Have you been having a hard time trying to figure out how to keep track of your kids' schooling? What to keep, how to keep it, do you really need everything? It is hard to keep track of everything that your kids are learning, especially if you are a relaxed homeschooler.
I was at a Mary Hood speaking engagement and she mentioned just keeping a journal. Great idea! At first I was just putting it all in on my iPad in a lesson plan app. That wasn't working for me. By the time I got on my iPad to type it in I would get sidetracked and forget to put it in altogether. So, what did I do? I bought a one year small sized planner. There are monthly calendars and daily calendars. The daily calendars have plenty of space to write in all of the learning opportunities throughout our day. This planner only has 2 days per page. Some days I have to cram things in, but not usually. You can use even just a notebook and set it up how ever you like. I do need to add some sections to it I think, like book lists, field trips, etc.
Everyday during the day I have it sitting with a pencil right on my dining room table. I have to pretty much pass it no matter where I go in the house. If we are doing a few things in the school room then I will carry it in there with me. When I pass it I write down things that the kids have done since the last time I walked by it, or at least think if the kids have done anything else since I last wrote in the journal. In that minute that you have between helping one kid or the other write in what they are doing.
If the activity is something that they both have done I will just write it in. If it is something that only one child has done I will mark it with an initial. I also try to abbreviate things that are done a lot, for example, Mom read to D - MRTD. In the journal make sure you make a list of what the abbreviations mean.
I hope this has helped to organize you a little, or at least the thought of organizing. Remember, I am from a state that I do not need to test or turn in anything at the end of the year. This may not work exactly the way I use it for all of the homeschoolers out there, but it can be modified to your needs. This will also help those like me who don't turn in anything if some day I need to prove that my kids actually learned something.
On the side, I also keep a binder of actually work sheets that are completed.
For us, not every week has the same outline. Yet we usually try to run on the same weekly schedule.
After I am showered and we are all ready to start our day I go over a list of things that I would like to get done that day. I make a list on a dry erase board with the date on it in our school room. Some things we do together but most things I shuffle between the kids so they can learn what they want and need to learn at their own levels.
The length of learning/educational time depends on all of our moods, what each kid is learning, and what I feel like needs to get done. On another post I will fill you in on what each kid is learning and doing during their learning time.
As soon as P is finished with his list he checks his iPad to see if he has a missed Skype call from his friends and gets right on to Minecraft. He will then usually play on Minecraft and watch videos pretty much until he goes to sleep.
D usually takes forever doing her items on the list because she chooses to play around through out learning time. When she is done with the items on her list she does a list of many other things. She will play with dolls, play with me, watch shows, or play on her iPad.
After learning time I either do things that need to be done around the house that weren't done during learning time or I go hide in my office to mess around on my computer, sew, or try to organize it. That is if D isn't begging me to do something. Most of the time she will help me with what I am doing or follow me to my office and find something to make a mess with.
Tuesday is also a library day for us. We utilize two libraries. Our Tuesday library we usually only go to if a book needs to be returned or we are looking for a certain book. This library is small and we don't spend much time there. If we have to go the same day as grocery shopping we either just drop the item off or just spend about 15 minutes there. Otherwise we spend from a half hour to an hour at the library so we can all look around and D can play.
A couple times a month we meet up at a library. This library is larger than the library we visit on Tuesdays. There is a large area that the kids can play with puppets, puzzles and different toys. We also bring different games for the kids to play together. It sometimes gets a little loud, but since the children's section is separate from the adult section the librarians don't mind. We haven't been kicked out yet so it can't bother them too much. It is always a good time, the kids get to play and make friends and the mom's are able to have "mom" time and have adult conversations.
Once a month we usually go to a church that has a large gym to play in. The kids play ball or ride scooters and such while the moms are able to visit with each other. After gym time there is a more structured lesson and craft.
About once a month when weather is cold we meet our group at a McDonald's that has a play area that all the kids can run around and burn energy.
When the weather is warm we usually meet our group at a park about every week.
But like I said, not every week follows this schedule. Our weeks are always changing because many different things, laziness, sickness, going out of town, field trips, etc. Even though we don't stick to a strict schedule the kids are still learning. Everyday life teaches us many things even though we don't realize it. Just like the saying, you learn something new everyday. If as adults we are learning something new everyday, how many new things a day do you think a child learns? If you are feeling like you aren't getting any "school" done, don't sweat it. Your kids will turn out just fine, just think of why you homeschool rather than send your kids to public school. Time with your kids is precious, enjoy your time with them.
Just like a lot of kids around the world, my kids just love Minecraft. We have Minecraft for the computer, on our iPads, and the Xbox 360. For P life pretty much revolves around Minecraft. D loves playing and watching videos of Minecraft as well. I will play along with the kids as well, and recently I have started my own survival world on my computer. The kids prefer creative and I prefer survival.
There are many good things about Minecraft. I love that the kids use their imaginations to create different structures and statues. P plays with a couple of his friends on a server that the husband has made for them. On their server you will find mini games, mazes, a dragon statue, and many other things. It is amazing what these kids can put together with blocks. There are also other servers that P playes on that he plays games with people from around the world. Some of the games use strategy and alliances to help you survive. To communicate on Minecraft the players need to type to each other. This aspect has really helped P become more confident in his spelling. He is the type that wants you to write or type everything for him. Yet now he tries to spell things on his own, unless he is in a hurry to answer a game similar to pictionary. P and his friends talk to each other over Skype to figure what games they are going to play together or decided what they are going to build on their server. While talking on Skype the kids help each other spell different things for signs or controlls.
Take a step into the life of Auer (pronounced like our) homeschool. We are a family that likes to learn through life experiences. We would like to share our experiences so maybe we can make a difference in the lives of others. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook to get the smaller activities that go on that don't always make it to the blog.
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