HSF: Discussions between Homeschoolers

When Keeping Track of Homeschool Lessons


What I mean is: I find it difficult to plan that we're going to do XYZ on whatever day, because if something happens to prevent us from schooling (like today) then I feel like I need to "double up" the next day or am stressed about moving everything up a day.

So, what do you do? Do you track everything "need to do" style or "what we did today" style? And, if you do the latter, do you still do some "set" teaching each day? For example, in September I want to start Spelling Power and FLL, but I want to do them everyday.....but, I don't want to be so rigid that I'm freaking out about making sure everything is done each day ... I want the kids to enjoy school, ya know? Right now, (well the last couple days before my schedule was ruined with house hunting) when my daughter says "can I do more math"....I'm like "no, only those three pages, we have to do reading, etc." and I can tell it bothers her.

My thoughts are to get those huge desk calendars (one per kid) and let them pencil in what they've done each day and only schedule things like FLL, SP and maybe reading out loud as "need to do things" ......what do you all think?
QUOTE (Ambyryoshi @ Jul 1 2004, 11:59 PM)
My thoughts are to get those huge desk calendars (one per kid) and let them pencil in what they've done each day and only schedule things like FLL, SP and maybe reading out loud as "need to do things" ......what do you all think?

If your kids are old enough to keep track of it, then it sounds like a good idea to me.

I usually try to plan each thing out for the week/month/semester. I mark it off as done, when it is done. I may have it scheduled for June 28th, but didn't actually get it done until July 1st. I still mark it as being done on the 28th. If it is way off schedule or not done at all, I erase it. I schedule everything in pencil happy.gif .
HTH flower3.gif
I have been exactly where you're describing. This is our sixth year and I've tried many ways. Scheduling what we will do each day for more than a week always gets messed up! What we've been doing lately is make a list of things that I'd like to get done for the week and they cross them off as they're done. Whatever is left over just goes on the next week.

If they get involved in something and ask to do more I always let them. I believe they always learn more if it's their choice. The one exception is that my son would read all day and never do anything else, so I do limit him on how much he can read while I'm available to help with other things. I know he will read for hours on his own time, though. My daughter has just begun consuming books. She was "late" learning to read and in becoming fluent. If she gets so involved in a book that she would read all day, I'd be hard pressed to stop her. I'm been just dying for her to love reading like her brother and me.

If we've gone for a few weeks with little math being done (this happens a lot since it's everyone's least favorite subject) I stress that it must be done first for a few weeks.

The things I want them to do everyday, like practice their instruments, just get written in for each day we plan to do school.

One thing we've come to do is to just work on the workbook, or whatever, until we're finished and then move to the next in the series. We don't start everything brand new at the beginning of our school year. They may be 10 lessons into a new math book and just finishing their English book. Sometimes when we finish a book (especially in the dreaded math) I'll get some review stuff to work on a problem area before starting a new book.

Do whatever it takes to get rid of the stress. That's no fun for any of you! I like your idea of the calendars. You could perhaps write in Spelling Power, FLL (what is that anyway?) and Read Aloud. They could check those off and write in what ever else they do. After a few weeks you'd see if they were consistently missing something and you could focus on that for awhile.
The calendar idea sounds like a good one. I think we've all been there and done that, but what works for each homeschooling family (student) is individual. Good luck hon.
Maybe keeping your list in order and not using dates until it's finished. Then you can mark it done and on the date it was done. Like: Lesson 1, 2, 3, etc. And then the date it was done. Say Sept 1 finished lesson 1 but you didn't get to lesson 2 until Sept 3 or 4. Keep your lessons in chronological order but not by date.
QUOTE (Ambyryoshi @ Jul 1 2004, 10:59 PM)
So, what do you do? Do you track everything "need to do" style or "what we did today" style? And, if you do the latter, do you still do some "set" teaching each day? For example, in September I want to start Spelling Power and FLL, but I want to do them everyday.....

I have much to say about this. so it will be in bits and pieces.

If you are using FLL there are only 100 lessons, unless you want to be done very early or plan to move on to another language arts program, only do FLL 3x a week. I haven't used SP yet, but I would follow their suggestions.

Some of my scheduling is done for me since I use Sonlight, but I'm adding in other things and switching around some of SL, so their schedule is really just a guide line for me.

I think that once you get a plan of action then you can just write down what you do daily.

My tentative schedule looks like this~

History, MWF
Science TTH, experiments sat ( when hubby is home to watch the little ones)
Math everyday
Phonics everyday
Music(Noah is in the church choir, weds and sunday) We do have a music reading book, I will add this in eventually 1x a week
health is in our science
Phys ed is bike riding, nature walking, swimming, t-ball

Sometimes you have to follow the leads of your children if you child wants to do more math you should encourage her, just reminding her that you also need to do the reading or whatever. This is one of the big reasons why we homeschool all year. I'm sorry I don't remember if you do or don't right now. But my goal is for my children to love learning and I won't push them just because we "have " to do something that they might not like or excel in right this moment. If we are having a hard time in a subject I will let it rest for a day, week or even a month if need be and since I do that Noah is less anxious and resistant to learning things that may be hard for him.
I use the subject planner. I plan each subject on paper by itself like this example for one semester of health:

Each day your children should do what is next on the list. If you have to miss a day on one or two subjects, that is no big deal! No stress, just pick up where you left off on that particular subject. That this is explained on this page:

Managing this system is not too difficult. All of the papers are kept together in your notebook. When the children were older, I attached a copy to each of their books. Each morning, give your children their assignments or if they are young children, call them when you are ready to go over their lesson. When something has been done, that can be checked-off the list. When my kids were old enough I devised this checklist to use with the subject planners. The kids checked off the items as they did them.

If you need to keep a daily log, write what your children did each day in a spiral notebook or in a planner on the day the work is completed or the day after.

It also helps to plan a subject for less time than your school year. If it was possible, I spread each subject out for 2-4 weeks less than our school year.
I just planned out a month of lessons in a teachers planner for each individual child. I didn't date it. I figure, I have it all written out. The days of the week really don't matter. If we get all 5 days in in the week, wonderful. If not, then they just do the next full day of work. I'm starting school now, so I can take off whenever we feel like it throughout the year. The kids did really well with their own individual assignment books last year, and that is one thing I am doing the same way this one.
I do things a lot like Kristi, I plan out a bunch of activities then when the opportunity is there we do things and I cross them off the list. I also have a year of goals written out and periodically I go through that and check off things that we have done or ones she's met.

I'm pretty laid back about it, but I only have one daughter and she's just now reaching Kindergarten age. My approach wouldn't necessarily work for older kids or larger families.

Vickie, try to remember all the things the kids are learning during the move. Also can they take a tape measure to the houses you are looking at and calculate square footage or figure out what stuff would fit where? Count windows in two rooms and add them together? Stuff like that would keep them occupied and they'd learn something too.
When we looked at 6 houses in one day we gave Maddie an "I Spy" list to check off things. She searched for a bird bath, a red couch, a toy, etc. and it kept her pretty occupied.
I like the calendar idea if the kids are able to handle this! This is only our 2nd year and our first year I was freaking out and getting stressed because things weren't done so I just quit planning and kind of winged everything to see how it went. I need some plan!! I decided this year to plan for a quarter at a time (starting in august) what I want them to get accomplished then take a week off in between. The 2nd quarter we end up with a lot more time off because of the holidays, but that's okay. Anyway I figure the week off will give me time to assess and plan more for the next quarter if necessary I know I won't be as stressed knowing that we have plenty of time to accomplish our goals and yet still have flexibility. I am also toying with the idea of alternating science and history every quarter. We seemed to get immersed in an idea or topic with those two subjects and spend lots of time with them!! I agree with whoever said to get rid of the stress no matter what it doesn't do any one any good!! Do what works best for you guys!!flower3.gif
I like to plan things with a pencil and large teachers planner spiral notebook. But since I found the hs tracker (Thank you ! ), I use that to list completed work. I like it because I can print a "report card " on all that they have completed. But I don't like to PLAN on the computer. So , sounds like the big calendar thing would work good, try it!! clap.gif clap.gif
I keep two small binders with weekly planner pages in them. In one planner I write out the week or month with lessons I want to get done. In the second binder I keep weekly planner pages in it and then as each day goes by i write in what we did that day. this way I can see what i want to get done and also see what we have gotten done.
This works very well for us.
I use the homeschool tracker to record what we've worked on, rather than planning. I do have goals written out that we work on daily, but in our case planning and scheduling has definitely not worked.
My son is severely autistic, so I can't honestly look ahead and say, "We'll accomplish this, this, and this", because I just don't know what he'll accomplish and how quickly.
We take daily notes and data on what he's worked on that day in a notebook. And I love the Homeschool Tracker's diary feature. That's where I record a lot of my notes, impressions, etc.
Since I have to keep records of grades, this is what I do

I have a PS grade book.

Each child has their own page.

Under Math, above the little square where the grade goes I write L.1, L.2, L.3 etc, tests and quizzes are in red. So that way when they have a grade under that lesson, they move on to the next one. NO DATES!!!! Dates cause mega stress!!! badday.gif
I have always tackled things by doing a little bit at a time. To sit down and plan an entire school year would drive me insane. I get the general supplies and curriculum I want to use along with a homeschool planning book. I pencil in our lessons one week at a time. This way I can make needed adjustments during any given week for a field trip, illness, etc. I have to echo what Deborah said about not being completed with a curriculum by any certain date. I work through one book or project, and when we are done we move on to another.
I generally plan 1 week of school at a time. I plan for 4 days per week and then we can catch up or watch a video on the 5th.I know how far we need to be by the end of 9, 18, 27 and 36 weeks because I try to run on the same schedule as my high schooler so that my 7th grader won't be so distracted. This plan has worked fairly well. We did finish all our textbooks . And had a pretty good time to boot.
I actually do plan the whole year in advance in the summer. I usually get so excited to start again that I am quite ambitious with what I plan and we NEVER get it all done.....but we have fun trying.

On a planner sheet that has all the months listed down and 4 (quarters) boxes across the top I list all the things I'd LIKE to do for the year, one page for each subject. That is my skeleton for the year. I put this in the beginning of my planner book.

Then I print off a calendar page for each month and try to plan what I would like to accomplish that month using the previous sheet for a guide. I put these in my planner and 5 weekly sheets in between. each one. That is the end of the planning phase. I use those only for a rough guide.

On the weekly sheets I just write down what we actually did. I never get everything done that I plan. Some learning takes longer and often I will change my mind and not do a unit or change books midstream if it's not working. I am also homeschooling a sp needs child and sometimes school just does not happen for one reason or another.

I got almost all my planning sheets from Donna's site.
I plan the whole year too. For my second grader I remove all the pages from the phonics and spelling workbooks and staple them together by day. He is always very clear about what he has to do each day. So I have lots packets sitting in the cupboard right now for next year. For all his other subjects like science, math and history, we wing it mostly, but I have a goal of what we are to accomplish by year's end. I doubt it will take a whole year to do science and history, but it's nice not to have to stress about those subjects.

The reading stuff I don't take apart, but he has been doing the same program for a while and knows that once he starts a story he has to finish it and all the corresponding workbooks pages.

For my 9th grader everything is planned down to the smallest detail because she has so much to get through and she isn't well organized at all. I only do a 6 week schedule for science though, just in case it starts to give her trouble, she can modify.

I push them harder in the fall than in the spring because it's hard to fight the year end fever around here. We should end up with only a few subjects still going on by next March. Math and science will definitely take the 9th grader all year to complete, and the same goes for reading for my second grader, but they will have less stress and more time to get them done without having every single subject still going on.

I want to record every little detail, but I can't even keep a personal journal let alone make entries in the homeschool tracker! I will probably try to get a lesson plan book from Office Depot and start keeping better records now that we are in high school. (Well ... I HOPE I will.) blush.gif
QUOTE (Guest)
I want to record every little detail, but I can't even keep a personal journal let alone make entries in the homeschool tracker! I will probably try to get a lesson plan book from Office Depot and start keeping better records now that we are in high school. (Well ... I HOPE I will.) blush.gif

Just a reminder, but Donna has some very nice planner pages to print off...for free! Nearly every format you could think of. I use tracker, but I also have a book of these forms to use for planning with (have been for years).

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