Tag Archives: planning

Last Week of Summer Break

This week is our last week of summer break. On the 15th, when the schools in our area begin their first day, we’ll start off on our first “official” day too. While I had great intentions on finishing up my lesson plans early in the season, we are now just a week away, and I still have to make those plans. I have almost all of the books we’re going to use — just not the plans to go with them.

But, I reassured myself, that’s okay — I still have this week to pull everything together.But, like many plans, mine is in need of some revisions, as it’s  turning out to be a week busy with activities.

Monday: A few necessary errands in the morning.  In the afternoon, my daughter Cassie will join a homeschool middle school volleyball team for practice, her first team sport since she was  eight years old. After I drop her off, I’ll then take my oldest son John to his first piano lesson — as the teacher! He’ll be working with two young students who haven’t played much before. Maybe I can do some planning in the evening.

Tuesday: Planning in the morning; violin lessons for the girls around noon; community service for John in the afternoon.

Wednesday: Monthly visit to the nursing home in the morning; piano lessons for John and Luke in the afternoon; Lesson planning?

Thursday: Meeting with friends in the morning – afternoon at a state park to swim and picnic; Lesson planning…?

Friday: Last opportunity to use our tickets from the library reading program for a local water park. The park is about an hour away, so we want to make a day of it. Hmmm….lesson planning…

I have to admit, I am not a homeschooling mom who has it all together. As I look at this schedule, I’m really glad to have at least some time on Monday and Tuesday to put our first few weeks of school in writing.

But while homeschooling works well for those who are organized, structured, and totally prepared, it also works well for those of us who aren’t.  Even if I don’t have the whole year planned, I can still mix my teaching style with my children’s learning styles and create an educational atmosphere where they continue to grow. And isn’t that one of the reasons we homeschool in the first place?

 

Photo by mensatic

Ending the School Year?

Mid-May seems to be the time of year when a lot of homeschoolers are finishing up the school year and looking ahead to next fall. Our co-op classes finished last week, and because we had company visiting as well, we took the week off of schoolwork. And that’s how our year has gone; when things come up or company comes to visit, we take time off. And it’s during those times we all think, “Homeschooling’s great!”

But then, we have yet to finish up our school year in May. Or June. We usually keep schooling through July, taking time off here and there to travel or spend time with family and friends. And though the kids are moaning a little, I’m still thinking, “Homeschooling’s great!”

Sure, we’re still working on math, reading, and grammar through the summer, but as we do, they’re keeping their minds sharp and prepared to learn. They also have things to work on in the afternoons when it’s too hot to stay outside; instead of playing video games or watching t.v., we’re doing science and history projects. And simple summertime activities, such as planting tomatoes or catching fireflies, take on a whole new meaning when paired with unit studies in botany and entomology.

So even though our school year isn’t ending quite yet, we’ll still enjoy the lazy days of summer. We’ll get up a little later, sip on lemonade during lessons, and play on the slip and slide during break time. We’ll work on house projects and go swimming during free time.  We’ll spend more time hanging out with friends and visiting with family. And when September comes, we’ll be ready to get back to a regular schedule and co-op classes. And I know we’ll all be thinking, “Homeschooling’s great!” 🙂

 

 

Photo by PenyWise

School Time

Every family has a different daily rhythm, depending in part on parents’ work schedules, obligations, and outside activities. While I have some friends whose children begin their schoolwork late in the afternoon and go into the evening, my children seems to get the most completed the earlier we start in the day. If I get them up and they start right to work, the younger ones can be finished by lunchtime, and John just has to work through the early afternoon, leaving time for chores, lessons, errands, and play.

That’s a good plan for us — if we followed it. But often, something deters us. Or rather, something deters me.

Sometimes, if my husband has to leave for work early before the children wake up, I find myself enjoying the quiet a little too much. I wait to get them up, using the time to catch up on projects or reading. It’s a productive morning for me, but they get started later, and the school day seems to go on and on. And  if we have errands to do in the afternoon, the kids might still be working on assignments in the evening as well.

I’m thankful for caller ID, but sometimes it can make things more difficult. Though I can avoid morning calls from telemarketers, I also know when family or friends are calling in. Instead of letting the machine pick up the call, I’ll usually try to answer it; after all, it might be an emergency.

Another big distraction for me is the computer. While it’s an invaluable tool for researching assignments, finding worksheets and resources, and connecting with other homeschooling families, “school hours” is not the right time to do it. Though I plan to just “find an activity page” for my first grader, I usually end up checking email and looking around for other resources — in short, spending much longer than I intended, and losing the learning momentum that we started with earlier that day.

The answer? Set a time for school and stick with it. Wake up the children on time, or give them each an alarm clock to set so they’ll wake themselves up on time. Put a message on the phone saying that I’ll be available to take calls after a certain time in the afternoon. Leave the computer off until after all the schoolwork is done; if I need to look something up or find a worksheet, I can make a note of it and do it later in the afternoon. In short, reserve “school time” for school.

How do you keep yourself from getting distracted?

Photo by jppi

Saving With Used Curriculum

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on plans for the school year in the fall — deciding what curriculum to use and figuring out the cost. I’m finding that as the children grow older, the cost of the books we need to buy goes up as well. Add that to the cost of regular school supplies, such as paper, pens, and notebooks, along with the cost of any extra classes such as co-op classes, sports clubs, or fine art instruction, and it’s easy to see that homeschooling can be expensive.

But there are ways to save, especially where curriculum is concerned. Used curriculum can often be found at a fraction of the retail price, even the most recent editions. If you are looking for used curriculum, here are a few places you can start:

Yahoo Groups: There are a number of yahoo groups that you can join where people post their used curriculum for sale. Once you contact the seller, the two of you work out payment and shipping. Go to Yahoo Groups and check out BobJonesCurriculumUsed_Homeschooling_Curriculum, ChristianCurriculum, All-Wholesome-BooksUsedHomeschoolBooks, and TheHomeschoolMomUsedCurriculum.

eBay: If you enjoy using eBay, look for the curriculum you need in the listings there. If you don’t like the auction-style format (it can become a little nerve-wracking sometimes), check to see if someone has listed the books as Buy It Now.

Used Curriculum Sites: You might find what you’re looking for by searching a used homeschooling curriculum site. Visit HomeschoolClassifieds, VegSource, and The Book Cover.

CraigsList: Often homeschoolers will list their curriculum on CraigsList.com. Click on the link for the city nearest you, look under the “For Sale” column, and click on “Books”. You can scroll through the list or do a search for the particular book you’re looking for. Remember to use caution when purchasing items from CraigsList, and meet the seller at a public location.

If you aren’t able to find what you’re looking for online, ask around to find out where homeschoolers in your area sell used books. Do they post it on an email loop, or is there a used book sale you can attend? You might even be able to simply borrow the books you need from someone who won’t be using them this year.

It is possible to homeschool on a budget, and buying used curriculum can help. For many homeschoolers, finding that good deal is all part of the adventure.

Time Management Strategies Part II

h 039With all the busyness of life recently, I haven’t spent as much time reading as I should. It seems a little ironic that I’m too busy to read about time management. 🙂

However, I have read through the planning chapter of The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management by Hyrum W. Smith. Like the chapters before it, I have found this chapter to be very helpful as I try to get my days more under control. In it, the author provides a sample page from the Franklin Planner, the planning tool he helped create. He describes how he uses the daily pages to keep track of appointments, phone calls, and anything else he needs to remember.

Although I’d love to purchase that planner, it’s really not in our budget at this time, so I decided to make my own planner pages on the computer and make copies for my notebook. As I was doing so, my 13-year-old son came in and said, “Mom, I have so much homework to do for co-op.”

“What do you have to do?” I asked. He answered me with a long list of things he had to finish for his science and geography classes. He also had some scout projects that needed to be completed. That’s when I realized that he needed some planning pages too.

I pulled out some extra copies I had made and sat him down. “Okay,” I began, “this is where you list all the things you have to do. When you’re finished, bring it back to me, and I’ll show you how to prioritize them.” Within fifteen minutes, he had a written list with every assignment and a number by each one, indicating the order in which they needed to be accomplished. Then he got to work.

How easy that was to show him, and what a difference it made! Instead of scattered thoughts of having this and that to do, he had a concrete plan of what needed to be done and how he was going to do it. The day went smoothly, and he finished everything on time.

Having a plan really does work — for all ages!