The Wild Learner

Explore, adventure, adapt, discover.

School's back in session

While we don't tightly conform to the annual school year calendar, the arrival of Labor Day often marks key changes for our family. The annual agricultural fairs were cancelled this year, but those events mark the shift from long summer days and extra liberty to more structured weekdays in our household. We've gotten our routine back on track, with a focus on formal learning activities between 9 and 11 most mornings.

Newcomers to homeschooling are often curious about scheduling their days. We allow a great deal of flexibility, but have a standard expectation for those times of the year when most other kids attend schools outside the home. Our learner works on French and Math at least four days a week, and selects from English, Social Studies, and/or Science each day.  She logs her daily work, with indications of which subjects and materials she has used, and responds to a series of written prompts. This ensure that we have a record of her work, and a handy sample of her progress in writing in both of her languages of education. We parents can also use her log to direct her activities by listing expected items, and we can record our observations on the back of each log sheet. 

Because motivation sometimes flags, we have recently instituted a reward system where she earns tickets for outstanding work (either the quality of something she has been working on, or a level of attention or effort at a task that is noteworthy). Once she earns five tickets, she can trade them in for a day "off" from "school". Our schedules this year also allow us to have some flexibility for the occasional Friday field trip, and we'll go apple-picking, visit a science/nature museum, hit the library, and attend community events as the opportunities arise.

Many enrichment activities are geared towards kids in school, so we can usually find group activities in the late afternoons if we want particular extracurricular classes. I personally like being able to engage in outdoor activities as a family at times when fewer people are on the trails, lakes, and rivers. This season is still developing, and the constraints of a slowly rising case count in the pandemic have made us reluctant to fill our calendar with group classes to the degree we would have in the past. 

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