During the Middle School year, my goal is to build up and strengthen my son's independence and responsibility. From grade 5 and 6 I started to make him be independent with his work. Very few subjects are taught by me. I try to pick challenging curriculum that he can do on his own. I also started to make him responsible on how he schedules his time. We are still in the process of teaching it to him. My son is very easily distracted and has always been. His mind/brain is filled with all sort of things and projects. He is my creative one. His nickname is "space cadet". So it has been a challenge and long road to teach him to own his time and learning. He loves learning, but has a hard time staying on task for long periods of time. He has a lot of thing he wants to accomplish....
One thing I realized earlier this school year is that since it takes him so long to get going, instead of scheduling lots of subjects every day, may be it would be better to have him focus on a few at a time. So, I came up with a schedule that allows him to not get as behind as he has been getting in the previous years when I cranked up his load.
Here is what it looks like:
Daily: French, Science, Bible, reading and Math. These are kept daily because they need consistency and practice.
History, which is his heavier subject. It involves lots of reading and accountability and thinking questions that need answering as he prepares for his online co-op which takes place on Wednesdays. This work also involves literature, which consists of reading a book and answering a worksheet. This also is done in preparation for the same online co-op.
He finishes up whatever is left from his history (since he needs to be ready for Wednesday).
Grammar: These are mainly practice and review worksheets so it does not take him much time.
Logic: This demands a bit more work, but requires a reasonable time focus.
Writing: this subject requires me for the first part of it, and then he completes the remaining 3/4 of the weekly load on his own.
Mondays and Tuesdays are his longest and heaviest work load day. A lot of it has to do with the fact that we run a 4-day school schedule.
Because he has his online co-op, History from 9 - 10:15, and Literature from 10:30-11:15, and then his violin lesson right in the middle of the day at 2:00, I keep Wednesdays light. He only needs to complete his daily subjects on top of all of this on that day.
This is another day when extra-curricula interferes. He is part of a violin ensemble which practices take place on Friday mornings, so he is gone between 9:30-11:30.
His school schedule consists, then, of his daily subjects, logic, and completing the writing that he often does not complete from Tuesday.
This is the schedule on paper. This is a work in progress. He still has unfinished work but, since I instilled this regiment, there has been an obvious improvement. The rest is continuous training on diligence and focus. I am hoping by the time he hits high school, in less than 2 years, he would be ready. He does own his learning and works quite well independently, but struggles with managing his time. My role then is to stay on top of him and keeping him accountable, topic I will deal with in a subsequent post in this series.
Next week I hope to tackle the topic of independence and responsibility.