How Semi-Structured works for us

This was going to be a reply on a forum but realised it would be far too long.

We’ve swung backwards and forwards on the structure pendulum for a long time – this is how we’ve settled.  It is still very much a work in progress and not got it quite perfect, but is working well so far.

Socialisation – he isn’t a social butterfly with a big need to be always out, which suits me.  We could do something everyday but choose not to. A lot of the local activities because of where they are (I don’t drive) and the timings, would be a day trip really for what is essentially a play at the park, and while I sometimes think we should ‘mix’ more, I don’t feel I can balance activities like that with providing the education we want (different if I drove and we could go for an hour or two but we literally would not have time for anything else that day).  We are both happier in smaller groups anyway.  We have a fortnightly home ed group on a Monday morning and on Weds we have ‘classes’ at mine from 11.15-3.  We usually see friends at least once more in the week for a trip/play.  If we are free and haven’t done too much on other days we try and go to a board game group on a Thurs.  Plus he does Cubs.  I do try and make sure we have at least one day at home to ourselves though as we both need it – usually Thurs.  This coming week we don’t have Monday group or any trips, but as we have to go out on Tues afternoon for drs appointment I will check the weather forecast Sunday and see if we can round up some people for a walk on the beach/play at the park if it looks passable.  Weds we’ll have people here a lot of the day. Thursday we will go round to his best friend’s for a birthday celebration.  Friday we may go to London (just us but we always find people to talk to) but have been saying that for three weeks now!

Timetables/routine – I don’t like timetables I find they cause more stress and worry for me when something disrupts them.  Instead we have the routine that we will be doing ‘stuff’ together from about 9-3 Monday-Thurs and Friday morning.  This is mainly to stop me getting distracted by work/Guiding stuff/housework and letting him procrastinate reading Beanos he has read 1000 times before or obsessing over Minecraft, both while good in moderation are detrimental to his behaviour and happiness in the extremes he would take it to left to own devices.  He’ll help then with the housework for 1/2 hr or so until older brother gets in and we all go off to do our own thing, I usually sit for a while with the oldest as he tells me about his day.  The errands that come up – shopping/drs etc  I try and combine with other stuff where possible, shopping when we go into town for group, play on the beach when we go to drs.   If not they are Friday (our work lite day)/weekend/holiday jobs. With one in school I have to follow school terms!

Stuff – I suppose I could say curriculum but actually that doesn’t seem to cover it.

I aim to do Maths and English 4 times a week and we always do these first thing.  If we’re home we’ll do on a Monday and have a day off either Friday or if a trip falls.  English I am more structured on as the work for that falls into blocks of 4 so carrying it over to the next week would be awkward, if we miss one I have in mind we’ll catch up on a weekend when older one is doing home work.  Maths doesn’t matter, provided the reason we haven’t done it is because we’ve been busy rather than I was procrastinating then four is just a target.  Both are a collection of shorter activities rather than pages of a textbook/workbook and it takes roughly 1/2 hr for each.

Other than that … Monday we always look at a ‘festival or holiday or special event’ either at group or at home.  Tuesday we try to do ‘Sketch Tuesday’ (see link on right) if we’re around in the afternoon (time difference means it isn’t posted until afternoon here).  Weds we are working on a Geography project with a group, we do some creative writing with the same group and have a Spanish tutor.  Besides that I try to fit in at least an hr of history, a bit of Latin, some Spanish practice, Geography from our book and at least one science lesson.  With these I don’t schedule them, I make sure the resources I need for the next activity in each book/topic we are following are to hand and then as we come to breaks in activity might suggest we do one or the other, influenced heavily by mood (the other day we spent all the afternoon reading Percy Jackson – we needed down time!).  Sometimes Sam will want to do something and where possible we’ll go with it – folding paper to show fractions led to morning of origami last week.  Not everything we do looks like it belongs in a school curriculum, for example we spend a lot of time playing games, but the ones we play tend to be strategy games and they help so much with concentration.

As far as possible I avoid writing outside of English and Maths.  Sam doesn’t enjoy it at all and I can’t see that it adds anything to study; we read books/watch documentaries and discuss, make, cook, draw.  And I can definitely see an improvement in his handwriting now he is doing less of it but focusing when he does.

We’ve not got it perfect I’d like to fit in more structured Art, Music and Nature Studies on a regular basis but we’re getting there.

Updated post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *