Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

Even though we haven't gotten our school books for next year yet, I have been trying to decide on a few changes. I'm a creature of habit, so I really like to stick with what works, but I also like to keep things fresh and exciting, especially when it comes to homeschooling. I've found that is one of the best ways to avoid burn-out.

I already know that this year will be much different from last year; with Alex and Olivia doing some more formal "schooling," Gracie being more mobile, and Isabelle moving on to more advanced materials and becoming more independent in her work. Now, I need to figure where the changes need to be made and what different approaches I will have to use to keep the household running smoothly.

For the past two years, I have written all of her daily assignments down for her in a to-do list fashion. As she finishes each thing, it gets crossed off the list. She is able to work in any order she chooses so long as everything gets finished that day, and within a reasonable amount of time. Usually, I will spend Saturday or Sunday nights going through all of her books and writing out her assignments for the next week.

I am thinking of doing that differently this year though and would love some input. Would it be easier to write out her assignments a month at a time, or even create a general outline for the whole year right from the start? I'm also considering giving her weekly assignments instead of daily and giving her a set amount of time per day to work on what she wants, when she wants, as long as it is all done by the end of the week. If anyone has done this, I'd love to hear how it has worked for you.

Another thing I am trying to decided on is whether or not I should schedule a bit of time daily, or maybe every other day, for Isabelle to work with Alex and Olivia. They have been playing school every morning and all 3 of them are really enjoying it. I'm thinking she could do some reading aloud with them, or maybe some flashcards. I know teaching something is a great way to reinforce your own knowledge, but I'm just not sure if Alex and Olivia are old enough yet that it would be beneficial. Again, I'd really love some opinions on this.

Okay, I'm done being needy and demanding for today. Maybe tomorrow I'll have some answers for you all instead of so many questions, but I make no promises!

In the meantime, make sure you stop over at Happy To Be At Home to share some of your homeschooling plans or ideas for this upcoming year.


Sonshine 10:56 PM  

Okay you asked...so I will answer and give you some suggestions that have worked well for me with my crew.

My 12yo son has been working on his own since he was 9yo....I started out like you with the writing out everything on a daily basis however, like you I found that I needed to change my ways because I was trying to school others as well and it really took alot of my time to write things out every day! So I found a "weekly lesson plan" sheet that has just Monday-Friday on it and then enough blocks for seven subjects. I take the time to write out everything for each subject on the sheet. I then star or write *see me* under any assignment that I feel we need to do together before he completes it. Having the weekly plan available to him allows him to still check off the items that he has completed as well as work ahead in the week. I write everything in pencil on the plan so that if I find that we need to take a step back and cover something more I can adjust things according and I know where to begin the next week.

Now for my almost 10yo son...he is overwhelmed by the weekly schedule so I still am working at training him to understand to take it one "block" at a time rather than looking at the whole thing for the week. I probably will still have to write out a separate to do list for him from what I have on the weekly plans.

I do a general outline of things I want to cover but it is just that...general! I do a general one so that if I want to schedule field trips in advance or at certain times of the year I can coordinate our studies accordingly. ALL the specifics go on the weekly plans.

Now for Isabelle working with Alex and/or Olivia...I think that is wonderful idea!! I would let her do flashcards or read alouds or play alphabet bingo or memory game with them. You might not realize it but will be beneficial for all of them. It will give Isabelle a chance to be the big sister in a helpful way and the little ones will gain LOTS from those times with her. Allowing her to do something with them each day would give you some time to work at switching loads of laundry, starting dinner, or even just taking a few minutes one on one with Gracie. Also, you could let Isabelle do something with Alex one day and then Olivia the next day and then whoever she isn't doing something with you could be working with at the same time.

Sorry for being sooo long winded but I hope that I have helped you in some way. :)

Proverbs30one 10:55 AM  

I've been getting familiar with homeschoolskedtrack.com for lesson scheduling. They have many video tutorials which are great because at first it is a little overwhelming. I think we'll use it this year for scheduling. I can type in their assignments a year in advance if I want to, and every day they sign in to check off what they have done. As my oldest is 13 I need to keep records now and this will make it much easier.

You can also use this to schedule field trips, activities, days off and it keeps track of how many hours/days you have accomplished throughout the year to keep you on track.

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