September 17, 2009

Flower Garden Schedule

I spent forever searching for a scheduling gimmick that allowed us both a routine and flexibility while also giving Hannah Jane the feeling of ownership over her own schooling. What did I find? The big nothing. There are all sorts of home school scheduling ideas on the web, but none of them seemed just right for us. So I did what every home schooling parent is a whiz at! I made something up. Yup! I gave it a shot and here's what I came up with.

I took those foam sheets that you can buy at the Dollar Tree and I cut flower shapes out of them. I glues those to green pop-sickle sticks and stuck a foam leaf on the side. Then on the face of each flower I wrote one subject. Now that I had the flowers, I needed something to plant them in.

I considered lots of things here, and lots of things could work. Perhaps a vase full of those clear glass rocks? An actual flower pot? All nice, but I am super cheap. I decided to borrow a neighbor's sewing machine and get a cute green colored fabric and fold it in half, leaving the top edge open, and sewing vertical lines to make a pocket for each flower. That sounded great, but I got even lazier when I saw the felt on sale in the craft department. I just grabbed a green piece of felt and went to town with the stapler. I am sure a more patient, craftier person could make something a ton cuter, but we're all just pleased as pups with what we've got going.

Now here's how we use it. Each morning we clear the garden, so to speak, and start with empty ground. Hannah Jane has the choice of what flowers to plant (what subjects to tackle) in what order. That's the flexibility part. Say the boys are having a bad day and need a little extra mom time, Hannah Jane plants a flower for a subject she can do on her own, like music practice or spelling memorization. We can work around whatever comes up. the rule is that School starts by 8 and she goes until all her flowers are planted (with the occasional snack break or call from Grandma, of course). Once she has planted her garden, she is free to have less structured time outside or doing crafts. She gets to be boss (sort of) and so far she gets really excited to see that last flower planted.

I've considered what we might do for the boys when their time comes and I'm thinking bugs in a garden or crops in a field. Who knows? The possibilities are endless. But we are really liking this style of scheduling.

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