Wednesday, April 18, 2012

REVISED! Scheduling Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day

Scheduling "Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day": One Option

Scheduling is one of the homeschooling activities that takes the longest for me -- probably because I don't want to NOT study anything! I also discovered that, if I'm not careful, lesson planning for ONE student can take as much time as lesson planning for a whole class of students. So I appreciate it when someone helps me out by suggesting a schedule.

Birds, Bats, Pterosaurs and Insects...
If you purchase the notebooking journal with your Apologia Science text (which I recommend), you will notice that there is a multi-page schedule that shows you how to complete each lesson in four days over a 2-wk period. The first day of the week is more of the reading and the second has more activities.  Using this schedule, many homeschoolers complete two Apologia courses per year.

Donna Young has collected free schedules for the Apologia texts, and has posted them on her website, under Co-op Schedules for Apologia Science Curriculum. They include videos that various co-ops have added to their instruction, and suggestions about how to gather and store materials for a group of homeschoolers working on the same class.

You can also purchase daily lesson plans for Zoology 1 through

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Why We Have a Daily Schedule for "Flying Creatures"

The first year we tried scheduling the way the journal suggested. While it got a lot covered in a year, we wanted to make some changes, for our own science class:

  • Mix up bookwork and hands-on tasks more. If your child loves workbook activities, he won't mind the days when there are a lot of notebooking activities. My son was not one of these kids, however, and we often had to struggle to get through the journaling. 
  • Expand on the hands-on tasks. Being a science geek, I wanted to take the "Try This!" activities, as well as the "Nature Points" and "Experiments", and expand them, as these were the parts of the lessons my son liked the best.
  • Embed more nature study. We follow the Outdoor Hour Challenges, and liked to complete challenges that related to the lesson in our text.
  • Add more time for independent projects and related activities. For example, my son became fascinated with the physics of flight, especially of helicopters. He also discovered Biology4Kids, and enjoyed reading more about the things we studied in our Apologia textbook.
  • Go for depth rather than breadth. I'd rather do smaller bits over a longer period of time, and add more details.

We did a lot of hiking, gardening and outdoor exploration during the summer, so we didn't mind stretching the course over more of the year. So here's the schedule we have used since then (and we are all happier with it).

Every homeschool, homeschooling parent and homeschooled child is different - my schedule might work for some, but not for everyone. I have to keep reminding myself that homeschooling isn't a race to complete courses. The important things to remember are the needs, interests, and learning of your child. If you want to get through the science "content" more quickly, so you can move on to music and art, because that is what your child wants to do with the bulk of her time, then do that. If you want to do two courses per year, because you want to make sure you get to all of them, then do that. Remember the reason you homeschool -- your child!

Our Monthly Zoology 1 Schedules:

Notes About the Schedule...

If you count the number of individual activities listed in the schedule in the notebooking journal, there are 187 activities. Our calendar is 210 days long (180 days of school, 15 days of vacation during the year, and 15 days for exams/ practicum - something that Ambleside Online includes as part of the schedule for our history studies). If we let each activity have its own day, then we end up needing more school calendar days, but we don't mind. That gives us leeway in case we do something different some days, or skip school days, or just want more time with Zoology. So we're fine with that.

Whenever we see "Project Page for extra projects" in the schedule, we add time for nature study projects (either about birds, or not). T = Textbook, and NJ = Notebooking Journal.
We start this course on October 1 (that gives us September for the beach, when it's not crowded but still lovely, and lets us buy school supplies on markdown. It also helps you study insects when they are most abundant -- the summer time). If you want to skip the exam weeks and just continue, that works, too. Adjust the schedule to suit your calendar.

We follow the Outdoor Hour Challenges from the Handbook of Nature Study. Activities marked (OHC) could be used for OHC entries or activities, as well.  I have linked items where there is already a challenge or post, if you'd like to expand the Zoology activity to incorporate more nature study. Subscribe to Barb's newsletter to get new challenges directly in your email inbox, or check out her Autumn Challenges list.

{NOTE: Due to reader interest, I revamped this section, and created monthly .pdf documents with the lessons and associated links for each month. No more humongous "cut-and-paste" work, my friends!}


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A Great Notebooking Opportunity!

Consider creating your own notebooking pages, to supplement the notebooking journal for the Flying Creatures course.  Here is a video showing you how:

Visit to learn more about their memberships
and their new web-app, The Notebooking Publisher™