Friday, June 7, 2013

Organizing Our Homeschool

Last school year we implemented a revised scheduling system that was a bit more complicated than what we had done in the past, so that I could manage work for three kids (plus a roamer) and give them some independence and flexibility. 

This year I wanted to tweak this a bit to improve some aspects that were time consuming.  I'll have four needing a schedule, although only three will be doing an official Ambleside Online year.

Our schedule has two parts:  the master schedule and the child's weekly sheet.

The master schedule for each child is a chart (like this one for Year 2) that shows every assignment for every week for the 12-week term.  I print this out and keep it in my binder where I keep everyone's schedule.  I do edit it first to reflect our own preferences and to add other items I want to track.  I sorted the work into somewhat arbitrary categories so that each category has a fairly even work load for the week.  This becomes important in the child's weekly sheet.  I also put the memory work for the term at the end so I'll have the passages handy when needed each day.

The child's weekly sheet has two parts.  One is a list of every book (or weekly work type) for the term.  These are sorted into the categories I created when I edited the master chart. One is a list of all the daily work plus the list of categories.  The daily list has a line separating it into two parts--above the line the tasks must be complete before the child can eat lunch!  Below the line the tasks must be complete before any free time is to be had.  I let the kids pick icons to designate the various categories, so the category title on the daily list will show a picture that matches the picture next to all the books/resources in that category over on the weekly list.  This sheet is inserted in a dry erase pouch to which I added magnet tape to hang it on the freezer.  Each pouch has its own pen, even!

My part of all this is to update the child's booklist at the beginning of the week, crossing off the books that are not scheduled for that upcoming week.  Each day, then, the child has to work down the daily list, doing all the daily activities and choosing one book/resource from each category.  When an item is completed, it is crossed off the daily list and, if it was an item from the weekly list, that book/resource is crossed off over there too.  This allows the students to select their own work for the day but keeps their workload balanced throughout the week.

We have not yet tried this at all, but since it's very similar to the system we used last year, I have confidence that it will work smoothly.  If not, I'll let you know!

Organizing Our Household

I've posted before about how we organize our chores, more or less.  As summer approached I determined to get more serious about organizing our meals (with which the children take turns) and along with that our shopping.  Also, I needed to have a way to keep track of extra chores needing to be done.

Our Household Organizer
The easy part of this is the orange-bordered sleeve with the dry erase marker on the top.  I bought five sleeves like that to use for our school schedule (another post on that to follow) and only needed four.  Inside the sleeve are five sheets, one sheet for each of our zone chore lists.  (The zones are loosely based on Fly Lady's cleaning system.)  When someone needs something extra to do, they can now come look at the list for the zone for that week (which will be the one displayed), choose a chore and do it, and come back and cross that chore off the list.  Once a week I'll clean the sleeve and move the new zone sheet to the front.

The rest of the freezer front comprises my food system.  lol  I took a large sheet of paper and drew boxes for each day of the week.  I had already organized our most-used recipes into categories, enough categories to last for six days of the week (assuming the seventh will have leftovers).  I now wrote those recipe titles on notecards, a different color card for each category.  Those are what you see clipped around the top and left side of the days of the week poster.  Each child has a separate magnet to use. 

Each week, each child selects a recipe from the clips and attaches it with a magnet to a free day on the poster.  Only one recipe of each color may be selected each week.  At the end of the week, all the recipes used that week will go in the Out of Play envelope shown on the left.  Those are not available to be selected until put back into the clips in a few weeks.

Children may also select a recipe for *next* week, following the same rules.  They may not select any further in advance than that.  It's easy to see the color of next week's selection peeking out from behind this week's card for each child, so that makes checking categories pretty simple.

Below all of that, I have a list of lunch, snack, and breakfast ideas.  The lunch list has two columns: one for "bread" alternatives and one for toppings.  That list, plus our dinner list, allowed me to make a "permanent" shopping list because I knew more or less what we'd be eating each week.

Having all this lined out should make life a bit simpler.  I expect the kids to be taking charge of more of this work this summer and fall, and so I needed to set parameters and provide some structure that wasn't as necessary when I was able to just wing it myself.