Sunday, May 1, 2016

How I Scheduled Year 5

I have nearly finished creating my version of AO's chart schedule for the first term of Year 5.  Since it's fairly fresh in my mind, I'm going to describe the process I used in case it's helpful.  Bear in mind that of course what works for me may not be what works for you, ditto for my child and your child, and that my process varies somewhat from term to term and year to year.  I school four days a week because one day a week is spent at the park and at band, so that may be different from how you schedule too.

*** My section labels in these schedules are fairly arbitrary.  I don't really care if the label matches the section's contents.

I downloaded the chart schedule in the .doc format from the AmblesideOnline Year 5 Detailed schedule page.  (The Basic schedule page should pretty much match for Year 5.  At this level, the Basic schedule just doesn't show you any of the alternate titles you could use instead of the first choice titles.)

I prefer to manage my charts from Google docs right now, even though they don't print quite as nicely from there, so I uploaded my file to Google drive, opened it, renamed it, and shared it with my child and my husband (view only so that my child won't change it).

Now I start rearranging.  First is Bible.  I noticed that the NT assignments were much shorter than the OT assignments, and some weeks the OT work came from multiple places.  So I decided to separate the OT assignments into different "days" or rows on the chart.  I added two more rows below the Bible assignments, and started cutting and pasting parts of the OT work into the two new rows.  In the end, I had two weeks with only one Bible assignment and a few with three, but most had four.

History is the next section listed.  I noticed that it included a few readings from Trial and Triumph.  I decide to move those to the Bible section to fill in some of the weeks with fewer than four assignments.  So I move that row up and then shift around the three T&T assignments to put them in the lightest Bible weeks.  I ended up with them in weeks 3, 5, and 9.  There still are some pretty light weeks in this section, but for the most part it seems fairly balanced throughout the term.  This one is probably done.

Back to History.  It now has TCOO (This Country of Ours) and ALW (Abraham Lincoln's World).  But just below those is a Bio section that has two books.  I remove the Bio label and put all four books into my History section.  In this section, every week has four assignments, and the assignments look fairly balanced so this section is done!

Geography has only one book, so I start looking for other work to put there.  I know already I will want to add rows for map work (marking where we are on the map when we read the Geography selection) and map drill (learning where to find things on a map or how to draw a map of somewhere).  So I add those rows.  I also know that down in the Daily/Weekly work section of the schedule is a row for Long's geography, which doesn't have assignments scheduled in particular weeks.  I go ahead and add another row for that, then schedule the Long chapters evenly throughout the term.  (I put them in weeks 1, 4, 7, and 10.)  Now I have three assignments in each week for this section, and in a few weeks four, but map drill and map work are pretty short assignments and so is Longs, which Halliburton is a big one that needs more time.  I'd like to balance this section better, and I can tell I'm going to need to shift something out of Science anyway.  Since Madam How and Lady Why (MHLW) is basically earth science and that's similar to Geography, and since it's about as challenging as Halliburton, I move it to the Geography section.  Then I notice that most Halliburton weeks have two chapters scheduled, so I add a row and split the chapters into separate rows for weeks with two chapters.  Now, for some weeks this gives me 5 assignments, but I'm ok with that.  My ds will get to figure out how to manage that load across his four official school days.  He can double up one day or he can work on the fifth day.  Some weeks have six assignments, though, and I don't want to go that far, so on the weeks with six assignments I mark out map drill.  Skipping a week of map drill here and there won't be a problem.

Science now has Wild Animals, Nature Reader, and Story of Inventions.  Really, I could absolutely leave those as-is or move an assignment from another area into this one to make four.  But I did something I don't recommend if you're new to this--I added a book.  Actually, two!  I scheduled in some readings from the David Macaulay books The Way We Work and The Way Things Work.  However, if things get sticky, those readings will be the first things I drop!  So now a few weeks in this category have five assignments but most have four.  This section is done!

Literature has only two selections.  I move on for now to see what else needs to be added.

In the Daily/Weekly section on the next page, I look at the weekly work.  I add four rows up above, where the books are scheduled, and I label them Art/Composer, Drawing, Handicraft, and Plutarch.  Then I delete those same rows from the Weekly section below.  I actually enter the artist and composer selection names into the weekly boxes in that row, doing an art piece on week and a composer selection the next.  (This time I even scheduled specific drawing assignments for each week, but that isn't always necessary.  I did make note of the handicraft we'll do, but didn't assign specific work.)

Back to Weekly.  I delete any rows that I've already moved to another section.  I move recitation to daily, and make three rows of recitation- Bible, poem, and Shakespeare.  I delete folksong and hymn because we do those just as part of life and don't schedule them.  (We do study the ones assigned in AO, usually, but I don't put them on the schedule.)

So under Weekly I still have Nature Study, Shakespeare, and Timeline. I delete Nature Study because I'm once again going to try to just do it, without putting it on the schedule.  Every term I make a new nature study plan and every term it fails, but I keep on trying.  I don't want to schedule it because the kids just throw something in a notebook to check it off the list.  But we'll see how it goes. . .

Shakespeare I move up to Literature, but will schedule the blocks of it later.  I notice that my Robin Hood selection, Green's (I let my ds pick between Green and Pyle), has longish readings.  So I add a second row and move into it the second chapter of Green's each week that two were scheduled.  This section now has four assignments most weeks.

Timeline has to be written.  I remember that I also need to assign written narration, and I like to assign typing.  So I add three rows and label them Typing, Written Narration, Timeline.  In the Written Narration row, I add two O's to each block so we can mark off Written Narration twice a week.

Then I remember Foreign Language and Grammar.  I add in a new section up above called Language and schedule Grammar twice a week and Foreign Language twice a week.

All the weekly work is now gone from the bottom of the schedule.  I add a few daily items like Musical Instrument and Chores.  I move poetry from the book part of the schedule down to Daily.  Then in each block in Daily I put four O's, two above and two below.  We use these as check boxes.

Now we're basically done!  I do some tedious reformatting to make it look nicer and fit on the pages I want it to, but no big changes.  I need to schedule Shakespeare, or really my oldest child will schedule it, and I need to work with my ds to choose the three recitation passages he will learn this term, but otherwise it's finished.

See a sample of the labels and the first few weeks here.

When this is implemented, ds will do one item from each of the sections we created, every day.  He will also do each Daily item, every day.  Sometimes he likes me to make him a checklist, where he can cross off each category as he does it.  I slip the list of categories and daily items into a dry erase sleeve so he can cross it off all day and then wipe it off and start over.

***Update:  A couple of days later, I realized Dictation was missing from the schedule.  So I've updated the sample chart to include a daily Dictation Review and a weekly Dictation.  Had the schedule worked out differently, I might have had actual Dictation twice in the week, but doing it just once fits better for this term.

***Another update:  I've realized that I really don't want to add the extra readings from The Way Things Work.  I'd like to do Physics Lab in a Hardware Store, and all of that would be too much.  So I'll be modifying this schedule again soon.  I may remove the extra anatomy readings too, but I haven't decided yet.

***Update #3: I removed both extra science readings, then added Physics Lab in a Hardware Store.  I'll need to make a supplies list to go with that book.  I also decided to cut back Halliburton to only one chapter per week so we can really work on getting to know each place.  Year 6 geography right now is fairly light, so I can do the leftover Halliburton chapters in Year 6.  (I just need to remember to update the exam questions each term so we aren't being tested on chapters we haven't read.)

***I've created a checklist for my child to use along with this schedule.  The left side is used all week, and the right side is used each day.  It goes in a dry erase sleeve so we can wipe it off and start over.

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