Planning Your School Schedule

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Books: check!

Planner: check!

Calendar: check!

Something to write with: check!

You are off to a great start. Now, it’s time to begin planning your school schedule. Without warning, you come to a sudden and violent screeching halt. Your brain turns into a blob and no thoughts of how to even begin this process are coming to you. Does this sound familiar? Well, don’t worry, this post is to help you overcome being stuck and getting you back on the right track. I will give you some ideas on how I organize my week and please take what you can use and use it for your own schooling situation.

Look at your calendar Check to see when you are going to start and when you are going to finish. Ohio schools are in session for 180 days, so this will help to keep that in mind when you are planning. ¬†A rule of thumb for many homeschool families is to generally follow the local school district’s calendar, but you are not required to do that. Consider times you will want to off time for holidays such as Thanksgiving, or anything that you know is going to happen that you will not be schooling, such as the arrival of a baby. ūüôā

Take a big task and break it up into smaller tasks.¬†My suggestion is that once you have looked at your academic calendar and have the beginning and ending dates set, that you only plan for a week or two at a time and write it in pencil. Plans change, and the unexpected happens. Great opportunities arise, or your student buzzes through one topic and gets stuck in another area, someone gets sick, ¬†and you need to rearrange things, that’s OKAY! If you have only have one or two weeks planned you can rearrange your schedule easily.

Look at your curriculum¬†Perusing through one subject at a time, how many chapters, units, pages, are there for your child to complete the subject being studied? For the sake of keeping this simple, let’s say the math book has 360 pages, 2 pages of work will be completed each day to finish the book. (360 pages divided by 180 days). Do that for all your subjects and write each of those subjects in your planner.

Plan for co-ops and extra-curricular activities. If you know you are going to be gone to a co-op all day and no one is going to do any work before or after, don’t plan anything academic for that day. ¬†You can plan a four day school week, just keep in mind your student will need to double up on the work somewhere. So, instead of 2 pages of math per day, you add 2.5 pages on lighter school days.

Plan your time Consider what time you are going to begin your day and approximately how long it will take you to finish. At the beginning of the year things move slowly because everything is new.  But, as you get into the routine and repeat topics and routines, the time will decrease. The alphabet song that took 10 minutes to sing?  Later it will only take 2 minutes as your daughter learns the letters.

Okay, that’s enough planning for today! Take a break and enjoy the fact that you have just completed planning your school week. Way to go!

 

 

3 Great Homeschool Planners

August is quickly slipping away which means that school will soon begin. I don’t know about you, but I work more efficiently and feel better if I have a planner.

I would like to offer some tips with regards to planners. To save you money you can look for a planner that you can use from year to year. After you print off the pages place them in page protectors so that your planner doesn’t get food or drinks spilled on it. Use fine tipped dry erase markers to write assignments on so that you can erase at the end of the year and reuse for the next year. If you think all your hard work will be lost, then take pictures of each week’s work and create a file for future students. This also would provide additional documentation for your portfolio review should you choose to do it that way.

Organizing work assignments for your students will help them to know what is expected and what needs to be completed. So, with that in mind, investigate some of these websites that have school planners for you and also your student(s).

The¬†Homeschool Planner from Free Homeschool Deals has a planner that not only has lesson plans, but a place to write down appointments and meal planning. You just need to make sure you don’t ¬†lose your planner!

Homeschool Planet has an online planner that you can edit and also print off if you like. The online planner is nice because if you need to change things around because life got in the way, you can do that! The link is to a free trial, so there is no obligation to purchase it unless you like it.

Over at Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool she has so many options such as cover design, calendars and appointment keepers, goals, planning sheets, and more!) for you to print your own planner. There are also extra school helps such as co-op class scheduling, multiplication facts, grade trackers, and field trip reference forms. You choose the colors you want, and the fonts. It truly is a customized planner and it’s FREE!

Solar Eclipse Activities

The solar eclipse on August 21st will be here before you know it. NASA has a education section that is just for homeschool! ¬†NASA¬†There are family activities, lessons, downloadable pdf’s, videos, book suggestions, and edible science projects.

If you would like a solar eclipse guide AND a pair of glasses, Lowe’s is the place to go!

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Here are some more books for your astronomer: Solar Eclipse 2017; 

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The Big Eclipse Activity Book   

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Eddie’s Eclipse

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Boy Scouts of America has a DIY eclipse viewer that you can make from a shoe box.

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If you would like to create a visual for your future astronomer, here is a craft that you can create. I love this visual and used it in my Earth and Space Science class; your daughter will be able to manipulate the model of the sun, moon, and Earth to gain a better understanding of what occurs.  Not only can you make a solar eclipse, but all the phases of the moon and a lunar eclipse.  CLICK HERE

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Here is a video for your children to watch:  Solar Eclipse

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Be sure and take advantage of this event for your son to experience this rare phenomenon. Make sure you go over the safety issue of not looking directly at the sun during the eclipse.

Happy viewing!

~Lisa

 

Notebooking

What is Notebooking?

Essentially, notebooking is learning about a topic and then writing about it by means of a journal (notebook) page. It also includes some type of picture that is the focus of what is being studied. This can either be an image that is already on the page, or a space provided that the student can draw their own picture (or words that can be decorated). Download Flower Notebook Page. 

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What are the benefits to Notebooking?

  • Multi-age level- Every student can make a notebook page. Younger students can draw or color the page and you can write down what they are telling you about the topic. Older students can create pages independently.¬† You can use notebook pages when your family is learning a subject together such as science or listening to a book read aloud as in the case of a history topic or a novel. Each student has their own page and each writes what they have learned. The notebook pages can be modified to fit younger or older students, depending upon the needs of your children. As a further extension, each child can share what they drew and/or wrote with the family after everyone is finished with their notebook page. These can be saved and placed in a binder for documentation of the school year.¬†
  • Writing less- Perhaps you have a student who looks at a blank piece of paper and freezes on what to write. Maybe your son struggles with writing or does not have much to put down on paper. A notebook page is a way of helping him focus on the picture and write just about that topic.
  • Narrating- Instead of a worksheet, your daughter can draw a picture and write about what she is learning. This method synthesizes writing and knowledge to show what she has learned.
  • Summarizing- Notebook pages aid your son or daughter in taking information they have learned and condensing it into a few sentences or a paragraph.
  • Creating- For your daughter or son who loves to draw or doodle, this is perfect since s/he has an area to express themselves and their ideas instead of a blank area of a workbook page or a margin of notebook paper.¬†

What is included in a Notebook Page?

Here is where you can be creative! The page can be anything you choose, such as: 

  • a historical figure or event, a map, a battle, a timeline (social studies)
  • a scientific topic, terms (science)
  • vocabulary, a character from a book, literary elements (language arts)
  • a story problem, a formula, or a concept such as fractions ¬†(math)
  • scriptures, a poem, lyrics, a speech, a quote, or a dictation passage
  • something in nature such as: an animal or a plant
  • an artist or a piece of artwork

Here is an example of a notebook page that has a picture of a flower and its parts. Click to download page: Parts of Flower NBP

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What age student can do Notebooking?

That is the wonderful thing about notebooking pages; students of all ages can use them. From younger students who are learning the difference between about living and non-living things, to older students learning about photosynthesis, each pupil can use this format to further their studies. Everyone’s notebooking page will be unique since each student will write and draw what they have learned.

Is there a curriculum that use the notebook idea?

Notebooking Pages also has a free product sampler and if you like what you see, and I am sure you will, you can purchase a subscription. These pages can compliment what you are studying or can stand alone.

Apologia Science has notebooking pages for older and younger students. Click on the image to read more details.

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Two Great Books for Middle Schoolers

Yay! I finally have read some books that I can recommend to you for middle school/ junior high students.

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No wonder this book is a Caldecott winner! Weaving three stories into one wonderful tale,¬†Echo, written by Pam Munoz Ryan captures the reader’s attention from the start. It involves a magical harmonica and some amazing, self-sacrificing young people. It portrays different periods of time and the great injustice that was shown. But, it also has the theme of kindness and hope. Warning: your reader will not want to put this book down once they have begun. I have a confession to make; on many occasions I skip to the back of the book ¬†because the middle of the story drags, but I wasn’t even tempted to do so with this story. ūüôā

 

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This book isn’t a Caldecott winner, but it should be! Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams is a fabulous book that had me laughing throughout it. Grandpa was a WWII British Royal Air Force (RAF) Spitfire pilot and is living in his glory days. No longer does he recognize his family, but rather thinks of them as members of the RAF. ¬†Eventually, Grandpa is sent to Twilight Towers, a place for “unwanted old people” ¬†and Grandpa and Jack his grandson, realize that he must escape from the ominous and creepy institution.Themes of compassion, kindness, and self-sacrifice are throughout the book. I also appreciated that at the end of the book there are short descriptions about WWII events that Grandpa talks about so that your reader will have context to the story if s/he so chooses to read about them.