Now that many of us have at least a few weeks under our belt in our new school years, it is time to step back and take a look at what is working or not working. Ask yourself- is that the best way? Do I love this curriculum? Is this schedule still working for us?
One of the things I often find when I reevaluate early in the year is that my plans and planner are not working FOR me! So yes, let’s talk about the dreaded P word- planners.
Planners! There are lots to choose from and I am not here to sell you any so let me just say this. Find what works for you and go for it. I have had expensive, fancy planners that were fun for a while, but eventually wore me out. The past few years I went to a simple spiral notebook for each child. I wrote each subject down with the assignment for that day and then they checked off as they went. On good weeks, I did one week at a time, scheduling on Sundays. Confession- I have also been known to schedule one hour before the school day starts as well. My only complaint was I got tired of writing the weeks and subjects over and over. And over! So this year I printed off a schedule from Schoolhouseteachers.com, printed 36 copies of it (times 2 boys) and bound them myself. Now it is just one less step to have to fill in all the tid bit information, and my oldest says is easier for him to read.
The biggest things to remember are:
- Know your state requirements (weeks, hours, courses required, etc.) and keep track.
- As early as possible, teach your child to work independently. (you can see above Colby marks off as he goes)
- Be flexible! After 19 years of doing this homeschooling thing, I only schedule a week in advance. Yes, I do follow certain curriculum schedules, BUT I only write them in my child’s schedule one week at a time. Things happen. Life happens. And schedules sometimes need to change. Give yourself a break and BE FLEXIBLE!
All those things will save you a lot of trouble in the end!
On that note, the only other thing I really use for scheduling is a monthly calendar! This hangs on our school cabinet door so I can at a glance see the week number we are on. I circle weeks I know we will take off for holidays and can easily keep mental track of how far we are! Like last year and the year before, we will continue our Sabbath Week Schedule of 6 weeks on, one week off.
Simple? Yes! I have made it much more complicated in the past and I am telling you it got me no where different. If fancy planners and fun colors and tape and such float your boat, keep sailing! Do what makes you happy. But if that stuff stresses you out, let it go, make it simple and relax!
As for record keeping – for younger grades, I am convinced your assignment notebook is all you need. We do not keep “grades” at those ages, so I just need proof of what I have done. At higher levels, we have programs online that keep track of grades that I can print at the end of each year, or I simply keep track of grades on a piece of notebook paper. Seriously. I have sent two girls to college. No one has ever questioned their grades before. If they do, I would show them my pieces of notebook paper.
Do what the law requires to teach your child, and enjoy your days! After all, enjoyment is one of the great things about homeschooling!