The Robinson Curriculum strongly recommends operating your home school for 5-6 hours per day, 6 days per week, for a minimum of ten months per year. Today, we hew closely to that schedule. But it hasn’t always been that way!
This schedule is rigorous. It only works if I am at my best to enforce it each day. It insists that I more or less keep the same schedule in order to keep the boys on it as well. Last year, as I began to take over responsibility for the school from my wife, I tried all sorts of different schedules and none of them worked very well. I learned a few things in this process.
Consistency is key. The boys had whiplash from my constant jiggering with their schedules. I struggled to keep track of what was going on from week to week because all my carefully crafted charts and records from the last system no longer worked with the new system. I wanted the optimal schedule and so I continued to change things up until I found it. I would have been better served to pick something less than optimal and stick with it. Of course, the best thing would have been to take the advice of those who have gone before me and just enact the schedule our curriculum recommended! Life lessons…
Six days shalt thou labor. This biblical standard really works! It is effective for one simple reason: A two-day break every week is like a mini-vacation for the brain, and it takes time for the mind to get back in the game after such a long time away. When we did five-day weeks, we’d spend a good chunk of the first day back getting back in gear. Or worse, the first day’s work would be of such poor quality that it would need to be repeated on the following day. It felt like a constant uphill battle to make any progress at all. I am not sure how traditional schools deal with this issue! It must be very frustrating for teachers. We have found that a one-day break does not seem to have these same drawbacks. Looks like God knew what he was talking about when he set that all up!
Start with the hard stuff. We do math first, then writing, then reading. Not sure if it’s genetic, but we’re all good readers, fair writers, and poor mathematicians. Actually, we’re decent at math, but it doesn’t come easily to any of us. So, we start with math, so that our very best effort can be applied to our very hardest problems. Note: This works in life outside of school, too.
For anyone interested, here’s a link to our Home School Standard Operating Procedure document.