We’ve just completed our first 4 weeks of homeschool and thought we would share our progress and routine with you. As you know, we had a homeschool plan, but did we stick to it?
Homeschool Daily Agenda
Our first couple of days with homeschool, we gave the kids the freedom to choose what they wanted to do and when. They each have a different style and within an hour Anya wanted us to “assign” work to her. Lars on the other hand was trying to do it all and didn’t know when to stop. After just 2 days, they asked if they could have a daily agenda or plan. We sat down with them and came up with the core of their day and we have plenty of other assignments and projects for them to work on as well.
As you can see, Spanish is on their agenda. We were inspired by our friends the Taylor Family and offered Lars a job. Lars is the Spanish teacher and Anya is the student. We pay Lars a nominal fee to teach his sister Spanish. In addition, he also is getting Spanish practice a few times a week as well. During their “Spanish” time slot, they are not allowed to speak English. They are also “required” to keep in touch with their friends in Spain and the USA. They do this via video chat, email, and social media.
Daily Homeschool Routine
As you can see above, the kids have a daily agenda. What is missing from that is the time of day and the length of time for each subject. They just need to work until their assignments are complete. Usually from 10 am – 2 pm with a lunch and breaks included. We have been pretty flexible with their bedtime, thus their time to awake varies as well. We just have one general rule:
No other activities (TV, YouTube, Emails etc) until their school work is complete.
The kids usually wake up about 9 or 10 am and have breakfast. They each begin their school work and take a 10 minute break between subjects. They have been spending 2-4 hours a day on their school work and then extra time on projects.
4 weeks of Homeschool – Our Tools and Program
We signed both kids up for the program on Time4Learning as their core program. We liked the fact that it is a monthly subscription and we can adjust the kids up or down a grade level on any subject. It also provides exams and keeps records of all of their work and progress. It is about $34/month for both kids, so we will see if we continue with it.
This is an online program, so of course depends on good internet connections. We have had a bit of frustration with poor internet connections, but the kids just switch tasks as they wait. The kids have always attended public school and expressed their desire to be taught, rather than learn online. We will give it some time and then check with them again. They have both stated that the program moves a bit slow and there aren’t any fast forward buttons to skip ahead. We will eventually do a full review of the program, but for now each of the kids feel their grade level work is too easy.
As admins, Alan and I can adjust their grade level per subject. We made a few adjustments for both of them in the first week and things seem to be a bit better now. Of course we are a family that thrives off of technology, so we are including many technology related activities as well.
If the internet is really slow, Anya has a full curriculum worksheet book by Brain Quest. She enjoys working on that book and we have covered some good topics. This is also what she takes on road trips and enjoys passing time working on math. I’ll be honest, I think we both prefer to work out of the book. That way we are working directly with her rather than her watching and listening online.
For Lars, we are supplementing with many other things. He is in the Wandering Educators Travel Blogging Teen Mentorship Program. Lars is also working on Code Academy and doing Algebra in Kahn Academy. He also has several video, photography and design projects, some of which he is just doing out of his own desire.
We feel that culture is very important and we have been taking many field trips. We will write about them on the blog and let you know what the kids have done. For now, here are some of the field trips we took in the first month.
- Elephant Nature Park
- Monk Chat
- Chiang Mai Zoo
- Bo Sang Village – Saa Paper Umbrella Making
- Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park
- Temple visits and more
- Teaching English at Chai Lai Orchid Eco Resort
We also provide projects for the kids, which will ensure they are efficient with using their and the tools available to them. We recently visited Elephant Nature Park. A few weeks prior, we assigned the kids a project to prepare them for the visit. We asked that they each research, create a presentation on Asian Elephants and present it to us. That is all we asked of them and we wanted the first draft to be complete prior to our day at Elephant Nature Park. They were allowed to make modifications after our visit, if they desired. bOne week after our visit, they needed to present their final product.
They each created a PowerPoint type presentation and we feel they both did very well. They each presented in a slightly different way. For Anya, this was her first ever presentation! She learned how to do the research, use PowerPoint and not to copy exact words from other people. She also learned how to insert and edit photos, as well as speak in front of an audience.
For her presentation, we took the traditional route with her. She hooked up her laptop to the TV and stood in front of all of us in the living room. She did very well and didn’t seem to be nervous at all. We thought it would be great fun to share it with you, so below you will find Anya’s presentation.
Lars is pretty experienced with presentations and his computer tools, so we were pretty hands-off with him. Of course he needed to be creative and Lars presented his slide deck to us via Google Hangouts. He was kind enough to record his full presentation, so you can watch it below.
For “Creative Arts and Technology” Lars took my video footage from out day visiting Elephant Nature Park and created this awesome video for us:
So as you can see, we are a little organized and a little free spirit. We are trying to support the kids with their passions and desires. In addition, we are making sure that reading, writing, math and technology come into play as well. Both kids are writing blog posts and creating videos as well. Anya has started up her own YouTube series “Adventures with Anya”, of course the intro was created by Lars.
This isn’t quite everything, but we wanted to give you a flavor of the variety we are encompassing.
Let us know what you think? Please ask any questions you like? Let us know how we are doing and what should we add, remove or change.
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Wagoners Abroad 1 Year Of Homeschool – Can You Learn From Travel?
- We came up with a homeschool plan.
- Details on our first 4 weeks of homeschool and the tools we used.
- The full story on 1 year of homeschool in Southeast Asia.
- We have only used public schools in Spain, but here is our info on homeschooling in Spain.
Feel free to also check out our Family Friendly Guide to Chiang Mai