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!

10 comments:

  1. I hope the schedule works well for you. I'm still tweaking our schedules - getting ready for our 2 year of AO. My children were so disappointed to learn that we're taking the summer off and not schooling year 'round. They absolutely love AO! And I do, too. :)

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  2. Your latest post on organizing is a God Breeze! I've been mulling over methods to give my children more independence and responsibility in their studies next year. I only have two, but it can become wearisome when they need me for *everything*. I will try something similar to what you're describing here. (I'm on the AO Forum, too, and really enjoy your posts there.)

    Thanks so much and have a wonderful summer!

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  3. I have really appreciated this post too, thank you! I even managed to track down those dry-wipe pouches in the UK. They work really well. Ours is much more basic (we're just finishing up Year 1 with my eldest) but I can see that it is a system that will develop with us. I hope it works well for you this year. Yours is my most frequent go-to blog for implementing AO :)

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  4. This has worked awesomely! We are finishing term 1 with me on total bedrest, and we've kept up well. They really don't use the lists anymore, but we needed them in the beginning.

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  5. I blogged about how we categorize the work:
    http://pineywoodshs.blogspot.com/2013/10/categorizing-our-schoolwork.html

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  6. I really love this but could you share one of the lists in the pouches? I am trying wrap my head around how it all balances out and it eludes me. I can not see what is one the lists clearly. Doing YR10/11 for my senior might just be the end of me!

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    1. http://pineywoodshs.blogspot.com/2013/10/categorizing-our-schoolwork.html

      This post has the lists for Year 7, which is the red pouch in the picture. It's by far the longest of my lists.

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  7. I refer to your blog VERY ofetn for implementing AO lol This will be my first yr teaching yr 1 and 2. Thank you sooo much for breaking down all of your scheduling tasks and tricks!! Would you mind emailing me pic of your master you described, I cant see the pic very well....AND any ideas on a checklist type for students using workboxes?? :)
    my email is 3lilfrog86@gmail.com
    THANKS AGAIN!

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    1. Take a look at this post (http://pineywoodshs.blogspot.com/2013/10/categorizing-our-schoolwork.html) to see in detail how I set up a checklist. I would think that for students using workboxes this would work much the same way, but we don't really do workboxes so I couldn't say for sure.

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