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For those who do one or two long days.....

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    For those who do one or two long days.....

    I see a lot of Cottage Schools, and even the HLS in Louisville (if I understand the website correctly) doing one or two long days for their primary and gramma students.

    I'd love to hear how this works. Do you find that your students remain sharp and focused during that long day? How do you handle lunch time supervision? Do you have support staff and volunteers, or does your teacher supervise the students herself from morning till afternoon?

    I currently teach four half days per week. The students are with me from 8am-12pm. I think its ideal for the students. I have them when they are most fresh and focused. I don't have to deal with lunchtime supervision or mess. They work hard with me in the morning, complete the lion's share of their curriculum, and then go home to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening living and learning at home.

    However, due to our demographics (very rural, sparse population) we are seeing that next year, we may need to go to a 2-full-day a week schedule in order to accommodate families that need to drive to us. There are just not enough students who live right in our little town to realistically support the tutorial. And to ask families to drive 30-45 miles for four short mornings a week, its a tough sell.


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

    #2
    Good morning Shawna. I taught kindergarten at HLS for many years. The students did fine with two full days of instruction. You are correct that they are best in the mornings but I found that right after lunch and a quick run on the playground they were good for another hour of focused seat work. After that we completed the Read Aloud with its discussions and observations, which usually included something active followed by the craft and art and music appreciation. Afternoon always included a 20 to 30 minute rest time as well as P.E. or Music class.

    Lunch was supervised by the teacher, me. I sat with my class and monitored this more casual time to be sure conversations were uplifting and inclusive and that proper manners were modeled and expected. Though this last one was always a work in progress! We did have one parent volunteer each day that was in the lunchroom when the first class arrived. Their main duty was to first help those with lunch boxes to get out all their items and get them opened. This was key. Everything out and opened. Next she was ready to assist any who had been through the lunch line to open their milks. By the time she had helped the first class, the second class came through (we staggered them by 5 minutes). After everyone was seated she monitored the classes fetching napkins or a clean utensil or to deal with the occasional spill. After eating she assisted with pack up, and the dropped paper or fork between the tables and the soap tubs. Lastly she washed down the tables for the next class. This was not a time for the volunteer to sit with their child to eat. A quick hug/kiss is all they really got on this visit. As a teacher the only way we had time to eat was to get volunteers. Every K teacher had a sign up sheet with dates ready for Meet the Teacher Day. Since they had emailed their parents prior to this as a "hello", they included the reminder to bring their calendar to Meet the Teacher because they would be signing up for Cafeteria Volunteer and for Parent Reader.

    Every Tuesday a Parent Reader came the last 30 minutes of class. They bring books of their choice (within the parameters we set for truth, goodness, and beauty) to read to the class. This allowed that primary level teacher to pack homework folders or prepare for the next day's lessons and was scheduled with the P.E. day.

    Like you are thinking, we found two full days worked better for our families that commuted a distance. It was also more convenient for families with students in more than one grade level. Waiting in carpool line twice in one day is never fun!

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      #3
      Thank you so much, Michelle! That is very helpful. The Parent Reader is positively brilliant. I definitely find myself scrambling around to pack up those homework folders, and make sure those couple of students who need a little extra reading help bring home their literature books, etc. There are so many things to consider when developing a viable school model! I am so excited to be going to the regional conference in Pasadena! I just booked my flight and accommodations. I hope to meet you there, and perhaps have some time to ask these questions!

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        #4
        I look forward to meeting you there!

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