Do you think of the school year in trimesters? I’m starting to. It’s new for us, because for about 8 years, we homeschooled year-round with breaks scattered all throughout the year. But starting 2 years ago I realized that I (and possibly the kids) needed a longer, traditional summer break.
It’s been an odd transition, with wrapping my mind around the idea that we’re (mostly) supposed to start and finish a book in one year. We used to just start books whenever the last one was done, and were at about a dozen different places in the different subjects. Sandra in particular feels stress about being on target; she does not like the choice between having to work on something on the summer or leave it undone. If she gets stuck or sick she really feels a pressure to work despite her situation. I don’t like the emotional turmoil around that so much, but I do admire her work ethic.
We’ve just had our Spring Break and I was looking over what we’ve done and what’s left. We’ve got about 60 school days til the end of June, which makes this one third of the school year. A trimester. I work best with units and projects rather than day-in-day-out monotonous repetition, so this discovery is exciting me. Next year I could think in terms of three units for our subjects.
We are starting 2 new programs, though it’s unplanned that this coincided with this period. Matthias is going to try the Key To… math series. I’m hoping that a mastery approach will help him, because the spiral approach of most math programs really isn’t working. Sandra is working on Apples: Daily Spelling Drills. Spelling is a real challenge for her. Years of copywork and dictation have been the best thing for her, but it’s time for something that presents spelling rules in a way that makes sense for her. Finally, I think we may have found the right program.
It’s early days yet – it’s always easy to be excited by a new program in the first lessons. I’ll report back about whether these are still working for us.
Do you homeschool in trimesters? What does that mean for you?