Have you skipped art and music for days, weeks, or months at a time?
Has the space in your mind become occupied by too much that the “extras” have been erased from the plans?
Does school consist of mostly math and grammar?
Are your children often telling you that they miss the other subjects they used to do?
As we head into a new semester, I have found myself pondering these questions, and I can honestly say that I answer yes to all of them.
Each school year we start off on the right path, but some way we find ourselves being taken off the path that best fits us and morphing into a school of just getting the basics done.
Luckily, I recognized the pattern before we finished last semester, but it didn’t change the fact that indeed we were no longer dedicating time to the electives my daughters have come to enjoy. As the final weeks of last semester began to roll in, I made the conscious choice to plan our days with electives in mind.
Planning with electives at the center
Completing math and grammar will always happen because it is a part of the daily schedule whether it is completed first or last, but this isn’t true for other topics like art, science, or nature studies. In order to correct this, our schedule has been updated with the electives being the core of our day.
In order to give the electives priority, I first had to do these three things:
- Write a list of the elective courses that your children are interested studying. When I think of my reasons for homeschooling, it always comes back to giving my daughters the opportunity to learn about the things that interest them. If I keep this at the forefront, then I will keep the course of making sure the electives they have chosen will always have a place on the schedule.
- Select a few courses that can be implemented in the current semester. Take in consideration the materials you have on hand and budget. There isn’t a need to plan for a course when it wouldn’t be feasible to purchase the materials or take your children to the class. For instance, if your child really enjoys music but teaching a music course isn’t possible for you, you could consider community music classes if the course fees fits your budget. If neither works, then you should choose a different elective to incorporate this semester.
- Add the elective courses to your schedule first thing. I have realized that the basic classes will always get done. There is rarely a day my daughters will not do math, grammar, or history. Since I know this, I have to make the decision to give the electives a higher ranking on the schedule because if time escapes us these courses will be the first to be pushed to the backburner. By choosing to schedule electives first, it is a greater chance that we will do them.
Electives are often the first thing to go whether in public, private, or homeschool, but homeschooling should be different than the other two so why not make the courses our children love priority.
How do you make sure that electives such as art and music don’t get erased from your lesson plans? Comment below!