Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gearing Up for Fall - Pacing The Subjects

Once the calendar dates have been established, the next thing I do is examine the goals I have for each subject area.

For example my 8th grader will be studying

In examining the yearly calendar I have discovered that there are 32 weeks in my formal school year (Sept 10- June 14.)

Each subject has a scope and sequence of material to be covered.  By looking at the amount of material to cover I am able to dole it out evenly throughout the school year.

It ends up working out like this:

  • Physics: 60 lectures in the series at 2 per week  gets it done, with 2 weeks of wiggle room.
  • Geometry: 30 lessons at one a week, perfect! Leaves 2 weeks for difficult chapters which might take extra practice to master.
  • English Lit: I've decided on 8 units which will each take 4 weeks.  32 exactly.
  • History/Geography: There are 42 units, each with 2 parts for a total of 84 items to cover.  This means that we have to do History M/W/F. to get through them all - covering 3 parts or 1.5 units per week.

For each subject I write out a list of weekly goals: 32 weeks, 32 goals for each subject.

I don't put them on the calendar yet, though. I keep each subject listed separately and cross of the goals as we complete them.  This prevents a lot of unnecessary erasing on the calendar, and in the children's assignment books.

Now that I have perspective, I  put things into a weekly schedule similar to the kind we had in school, it has which subjects on which days.

  • Social Studies - Mon/Wed/Fri  1 hour per day
  • Science (Physics) - Tues/Thurs  1 hour per day
  • Math -daily 1 hour per day 
  • Literature -  daily.   1.5 hours per day - plus reading time.
  • Gym - 1.5 hours per week (Saturday)
  • Music - 1 hour per day (includes private lesson time)
This schedule gives my 8th grader 24  hours of structured learning time per week.  That's a good foundation, on top of that he'll learn vicariously and read and experience life.  It's shaping up to be a productive year.

How many hours a week does your middle-schooler spend on academics?

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