I am often asked about my schedules and how we pace our reading
out throughout the school year. Many home schoolers on the
AO list are familiar with my hyper-scheduling tendency and often
when I post advice to the list, it comes across as though we are
super scheduled and every day is a perfect school day. This
is just not an accurate description of our school and I decided
that I probably should type up our method here on the website
to give some clarification to how we do school.
First off, please note that I am unique in that I only have to
schedule one child, who happens to be a pre-teen and is fairly
independent. I am not sure I could even plan out schedules
for two or more children and so please just take my advice and
comments 'for what they are worth.' If you find them helpful,
then I am blessed!
We are satisfied with our method for pacing books and reading
based on timed sessions. This method works really well for
us and probably can be adapted to suit anyone but just know that
I developed this method for use with our son (who is a gifted
student). If you find this method helpful in your school,
I would love to know about it!
How to pace the books - the AO reading choices
are usually fairly significant books, meaning that they are not
short nor are they easy readers. With that said, it is necessary
to pace both the book and the student to ensure that the entire
reading assignment can be completed. I developed this method
of figuring out how many words per minute can be read after reading
about it online on a speed-reading website. It is also very
similar to a method that was used during my Jr. High School years
when I participated in a Reading Study.
The first thing you need to do is figure out how many words per
minute your child can read. You can either use a book and
timer or print a page offline (from a school e-book) and have
your child read it. You can count the words on the page
and then estimate how many minutes it takes them to read from
top to bottom. For older students it is easier to time them
and just see how many pages they can read in X amount of minutes.
In our case, I determined that 30 minutes was the time-frame
I wanted to use to schedule my son's reading. I felt that
30 minutes was a doable chunk of time and that it allowed enough
time to read several pages in a book. I had my son read
one of his books and after 30 minutes asked him how many pages
he had read. We repeated this same process several times,
using different types of books. He read about 10 pages in
history, literature and natural science books in 30 minutes.
Once I knew his target number, then it made it easier to pace
out his books.
At the beginning of each term, I scan the table of contents of
each book we are going to read and place this page in my binder.
This gives me a guideline to follow and also a way to mark our
progress. Then I look at each book and determine how many
pages are in each chapter. If there are 10-12 pages, then
this is a book my son can read in one week. If there are
20 pages, then we break this book into 2 weekly readings.
Keeping on Schedule - the only problem with pacing
a student is that it is very difficult to keep to a regulated
schedule (ex. 12 week terms). We read books and we don't
stop until we finish them. A book might take us all term
or maybe longer. Our school year might take longer than
36 weeks. I don't worry about this anymore as we school
year-round and take breaks as we need them rather than at fixed
times during the year.
At the end of each week, I highlight the books TOC page in my
binder to show where we are. For chapters that take more
than one week, I put the number 2 or 3 next to the chapter title.
This lets me know that we will be reading that chapter for more
than one week.
Copyright 1998-2010. Carol Hepburn.