Fridays are frequently our family’s last schoolday of the week. I know that many families just have a 4-day week and take Fridays “off” and that’s fine. But I still like to put things on my Friday homeschool schedule and this post is about giving you examples of what we personally might do and to provide you some ideas for aspects you might like to include some time during your week too. 🙂
This is also a post to summarize the previous days.
Here is an important thing to remember if you’re consider purchasing our PSLC curriculum…You do NOT have to “do school” for the SAME length of time that my family has chosen. Yes of course, depending on your family’s situation and ages/number of your children, you could have a great education with a shorter week and shorter days.
***I design curriculum to cover a good and broad education in a creative and effective manner with a bit of the “extras” thrown in which I think are applicable and really beneficial to most students. But I do so while really assuming that parents will also have OTHER things within their daily homeschool schedules that they’d like to do. (Those “other things” include caring for preschoolers, interruptions, hobbies, field trips, part-time work or family businesses, gardening, spending time with animals, food preserving, conferences/workshops, snow shovelling, shopping, and so on.) I design homeschool curriculum so that it works in busy households, is fruitful and enjoyable for remembering skills and topics, while allowing for “YOUR thumbprint” so-to-speak to remain on the whole process of education in YOUR family! You choose if you want to do a hands-on activity or project or trip alongside the lesson material or not. You choose how long to spend on a lesson or topic or schoolday. You choose extra supplementary information books if you want but you don’t have to always. Add the suggested manipulatives to introduce or reinforce a math lesson or ignore them on a day you don’t want tiny stuff out because company is coming for lunch. One of the reasons I grew to make and use a lot of our own curriculum is to avoid long, tedious, boring lessons which drag on and on. PSLC materials tend to flow smoother for home life so one can cover the concepts without a lot of repetition or busywork and just keep moving on. You have many choices within our curriculum to help you provide “lessons that stick with a refreshing touch of sweetness”! Our curriculum remains flexible so that it can meet the needs and desires of many families!***
Here are, summarized for you, the general subjects I’ve focused on each day of the week for our example schedule:
- Geography or Civics/Government (a good-sized chunk of lessons)
- Short Writing (elementary), English (high school level)
- Math (foundational lessons for the older students; just math work without teacher for younger students)
- “Tidbits” – that means the things often thought as “extras” but I think they are important enough to have a measure of instructional time for and thus, I put it on my schedule. These can also of course, be very much enjoyed at anytime, without it being “scheduled”. “Tidbits” are the arts, phys. ed, and special interest electives.
- Note: There are a number of “stat holidays” (or “sick days” – you know, catching a flu bug from friends or family you’ve visited with) which can occur on Mondays. And by keeping Mondays more simple compared to most other days of the week, I think it is easier to restart school after a long weekend because these subjects can either easily be skipped over or easily included at any point during the week. I aim to keep my Mondays really easy and fun! 🙂
- Science (double amounts of science are nice (or even triple periods of science if including “health studies”))
- Math (foundational lessons for the younger students; just math work without teacher for older students)
- Reading and Spelling (foundational literacy lessons, especially for the younger students e.g. phonics & sight words) plus “Elective for Older Students” (who know how to read well). (The elective? On mine, this is where I might put computer-related coursework or older level of art – something they can explore without a lot of my help.)
- Writing – (the foundational/basic and technical aspects such as printing/penmanship, grammar, how to write a sentence or words.) (Older students continue with the above-mentioned elective or with writing-related homework.)
- Note: Learn to appreciate the opportunities you have to learn in larger chunks as homeschoolers. Doing things in larger chunks is a very effective method to cover a lot of ground, have a lot of fun, and it takes less time overall to pull out stuff and put things away. While you can study things like science in “normal-sized lessons every day”, with our family size, we now prefer to take a few related lessons each time and learn it in an bigger chunk while we’re already thinking about something.
- Creative Writing (or other compositions such as speeches, reports, essays)
- Spelling (if having dictation on Thursday instead of Friday)
- Plus room for other studies focused on writing and/or communication skills such as History, Business, Listening Skills/Audio Stories, or even expressing oneself through one of the Arts.
- Note: Because this day tends to focus on writing, consider adding breaks which have a fair amount of physical activity. If your students are not as excited about writing, think about adding a special surprise mini-unit to begin the day. With our PSLC curriculum, creative writing is also a subject that can be taken outdoors (depending on the weather) or skipped over until the colder (or hotter) weather arrives; it isn’t set up to be a weekly necessity but is arranged seasonally or topically for the skills. Our family has a lot of outdoor work to do in the fall (e.g. in the garden) and so far this year, we’ve been skipping this subject until it starts snowing.
- Reading Comprehension, (English coursework) + Oral/Silent Reading – most of morning
- Math Work and/or Logic (check for understanding)
- Culture-Related Studies (likely not each week and maybe not even every year) (e.g. other languages, multi-media literature, celebrations, missions/ministry, world geography, etc.)
- Science – most of afternoon, either in studies or in practical application or field trip exploration
- Spelling Dictation if desired
- Note: There is a large variety of things you could do on a day like this, depending on the year, the season, your family, etc.. Some years might not have “reading comprehension” so something else might go in that spot. Think of aspects of your lessons which analyze, memorize, give application of learning – digging deep in truth and in purposefulness to serve others.
Friday: More Fun Stuff and Relationships
- Oral Reading (or upper level English or another subject’s homework time for working on assignments)
- Bit of time to finish any Math (+ Spelling Dictation if not done on Thursday).
- “Messy Science” – see below for ideas 🙂
- “Life Skills” – Current Events (e.g. news), Cooking Skills, Sewing Skills, etc.
- Relationships – friendship qualities, social skills, family history studies, people-related activities.
Below is an example “Mommy List” for Fridays and an example “detailed list” of topics/skills. Again, for other years, the “science topics” part of the detailed list can get covered over with another bit of purple paper to paper clip it into place because we might instead have chemistry (or another subject) there instead of “water science”. And no, I don’t get through all of the boxes listed under “Sewing + Skills” each year either – it’s more like just maybe a handful or so of them. Snowstorms are a great time to think about doing something from that list. 🙂 Think of these lists like potential ideas which a homeschooling mom can pull from when the moment of need arises. A schedule’s ultimate purpose should be to serve as a gentle reminder of good goals which we want to include in our homeschooling days.
Resources Our Family Might Use for the points listed above for Friday:
Oral Reading: Please see Thursday’s post for details or see our online shop for readers and literature bundles. Many of the things we read, we also offer for sale. (Of course, there are also lots of other books that we don’t sell but still love to read.) Oral reading is still a good goal to put on a schedule, especially if you have younger children, even if it turns into “silent reading” some of the time.
Upper-level English might involve a literature study (e.g. a novel), media studies, or working on a writing assignment such as from Writing Stories, Letters, Reports, Essays, and Speeches or grammar lessons from a resource such as The Bare Essentials Form B by Sarah Norton and Brian Green (Full disclosure: We used to sell this title by special order but now, you can find it currently elsewhere online for far less cost than wholesale prices so we no longer take special orders for it. It is Canadian-based, thorough, and memorable with a touch of humor.) An upper-level student might also appreciate this time to work on “career studies” (learning about different careers, options for post-secondary training, how to do a resume, etc.).
“Life Skills”: (I don’t personally call this “life skills” on my schedule but some people would tend to call the practical arts or homemaking skills as “life skills”.) We might watch/listen/discuss current events or learn something in the kitchen or at the sewing machine or elsewhere. Resources vary a lot – books, DVDs, websites, learning from other skilled people. What are some skills could we have on our “list” to learn on this example schedule besides sewing?
cooking skills (e.g. blanching, canning, yogurt), hair-styling/cutting, spool-knitting, rug braiding, basketry, embroidery/cross-stitch, crocheting/knitting, woodburning, macrame, quilting, making slippers/shoes, pattern-making (e.g. hat or other clothing), how to iron safely, driver’s education, ropemaking and knots, etc.
Relationships: If I was teaching about “Family History”, I’d like to put it on Fridays, especially in the winter or summer months (in contrast to fall or spring when we’re outdoors more). (This involves telling stories, showing photos, drawing family trees, etc..) Going to a homeschool co-op or social time with a youth group or having friends over or visiting people would also be thought of here. I’ve put in my handwritten notes: “social relationships, fun, understanding people, practical skills, true friendship qualities”.
“Messy Science”: This idea is a bit newer than most of the others for us but it works quite well on Fridays. The idea probably has more to do with “when” can we do “____” in the physical space we have at home indoors or outdoors and not damage papers and books or food. “Messy Science” would includes study units on WATER (including oceanography, pond life, properties of water), CHEMISTRY (including vinegar + baking soda), DISSECTIONS (e.g. plants or clams), and maybe even GEOLOGY (do you ever get messy piles of rocks and dust???)
You can see some resources we might use for this at this post here: Science Resources From Other Publishers
Water Science: (Full disclosure: We are not compensated to tell you of these websites below.)
Here is an example of a web-based resource to teach about water science. It is especially done well, in my opinion.
Properties of Water: “Science Mom” has 7 excellent videos (YouTube) of MESSY EXPERIMENTS and accompanying free, downloadable booklets with activities. See this link for part 1 and the rest follow it on her website. https://science.mom/science-mom-s-guide-to-water-part-1
Water (critical thinking): Here is an interesting website from a retired chemistry faculty member in B.C. and his summaries of water and its scientific properties are quite good for upper level thinkers. Avoiding scams which prey on people who don’t know or remember scientific principles is the main purpose of his site. Click here for that website .(Again, full disclosure – we are not compensated to tell you of this website.)
Bernoulli’s Principle (air): These experiments are only a bit “messy” but I’m adding a link from “Old School Science” here, partly to show you that science can be “a blast” to learn! 🙂 These take more room/space so you might want to take these ones outside. (This is not an affiliate link; we are not compensated to tell you of this website.)
“The Happy Scientist” shows has numerous demonstrations on his website, some of which can be tried at home. He is also very exuberant towards teaching science.
Other websites which look interesting to our family get posted on my Pinterest site HERE (when I think of it :-)).
A Few Comments about “Other Things that Take Time”:
- Shopping: When one child needs shoes for example, I’m (still) learning to check the other shoes in the family for “wear and tear” and sizing at the same time. It seems to take less time overall to get what is needed in one shopping trip rather than in little spurts. (Shopping lists based on what your family actually needs, rather than “what is on sale this week” can also help a lot.)If I can put subjects on a Thursday and Friday which don’t really require my attention every single week, then I might think of taking a Thursday (e.g. with the girls) and/or Friday (e.g. with the guys) to switch seasonal clothing around (fall, spring) which then means I might have a list of needs/wants still fresh in my brain to shop for on a Saturday. The other days of the week I might be more involved in teaching but towards the end of the week, my time can get more flexible for “other things” like this.
- Signing Up for Extra-Curricular: Many homeschool moms today are involving their children/teens in “off-the-property education”, meaning that the kids are signed up to various commitments which help to fill the week with interesting other things to learn or homeschool co-ops (where students might learn a school subject together, taught by one or two of the moms). Everyone will agree that striking a good balance is important, otherwise, too many “extra-curriculars” strain the time available for homeschooling and/or family life. In my years of being a mom, I’ve been told that the number of “no more than 3” commitments per week is a good balance – that is 3 per family, not 3 per child. (That “3” would include church youth meetings or children’s mid-week programs or an afternoon homeschool group activity as 1 (one) activity for the week.) It seems reasonable. Some families with several children have them “take turns” depending on the season (fall, winter, spring, summer – e.g. “she gets to choose a sport in the fall”, “he gets to choose a sport in the winter”) or year (e.g. “this year he has formal piano lessons, next year she does” but they both continue to practice both years). Some families with several children might aim for grouping the lessons together, for example, all children take swimming lessons or music lessons in the same afternoon. Careful choosing of “what” to begin and deciding ahead of time “when” to end is extra important if the time commitment expectations will increase in future years with the type of activity. Be honest with your child(ren)/teens about how much you are comfortable continuing and for how long. Being courageous to quit something that isn’t working well for your family is also important. Extra-curricular should be a blessing, not a burden, and activities should have a positive impact on the entire family.
Now for Friday’s Free Printable: (click on the graphic below)
Why I really like a homeschool plan like the examples (M-F) I’ve shared with you:
I love having a spontaneous personality 🙂 but I also know that if I’m going to provide a beneficial education to our children, I need to also have a plan with some goals in mind. That plan for me has to allow for both covering the necessities nicely AND to allow for extra fun to be thrown in. 🙂 I wanted one that gave more margin and time – it fits our family better than a squeezed plan.
Margin – for flexibility to have real life happen without often throwing a family’s schedule completely up in the air.
Time – to add neat topics or fun experiences that come up, allow for great “rabbit-trails”, and to share our interests together as a family. Allowing “extra time” in a schedule does just that – it gives you visible space to put those parts of a joyful homeschool life right in without sacrificing your regular stuff. If you don’t want to use that extra time on a particular day, then you simply move on and finish earlier and that’s just fine.
If you want to read about some of the benefits of including “homeschool” in both mornings and afternoons, there is another post about it here.
I guess I’ve wanted to show them that lifelong learning and education itself could be loads of fun! Education isn’t just something “to get through” in order to check boxes on a list. Education is something very beneficial to life and you can learn lots of good stuff with enthusiasm! As a homeschool parent, I wanted to be a good example in my attitude towards “school”, provide for and guide the children into discovering good things, and teach them how to enjoy learning independently as they grow from young onwards. To me, that journey meant that as both their parent and their teacher, I did not need to plan to rush through either one of those roles on a daily basis in order to get enough of my (or their) work accomplished and in order to be able to enjoy a break or throw in a spontaneous idea. I could mix it together and just be myself with my family!
These posts have been simply examples; no year has been identical to the one previous to it; there are always changes one makes along the way before or after “school” begins again. But at least some of it is “reusable” and I like that.
This schedule/routine which I shared with you in this series of posts is only one of the ways you could use our curriculum. But hopefully doing so has inspired you to embrace and delight in this journey of exciting days in your family! 🙂