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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!

Denim Bag Sewing Project

Looking for a sewing project that your children can do? How about a carrying bag? Recently I got out my sewing machine and made a bag out of a pair of thrift store jeans that I got for a quarter. I kid you not! I don’t know about you, but I am drawn to purchasing bags in which I can carry my school books, library books and and supplies.

I wanted a bag that I could put on the floor and not worry about if the fabric would get dirty. Jeans are the perfect material to use since the material is already pre washed and can take some rough handling. Best of all, this is a project that beginning seamstresses can make!

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Instructions for Denim Bag (The picture above is not the bag I made, but it was so cute I had to feature it!)

Materials Needed: 

1 pair of jeans (the larger the jeans, the bigger the bag)

scissors

sewing machine and thread of any color

Instructions:

  1. Cut the pair of jeans straight across at the beginning of the legs- under the zipper.¬†Save the legs (you’ll need them later). Cut at least half an inch below the bottoms of the back pockets and below the zipper, for seam allowance. Jeans may be cut a little wider in back than in front, so line up the waistlines in the front and back before trimming.
  2. Turn the jeans inside out. Sew across the bottom to shut the leg openings. Also sew up the sides of the divider panel to secure it. Offset thick seams in the center, so they’re not right on top of each other. Sew a 5/8 inch seam allowance from the edge of the fabric.
  3. Cut a strip at least 2 inches wide and add extra for a seam allowance down the length of one of the legs to make the strap. The outside of the leg is usually a little bit straighter. Before cutting, hold the purse up to you and determine how long you will need the strip to be for your strap. Cut the strip that length plus an additional 1inch to allow seam allowances to attach to your bag.
  4. Turn the strip inside-out, so that you are seeing the wrong side of the fabric. Sew it closed along one side, trying to keep the seam as straight as possible.
  5. Turn the strip right side out and sew the handle to the inside of your bag near the hips of the jeans.  Reinforce the stitches since this is what will take the weight of what you carry inside your bag.
  6. Accessorize bag if you like. I added a velcro strip inside to keep the bag closed.

* I had a bit of help with directions from wikihow

There are so many different types of purses you can make that I wanted to refer you to a website that has 25 different types of purses and bags, practically one for each day of the month! To see all of the wonderful designs CLICK HERE or on the picture.

25-Recyled-Denim-Jean-Bags-and-Purse-Tutorials

Happy Sewing!  ~Lisa

 

Homeschool Scheduling

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-3-12-36-amIt’s already November and my intentions of keeping ahead of my lesson plans has gone by the wayside. For some reason, life just gets in the way! So, today I am going to concentrate on getting my school schedule back in order. Would you want to do this with me? Encouragement nets results, I think. ¬†It also provides an impetus for me and holds me accountable to do this since I am writing about it. ūüôā

Look at my goals. Looking at where I am currently in teaching my classes and where I need to be by winter break helps keep me on the path of forward progress. Fortunately, I am right on with two of my classes and will be back on track this week with my other class. Setting realistic goals is one of the keys to success. If I set too many then I become discouraged and feel like I am not being successful. Do you do this too? I am planning on doing two or three things on my “To Do List” today instead of five or six like I normally do. ¬†I’ll see how that goes! I can be goofy when it comes to writing a list. I put things on my list after I have done them just so I can cross them off!

How are things with your homeschool? If you are falling behind, stop and evaluate as to why this has occurred. Is it because of your schedule? Look at your school day and time you are teaching subjects. Sometimes it helps just to rearrange things. For instance, the boys and I would work on a harder subject first and mix in an easier subject afterwards. This helped to move things along instead of being bogged down, plus it gave our brains a break.

Evaluate Outside Activities.¬†¬†Right now I am evaluating ¬†changes to my schedule as I have made a commitment to do something once a week that I didn’t anticipate when I began school this year. Many a time when I was homeschooling I took on more than I should have in regards to our commitments. Are you doing a lot of running around like I was? Is school becoming a lower priority? Stop and evaluate before the new year begins. Do you have time for these other activities? Eliminate them as much as possible if you are putting them ahead of school. Of course, if you made a commitment to teach a co-op class or volunteer, finish it, but consider what you are doing¬†and what adjustments need to be made.¬†Sometimes I needed to scale back and get everything at home back in order before we could do something extra. I wasn’t always successful in doing this, thus causing undue stress, which was not a good thing!

Prepare for the School Day.¬†I get up early every day to review what topics¬†I am teaching. This means reading through lessons and preparing anything I need to teach. I also look at what else I have to do:¬†appointments, housework, grocery shopping, etc. I feel like when I have a mental picture of what I am doing for the day I am better prepared. If getting up early doesn’t work for you, looking at your school day the night before may serve you better.

Write lesson plans.¬†As long as I have all of my books and papers out I might was well dig into lessons before I put everything away. The winter break¬†will soon be here, so I am going to write my lessons to have a plan in place. I don’t like to write them out too far in advance because they may need to change. My advice is not to plan beyond two weeks because you will become frustrated and anxious if you have to change. Teaching a new concept takes time! It requires time to introduce it, time to practice what has been taught, and time to master that new idea. Oftentimes, new topics of study take more time than you originally planned for, similar to house improvement projects… ¬†lol If you plan for extra time and don’t need it, then it’s a bonus and you can teach that subject you never seem to get around to doing, such as health or art. Or, if you have everything finished, cut loose and have fun!

Speaking of lesson plans, these can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be in order to teach. I have written plans to just have the title of a book we were reading, or writing pages of the textbook the boys were studying that day. My plans have also been as elaborate as writing the steps for a science lab. Remember, they are a guide for teaching.

Don’t you love the picture at the top of the post? I would love to be there right now; I could think more clearly and evaluate my school schedule, or write my lesson plans at the end of the trail. (probably not!) Enjoy your week.

~Lisa