Illuminations, Schedules and Overwhelmed

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I know many hours of research went into deciding to use Illuminations. Really that custom schedule grid that contains every subject and is printed weekly just makes my planning momma’s heart happy. I am on top of the homeschool mountain ready to conquer this school year.

Then something twisted happens around week 4 at my house. I become slave to the schedule. I have kids who are overwhelmed, I have kids who are behind in a subject and I become one stressed momma.

Then I have to remind myself of my goal for homeschooling…Teaching My Children The Way They Learn.

Schedule 2

My youngest son, a 5th grader, has become completely overwhelmed with the weekly schedule grid. He takes one look at all the assignments on Monday morning and cannot grasp how he will get it all done. Then he has a melt down.

Illuminations Schedule Tweak:

  • This week I decided to cut his schedule grid into strips.
  • This Monday morning I only gave him the Monday strip.
  • I told him when the assignments were completed I would give him the next strip.
  • Once Monday assignments were completed I stapled the next strip to it. He felt like he was building his list. Really we were building on smaller successes.

Yeah! We have only had melt down from his socks not fitting correctly.

For my daughter who I allowed to attend a few extra activities I needed to schedule a catch-up week in two subjects. Once again the slave to the schedule can choke out awesome chances like seeing a performance of Macbeth. A key to understanding Shakespeare is actually seeing one of his plays performed.

With my work schedule I am only available to read a-loud the Family Study guides 3 days a week. I decided I would read the ones I could a-loud by spending an extra week on each guide. Then the books I do not have the time to read a-loud I am assigning them to be silently read on their own schedule. It does make the schedule of literature a little messy but it frees me from the guilt of not doing it all.

How are you handling schedules changes with school or with Illuminations?

My main goal is to battle “You are Behind” often felt when tweaking curriculum. I am not behind, just making adjustments to best serve my kids and help them learn at their pace.

This post may contain AFFILIATE LINKS. Clicking through these links help to support the costs involved in running this blog and sometimes can help with other expenses. You can find my full disclosure under the DISCLOSURE TAB. Thanks!

Comments

  1. Robin says:

    I don’t use Illuminations, but I can so relate with the compulsion to keep to the printed schedule! I have learned over the years that focusing on the schedule just makes all of us frustrated. I don’t try to finish everything within the year anymore. We just keep plugging at the lessons, as quickly or as slowly as necessary. If it takes more than one year, then oh well. It is important for the kids to learn, not to “get through” the material. I also have found that a new curriculum goes slowly at first, and tends to speed up once the kids get used to it and we get into a better routine, so I just let them go at the pace they need to go. A lot of times we catch up better than I think we will at the beginning.

  2. Emily says:

    I’m starting Illuminations next year with my 5th Grader and really appreciate this post. I’ll probably refer back to it several times before we actually start! While I did research it for a good while and was genuinely interested in it, I actually won my pick of year. Even though I was also looking into a couple of other options, Illuminations won by default!

    I’ve been familiarizing myself with the software and curriculum options and have finally decided not to use it to its full capacity. By using the grammar, writing, and science I already have for next year, I’m hoping that will keep my 5th grader from those meltdowns you mentioned. We tend to be eclectic with Charlotte Mason leanings, so I can see how my son is going to easily get overwhelmed with this if we don’t tweak it.

  3. Stacey Lane says:

    Emily,
    Yes! Sometimes moving slowly helps with melts downs. Always tweak things for what’s best for your family…it’s why I homeschool.

  4. I’m going to try my version of the workbox system this year…a single 1″ binder or notebook (depending on the subject) in each drawer for each child. But I like the idea of just the single day’s work presented to the child on paper. All your ideas are very helpful! ~Janice

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