was reminded of a homeschooling approach a friend of mine used years and years ago when our children were small. She scheduled "catch-up weeks" throughout her school year; if I remember correctly, 3 weeks of curriculum followed by one week to tie up any loose ends. When our children were small, it was much easier to stay "on schedule," and while I thought her idea sounded nice, I wasn't as concerned about all those little things we just didn't get around to doing. For her, though, it was a great way to stay relaxed during the school year and add even more special things--extra field trips or activities that may have gotten ignored or missed in a slavish drive to "keep up with school."

Now, years later, I am schooling 3 times as many kids as when I first heard this idea! And the range is incredible: from kindergarten up through 11th grade. In addition to the 6 who are officially on the Jakin Academy roster, we have 2 littles who need training in various areas as well.

In other words, the idea of a catch-up week has become a dire necessity, not simply a luxury!

My working school notebook has 6 weeks of scheduled curriculum. We more or less successfully worked our way through the first 6 weeks of school, studying all kinds of things from China to weather to early American history. We learned how to navigate our way through incredibly busy co-op days (twice a month) plus weekly speech and debate classes. We had dental exams and eye appointments. Mom took naps and managed to feed 10 people more or less 3 times a day, every day.

And so, not surprisingly, we "got behind" in checking off those boxes. The kids cheered when I told them last weekend that the coming week would be our opportunity to finish up those things we hadn't been able to do yet, which included a number of science experiments and module quiz and test for Tobin; lots of speech homework for Charis; some science reading for Lucan and Zaden, and spelling lists for Kenna. Oh, it was NICE to have some unhurried days! Especially since Ted had Columbus Day off work and yesterday (Friday) was a busy co-op/class day.

From a mental and emotional perspective, I as the mom NEEDED to NOT press on--I needed some time to gain a bigger perspective, some clarity, take deep breaths and remember that this is our calling for such a time as this. It's too easy to feel like a failure when I'm not accomplishing things, and by that I mean finishing. God hasn't called me to check boxes...He has called me to raise children. That's a lesson that I as the teacher have to learn over and over.

1 comment:

Tina Miles said...

I like that idea...but on the other hand, we're in a bit more of a "tight" tutelage. As in, teachers have schedules and work is mainly done at that pace. In this season, all 4 kids are doing the same history (just different levels of text books) and 3 of the 4 are doing the same science. Which I LOVE. Once Will hits High School, it will not be so. But we're blessed with weeks off every 6 weeks or so. I've debated about that being a time of catching up, but this Fall Break, we TOTALLY took a break. And it was so lovely. :) I'm woolgathering/meandering, but I Have to say I have thought several times how happy I am they're all in the same topics (mostly). (7th & 8th grade science are a different beast and since I'm the teacher of those classes, I have had moments of "Wait, who did I cover that with?" this year--the dangers of all the topics being super similar but different. :-)

This is all to say, I'm super happy you remembered that at a time when you needed it, and that it is helping you and the kids take a deep breath and thrive. :) I'm tucking the idea away!