There are many home educators who do not follow term-times, because they say that children are naturally learning all the time and you can't switch that on or off. They are absolutely right. But for home educators who follow any kind of structure, be it full or partial, term times can be helpful, especially for those of us who have something to plan.
This school year I have a LOT to plan. Last year I mainly focused on Eldest and getting both of our heads round how to sit IGCSEs as home educators. I felt that Middle and Youngest were a bit neglected oftentimes throughout the year. This wasn't a massive problem because, as mentioned previously, children carry on learning regardless - and they absolutely did, even with less input from me than I would have liked. But this year Eldest and I have more experience: even with different subjects to study we feel more like we know what we are doing. And so I have been looking forward to being able to divide my time more fairly between the three of them (up until revision season at least, and then I suspect the younger two will be more autonomous again!
Educating at different levels, especially when one of those levels is highly structured learning-for-exams, is not for the faint-hearted. It has felt intimidating but I really want to give it a go, so my way of preparing for that has been to plan, plan and plan some more. I have drawn up a detailed timetable of what the boys will be studying:
Eldest has 2 subjects (for now at least): English and Biology. We are using online tutorial courses (Catherine Mooney and Echo Education respectively) and have divided all of the work he needs to cover between available days, aiming to finish by February half term so he has plenty of revision time. I think we have paced it much better this year.
Middle and Youngest will be doing the same as ever with just a couple of parent-led activities a day and lots of space to follow whatever else interests them at the time. They will be alternating MathsWhizz and English workbooks, and then we have some art 'lessons', stories of the British Empire for history, Science workbooks, STEM challenges, and a cooking curriculum to work through as Middle really fancies becoming a chef. All of those alongside Forest School and our other HE groups.
There's nothing too strenuous for any of the boys (especially because Eldest has no re-takes - hooray!), but I will be relying on my plans to keep myself on track, juggling them all. All I can do is try and see how it goes. I do love a good plan, it's true - but I also love to be able to change up whatever is working. An efficient plan allows plenty of room for adaptation. After all, flexibility is the key to happy Home Ed! :)