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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hip Homeschool Mom's Hip Homeschool Hop!


Hi again!  I guess it's blog sharing today because I was also invited to share 3 of my most popular posts on Hip Homeschool Mom's website!  Check them out:  #91, 92, and 93 here.  So much fun!

And if you are a homeschool teacher, or thinking about becoming one someday, this is another awesome resource.



In Christ,

Suzy

Time-Warp Wife Titus 2sDays Link Up!


Hey all!  I joined up with Time-Warp Wife today for her Titus 2sday Link-Up Party
and I wanted to let you know about it so you can check out her absolutely wonderful, fantabulous blog!  Her posts are full of words of godly wisdom for practical, every day life.

To get to her blog, you can either click on the blue blog title above or her Time-Warp Wife button on the right side of my home page below.

I added one of my most popular posts (it was so hard to choose which one to share!).  It's #129.  You have to scroll down a bit!

I hope you are richly blessed today by the treasures you find on her blog.  I know I have been.

In Christ,

Suzy


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Independent Homeschool Student Weekly Planner

God's Words:
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
~Proverbs 16:3

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
~Psalm 20:4

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
~Jeremiah 29:11


Just as a head's up, this post pertains to homeschooling.  So if you don't homeschool, I suppose this post won't interest you much...  Sorry! But stay tuned for future posts that might actually apply to your life.


Two school years ago, after much frustration with my hopeless search of finding a homeschool planner that works for my family, I finally gave up and created my own.  And since it is the new year and I assume we all are in need of a fresh start at organization, I thought I would share my planner on my blog, in case you might be able to benefit from using it for your homeschool.

The planner I created is specifically designed to be used by independent homeschool students.  However, if your child(ren) aren't independent learners yet, I suppose the planner could be adapted to be used as the teacher's weekly planner.  That would just take a little tweaking.  Either way, I hope you can make it work for you and your student(s).


What is this independent learning, you say?  Would that mean less school time involvement required of mom (and dad)?  Well, yes, yes it does.  Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?  Imagine getting more housework done during the day, instead of it piling up all week long because you're already too busy personally teaching all the school lessons.


Getting my children to eventually be independent learners in their schoolwork has always been one of my goals of homeschooling.  They will definitely need to be able to study and work on their own once they're in high school and college, so why not get an early start in training them to do so?


Once my eldest child started 6th grade, I felt it was time to get him used to completing most of his individual assignments independently.  And my then 6th grader is now an 8th grader, with his 7th and 5th grade sisters not far behind him, who are both also doing mostly independent work.  We do a few subjects with all my children together, such as Bible, history, science, health, and geography.  Wow, I guess that's more than a few.  Anyway, I wanted my middle-schoolers to have an organized, easy-to-use student planner that would help them be more independent with all their individual studies.  And free up my time to actually get most of my housework done each day.  Whoo-hoo!  Never thought I'd be so happy about that...

Here is what the independent student weekly planner page looks like:



There are check mark boxes, which the student checks off himself when finished with each assignment, so that Mom can easily see what has already been done (or not done) and also so that the student can quickly see which assignments need to be done next.

The first table, "My Daily Assignments", includes the assignments that must get done each day, such as Bible memory work, reading, and music practice.

What I love most about this student planner is the second table, "My Weekly Assignments", which lists all the subjects that the student can work on whenever he chooses, as long as he gets all assignments done by a certain time at the end of each week.  Our family rule is that you must get all independent work done by 3:00PM each Friday or you will lose all "screen time" for the entire weekend. I don't even have to tell you that we've never had anyone break that rule.

So for example, one week he might want to do all his math lessons in 2 days, with none to do for the remainder of the week.  Or all his grammar assignments in one day.  You see, it's up to the student, which will prepare him for the independent study necessary in college.  Mom's not helping out with college work.  Sorry, kiddos.  You're on your own by then.

The third table, "My Weekly Chores", lists that child's chores, when they need to be done, and check mark boxes for each day of the week.

The last table, "My Weekly Planned Activities", is like a calendar showing the child what day their special activities are on.  It's especially helpful at the beginning of each semester or season whenever a new sport or class starts, so they won't have to keep asking mom, "What day is football practice again?"

Now remember, we teachers might meticulously write out our plans for each day, each week.  But one of the most important lessons I've learned as a homeschool mom is to be flexible.  Because life happens.  God just may well have a different plan in mind for your family that day or week.  As it says in Scripture:

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
~Proverbs 19:21

You or a child might come down with an illness.  Dad might decide to work from home for the day (no school work's getting done when fun Daddy's home!).  An impromptu field trip, visit with friends, or a last-minute getaway vacation might present itself.  And there goes that week's schedule!

That's when the pencil and eraser come in handy.  Use it.  Embrace it. Flexibility is one of the best benefits of homeschooling.  So don't fill out the planner like you're chiseling in stone.  I advise only filling out 2 weeks or so at a time.  That way you won't have to erase a whole lot, because what homeschool family is going to choose a day's worth of schoolwork over a spontaneous visit to a friend's house if the opportunity arises?  Not this homeschool family!

There are 2 possible ways you can use this planner:

  1. Click on the link below which will take you to Google Drive where this document is absolutely free for the public to use.  At the top of the web page there are several different options.  If you click on the "printer icon" you'll be able to print the document and fill in the blanks using pencil or pen (pencil is always, always, always preferred because you'll often need to erase and change assignments).  This is the more time-consuming method of using my planner pages because you will have to fill in all the necessary blanks each and every week.

  1. The more efficient and personalized method:  First, you will need to have Microsoft Word (or another word processor software).  Next, click on the link below which will take you to Google Drive.  Then click on the "download icon" at the top of the web page, which lets you to save the document to your computer.  Once you open the document on your word processor, make sure to "Enable Editing", which will allow you to type in information and revise the template however you want to suit your child's needs.  You can add the student's name and grade to the top, which will save you lots of penciling in each week.  Also, you can type in all of your child's independent subjects and daily assignments into the table.  Then each week when writing down your child's assigned schoolwork, you will only have to fill in the assignments for that week, saving yourself lots of time.

If you don't have word processor software on your computer, no worries!  You can simply click on the "down arrow" at the top of the web page, which will give you several more ways to use the document with "Connected Apps". So, for example, if you already have a Google Docs account, then you can open the document with Google Docs, which is basically a free online word processor.  It may not have all the bells and whistles of Microsoft Word, but it works great and it's free.  Gotta love free!


I also designed a two-to-a-page independent homeschool student weekly planner to use when it's not necessary to have the child's weekly chores and extracurricular activities listed down each week.  This planning page saves ink and paper and can be simply cut in half to make two separate planner pages.

Once again, you can click on the link below to access this free template on Google Drive and follow the same steps listed above in order to use it.


Please let me know in the Comments section below if you find my planner pages helpful in your homeschool or if you have trouble downloading or using them with your word processor.  And I'll see what I can do to make any necessary adjustments.  Thank you!

May God richly bless the remainder of your school year with peaceful, happy learning and growing healthy, loving relationships!

In Christ,

Suzy