Posted by Cindy on August 15, 2012
My sweet online friend, Alicia from La Famille, has created a wonderful homeschool planner that I just had to share with you because you’re gonna love it, too!
After searching high and low for a planner that fit like a glove, she decided to make her own…and she’s making it available to others. Oh, joy!
Before I tell you what’s inside, take a peek at the loveliness that arrived in my mailbox. Yes, that’s a hand-sewn envelope. And, yes, she even took the time to write me a sweet little note and tie a pretty bow around it. Yes, Alicia is that cool and thoughtful.
Just what’s inside the planner?
There are four main sections in the spiral bound, laminated book:
- Lesson Planning
- Plans and Ideas
- Record Keeping
The calendar section includes 2-page spreads for every month from September 2012 through June 2013. Large boxes and spaces for extra notes and monthly goals leave plenty of room for planning. Each month also includes a wonderful quote about education.
The lesson planning section includes a place to note your regular daily schedule and (36) 2-page spreads for writing the plans for six subjects. The boxes are big, so you can easily jot down lessons for more than one child.
The plans and ideas section gives you several pages for such things as library lists, wish lists, field trip ideas, projects to do and other general notes about school.
The record keeping section supplies an attendance record for up to four children, score recording sheets and book logs. I was super excited to find a sheet of fun stickers in the back of the book. Most of the stickers are motivational for your children’s work, while others are fun reminders to add to your monthly calendars.
Alicia has done a great job putting together a simple and concise planner that easily meets the needs of homeschool moms! Check it out!
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of Alicia’s homeschool planner in exchange for a fair and honest opinion. As always, my thoughts are strictly my own.
Posted by Cindy on July 27, 2012
Better lesson organization is one of my main goals for the upcoming school year. Having a high school student, middle school student and a kindergartener, I have no choice but to be more organized – or feel flustered and fall behind too often like I did last year when I was less prepared.
I have a newly organized planning notebook for myself and both of the big kids have their own weekly binder. Besides organization, the binders are going to help the kiddos work towards more work independence and responsibility. I’m so excited about these!
Middle and High School Binders
The pocket pouch holds a highlighter, pencils, erasers and a pencil sharpener. Only the necessities for those times when they take school somewhere other than the school room.
Left: Weekly Chore Chart and Typical Daily Schedule
Right: Weekly Assignment Sheet
These pages will be the main stop daily. The kids will make sure their daily chores have been completed and then move on to the lessons assigned. Using the typical weekly schedule in my notebook (below), I will jot down daily assignments a week at a time. Any reproducibles or worksheets that apply to particular lessons will be placed in the appropriate day’s pocket (again, below.) As an assignment is completed, the kids will highlight it on the lesson plan sheet and place completed work in a pocket at the back of the binder. At the end of the day (or week), I will grade what needs to be graded and file away the completed work.
We read a lot around here, but the necessary, assigned books don’t always get the attention they deserve. The kids either lose interest and don’t finish the books, or they drag on way too long. The reading log will help solve that problem. Not only will the kids jot down books they read for fun, but this chart allows us to set a due date and plan out how many pages or chapters will need to be read daily to meet the due date.
Service Project Log
The service project log won’t be in the middle school binder. I wanted Mahayla, the high schooler, to have a place to keep records of all the community service she does for the purpose of completing a transcript or portfolio as she plans for college in the next couple of years.
Grade Recording Sheet
I haven’t always kept grades, and I’m not promising I’ll go overboard this year. However, for better accountability, I’m planning to be better about keeping a grade book. I found this grade sheet from PrintableHomeschool.com.
Left: High School Transcript (Obviously, this won’t be in the middle school journal either.)
Right: College-Bound High School Requirements
The high school transcript and requirements sheets are simply there to keep Mahayla completely “in the know” about what she needs to accomplish and what she has already accomplished for a college-bound education. (I use HomeschooTranscripts.com to keep track of it all.)
Daily Assignment Pockets
There are six pocket dividers in the back of the book. One for each day of the week, and one for completed work. As I make lessons plans for the week ahead, I’ll put in any pull-out worksheets or reproducibles that I’m able and place them in the appropriate day’s pocket. For lessons that can’t be placed in the pockets, I’ll jot down page numbers for the kids so everyone knows exactly what work to do. Beside their desks, each of them have a crate that houses all their textbooks and workbooks, so they will always know where to find their work.
The things we do together – like Bible, for instance – we typically do at the very beginning of school or the very end. That way the individual work can be completed as independently as possible. That’s the goal this year for one of my sweet children…need mom less. I’m just sure these binders are going to help with independence (as well as organization.)
Eli won’t have a binder, but we will implement a chore board and workbox for him to begin teaching him some independence and responsibility.
His chore board is simply a set of preschool chore cards (from Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations) pinned to a small cork board. I will move the day’s particular chores to the top of the board and he will move them to the bottom once completed.
His workbox is just a big ol’ crate where I will place the supplies for his school day. We’ll explore the crate together to decide what he can do by himself and what we will work on together. As activities are completed, papers will be put in a special Eli spot and other supplies will be put away.
Mom’s Planning Binder
My pocket pouch holds a few pencils and a pencil sharpener so I don’t have to search the house for supplies when it’s time to plan.
Having an up-to-date calendar in my planning binder is of utmost importance! It helps me know how to schedule the coming days as I take into consideration things like appointments and field trips.
Left: Official Documents
Right: Curriculum Lists
The pocket divider on the left holds official documents – a copy of my letter to the board of education and anything else I deem important. Page protectors hold lists of each child’s curriculum (copied from my blog post.) I use the curriculum lists as reference for myself when planning and then file them away in end-of-the-year portfolios as a record of what curriculum was used.
Mahayla will be taking a chemistry lab on Mondays at co-op and trying to fit bookwork into T-W-Th. To make sure we cover everything, I jotted down pages that needed to be covered daily. We likely won’t stick to this year-at-a-glance plan perfectly, but having the lessons broken down into manageable bites will keep us on track to completion by the end of the year.
Friday Idea Lists
Fridays will be a little different than the rest of the week. On the first Friday of the month, we’ll go somewhere for a nature walk. The second Friday we’ll go on a field trip. The third Friday we’ll dedicate the day to art and artist study. And the fourth Friday we’ll head out for service projects. So that I’m not scrambling each Friday to figure out where we’re going or what we’re doing, I’ve created some idea lists for service projects (with contact numbers/emails), field trips and nature walks.
Left: Mahayla’s Typical Weekly Assignment Plan
Right: A Stack of Mahayla’s Lesson Plan Sheets to Fill Out Weekly and Place in Her Binder
Left: Caleb’s Typical Weekly Assignment Plan
Right: A Stack of Caleb’s Lesson Plan Sheets to Fill Out Weekly and Place in His Binder
Left: Eli’s Typical Weekly Assignment Plan
Right: A Stack of Eli’s Lesson Plan Sheets to Fill Out Weekly (I will keep this in my binder for my reference only and use it to fill up his workbox daily.)
Some of you have asked for a copy of my weekly lesson forms. I have included one of them as a Word doc that you can edit. It’s really nothing more than creating a table in Word and changing fonts and colors to make it pretty.
Behind the tabs, I have a section of:
Things I’ve collected about homeschooling high school in KY
Living literature book lists
Paper for jotting down notes
It feels SO good to be organized!!
Posted by Cindy on November 4, 2010
I promised this ages ago and it took a kick in the tail from Sprittibee to get me moving. Here’s our general weekly schedule. It’s just a sketch of what we try to do daily and weekly, but so many other things come up (like field trips, 4-H or orthodontist appts) that the schedule is very loose. Very loose.
We do most of our Bible, science and history studies together. You’ll notice I don’t have particular things like writing, art and music in the schedule this year. That’s because I’m using science and especially history lessons to cover those subjects this year. For example, at least once a week there is a writing assignment that goes along with the history learning – maybe a research report or historical fiction piece or project.
So, in short, just because it looks like each day’s lessons are rather light, there’s a lot more involved in the history and science subjects than meets the eye.
Since almost everyone asks…We’re TYPICALLY finished with school around lunchtime. That doesn’t include read-alouds, music lesson practice, nature walks, horse training and the like. Those are our more casual afternoon activities and aren’t usually “scheduled”. Not every afternoon is spent doing academic style things either. We plan most of our appointments and errands during the afternoon, so at least one afternoon a week is eaten up with these things.
When you live and school with the Charlotte Mason/Unit Study styles, a lot can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. My kids are by no means geniuses, but they are very academically capable without having to pour over schoolwork for hours and hours a day.
You can see what curriculum we’re using this year here.
**Editing to add: My children usually read before they go to bed at night, so reading is not typically part of the “school day”, even thought it’s part of our daily curriculum.
Posted by Cindy on May 14, 2008
I’ve been asked before if I keep all my children’s work from year to year. My answer – mercy, no! Here’s a peek into how I wrap up our school year.
Throughout the year, all of the children’s work goes into subject folders or notebooks. For example, when a math lesson is completed and checked, it gets filed in the math folder. All maps, worksheets and projects from our Around the World studies went into a folder for that study. All stories, newsletters, spelling tests, grammar sheets, etc were filed in the language arts notebook.
At the end of the year, we go through each folder and pull out 3-10 of the best samples for an end of the year portfolio. Each of the subjects is then put together in one folder that shows a sampling of our learning from the year. All other worksheets and such are pitched. Yep, thrown in the garbage! Gasp, you say? How can I get rid of all of it and not worry about having to prove our schooling? When I taught in the public school system, a similar system of “a few best pieces” was the practice for each child’s cumulative folder. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me! I couldn’t possibly keep each and every piece of work we do from year to year. I’d have crates stacked to the ceiling!
100+ of math from the year….
Turns into about 10 pages of math to keep…..
Along with the folder of sample work (math, writing, spelling, grammar, maps, etc.), I will keep ALL unit notebooks and lapbooks. These are things I do want to keep intact and on file from year to year. Why these? They represent the memories and fun of our homeschooling. Much effort and time was put into documenting our learning in these and, honestly, I want to look back (and have the kids look back) on these just like we might look back through a photo album.
This is Mahayla’s final “portfolio” for the year. It’s about 2 1/2 – 3″ high.
I also keep a folder full of art and any writing journals, field trip journals or nature journals that have been completed. (If these haven’t been filled in entirely, I’ll just let the kids continue using them next year.)
I also keep a small folder of awards, school pictures, program bulletins, ticket stubs and such – as well as the report card. This folder is almost like a scrapbook of achievements and events from the year.
Finally, I stack and bundle each child’s keepsakes and place them in a tub. My lesson plan book – which also includes the beginning of the year goal sheets, a list of curriculum used and any correspondence papers from the board of education – slides into the tub right alongside the bundles.
Here are both children’s stacks from this school year, with my lesson plan book and other important documents on top.
Now I have a nice set of memories from the year, as well as a solid bit of “proof” for homeschooling should I ever need it.
I’d love to see how you wrap up your year. Let me know if you post about it on your blog.
Posted by Cindy on April 22, 2007
The end of our school year is quickly approaching. It’s been a long, drawn out year for us – starting July 1st, taking a huge baby break and then starting up again. I think we’re down to 12 “official” days. We’ll continue some light, fun learning through the summer, but more on that in another post.
So many people ask me, “What do I need to keep for records of our school year?” So, I’m going to tell you what I keep. In KY, we are required to keep an attendance record and proof that we have taught the required subjects.
Each year, I keep my record of attendance, lesson plans, curriculum list, letter of intent, certified letter to the DPP receipt, any other legal correspondences, and narrative report cards in a 1″ three-ring binder. I keep the entire binder as part of my yearly records.
As you can see below, we keep everything we’ve done all year in various folders and notebooks – one for each subject. At the end of the school year, I go through most notebooks (or subjects) and pull out a sampling from the beginning of the year, middle of the year and end of the year. I only choose well-done work and try to choose things that show a good progression of skills from the beginning of the year to the end. The subjects I narrow down like this include Bible, math, handwriting/copywork, grammar, phonics, spelling, writing, reading lists, and art.
For science and history/geography, I keep all the work. We spend a lot of time putting together nice notebooks, lapbooks and timelines. They make great resources for us to go back through as we move on to other science topics and history eras. Not to mention, if the DPP ever shows up at my door, I would just love for him to see the fun we have learning as he looks through these!
After I’ve gathered the lesson plan book, the science and history things and the folder with a sampling of all other work, I add any co-op awards, school pictures, certificates or other important things to each child’s pile. In such a lovely and highly technical fashion, I rubber band each child’s pile and then file them away in a Rubbermaid tote! This tote is holding five years worth of records.
So there you have it. It’s a very simple system. I have proof if needed and a great reminder of each school year!