Quickly Schedule Your Homeschool- Three Easy How To Steps

You have your books, curriculum materials or plan of instruction  and the dates to submit quarterly reports.  Now what?

Grab a textbook. Look at the table of contents. What do you see? Lots of chapters or lessons. Scheduling your home school year is not as hard as it seems.

Find the last chapter or lesson  of the book. What chapter or lesson  number  is it? Let’s say there are 112 Grammar and Writing lesson.

Simply divide the chapter or lesson number by four. In our example that means 112 divided by four equals 28.  This means that in order to complete the textbook in one school year you must complete 28 chapters or lessons per quarter.

In order to know how many lessons to do per week you must first know how many days a week you plan to homeschool. Some families  educate five days a week and others choose a four day week.  Divide the chapter or lessons per quarter by the number of school days per week.

paper-606649_1280

In our example, dividing 28 lessons per quarter by 5  days a week = 5.6 lessons a week. If you will hold classes four days a week, your numbers will be different. Divide 28 lessons per quarter by 4 days a week  =  7 lessons a week.

Remember you control your curriculum. This means you can assign as much or as little per day as you need to to complete the curriculum within the school year. Make the adjustments you need.

Don’t be a slave to your curriculum. Unexpected relatives show up  and unplanned opportunities to do something that your family views as important do happen. To accommodate life’s little interruptions  we have doubled up on lessons or complete lessons on a non-scheduled school day.

To Schedule Your Home School quickly:

  1. Determine the total number of chapters or lessons  in the book.
  2. Divide the total number of chapters or lessons by four. 
  3. Divide the chapter or lessons per quarter by the number of school days per week.
Posted in Homeschooling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to Make Better Curriculum Choices: What You Need to Know

You control your time and you control your curriculum. But before you can control your curriculum,  you  first have to pick your curriculum.

How do you pick your curriculum when there’s so much to choose from? It seems overwhelming, doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t have to be.  Once you realize a few simple things, the pressure to choose the right curriculum will be reduced.

There are three things you should know when picking your curriculum.

  1. The first thing you must know it that it’s your choice. Just like you made the choice to home school and choose how you control your time, you get to choose the curriculum you want to use. The New York State regulations will only tell you which subjects to teach. This means that you have the freedom to use whatever you like to teach the required subjects. If you want to use library books, you can. Maybe you prefer to use free or paid online websites. Perhaps you choose to use textbooks or unit studies. Or maybe you prefer to use all three. The beauty with homeschooling is that you can use whatever works for you and your family.
  2. 2015-08-12_23.24.19You control the curriculum. This means that you don’t have to use the whole curriculum. You can use different portions of the curriculum simply by stating that fact on  the Individualize Homeschool Instruction Plan (IHIP). Controlling the curriculum also means that you can use the curriculum the way you want to use it. For example, one year one of my daughters (third grade), was determined to use a math book that was two years beyond her grade level.  The publisher’s directions indicated that one lesson should be done a day. Instead of discouraging her I looked at the table of contents of the textbook and decided to only cover half of the book for the year.  Instead of doing one lesson a day, we did a half of a lesson a day. This allowed us to go at a pace that challenged her but not overwhelm her.
  3. If the curriculum you choose doesn’t work for you, you can choose something else. Let’s say you purchased Curriculum X. You try it and your child hates it. No matter how you tweaked the curriculum to make it work for your child you realize you should have chosen something else. Well instead of plodding through the rest of the curriulum, search for something else. Before you choose somthing else determine why Curriculum X doesn’t work.  Maybe it was too much busy work, or it didn’t have enough drill work. or maybe it had too much drill work and your child likes to learn something new every day. Or maybe Curriculum X is geared to a visual learner and your child learns best by listening. The more you can determine why it didn’t work, the better choice you will make. Just make note on the next quarterly report of the change in curriculum.  If you need to purchase something else, know that you can get some of your money back by selling Curriculum X to someone else.
Posted in Homeschooling | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Quickly Plan Your Home School Year

So now that you’ve submitted your Letter of Intent  to home school in New York and you’re quaking in your shoes, take a deep breath and relax so we can plan out your upcoming school year.

As a homeschooler you have many options. Don’t let the options overwhelm you. You can choose to follow the schedule of your local school district if you want but you don’t have to. Remember as homeschoolers you have access to seven days a week and twenty-four hour a day to choose from. In New York State you are required to have the substantial equivalent of 180 days and 900 (1st – 6th grade) or 990 (7th-12th grade)  cumulative hours of instruction  per year.

First decide the beginning and ending dates of our school year

Since the school year officially begins July 1st and ends June 30th, you can educate twelve, eleven, ten or nine months a year. The longer the school year, the less hours per day will need to be completed to obtain the required cumulative hours of instruction.

Next, determine how many days per week you will have class

Just because the local school district has school Monday through Friday doesn’t mean that you have to do the same thing. Some families choose to home school four days a week. Some families homeschool on Saturday, for a six day school week. Others take off a day during the week and substitute it for a day during the weekend. The choice is yours. For many years my girls had African Dance class every Saturday which counted for their physical education.

day-planner-828611_1280N

Schedule your time off

You want to take time off, then take it. As long as you meet the regulation guidelines (equivalent to 180 days and cumulative hours) you are safe.  In addition to  regular holidays, plan your year around your family commitments. For instance one year when I was homeschooling and pregnant, I scheduled time off around the birth of our child. This enabled our family to enjoy the new addition to our family and gave me the need time to adjust to being a new mom again.

Remember you are under no obligation to follow the local school’s schedule. If you don’t want to take winter recess or spring break you don’t have to. If you want to take these breaks you don’t have to them schedule when the local school does. If you have an unexpected interruption, like a family member needing surgery, you can take a few days off and reschedule your classes at another time. Some families choose to educate six weeks on then take a week off year round. Remember, you are completely in charge of your time.  It is totally up to you.

Determine the amount of time to homeschool per day

One of the beauties of homes schooling is that we can usually accomplish more in less time.  It is possible to finish a school day in three to five hours depending on your child’s educational level. Don’t be in bondage to the numbers presented below. They are a guide line for scheduling purposes only. Individual results vary and can be adjusted on any given day. This means you are not confined to class times and ringing bells between class. If you need to spend more time in math on a particular day, then do it. What  do you do with your next scheduled class? Adjust the time to compensate for the difference or schedule the work for another time. The choice is yours. It is your home school.

clock-773307_1280ControlTime

How to determine the amount of time needed to homeschool per day:

  1. Take the number of hours per year and divide by the number of months you will home school per year to find the number of hours per month.
  2. Divide the number of hours per month by four to find the number of hours per week you will home school
  3. Divide the number of hours per week by the number of days you will home school per week to determine how many hours  you will home school per day

Here’s and example: (numbers in parenthesis are for grades 7-12)

  • 900 (990) hours divided by 9 months = 100 (110) hours per month
  • 100 (110) hours per month divided by 4 weeks = 25 (27.5) hours per week
  • 25 (27.5) hours per week divided by 5 days = 5 (5.5) hours per day
  • 900 (990) hours divided by 10 months = 90 (99) hours per month
  • 90 (99) hours per month divided by 4 weeks = 22.5 (24.75) hours per week
  • 22.5 (24.75) hours per week divided by 5 days = 4.5 (4.95) hours per day

Let’s say you want to home school four days a week. Your numbers would look like this:

  • 900 (990) hours divided by 9 months = 100 (110) hours per month
  • 100 (110) hours per month divided by 4 weeks = 25 (27.5) hours per week
  • 25 (27.5) hours per week divided by 4 days = 6.25 (6.8) hours per day
  • 900 (990) hours divided by 10 months = 90 (99) hours per month
  • 90 (99) hours per month divided by 4 weeks = 22.5 (24.75) hours per week
  • 22.5 (24.75) hours per week divided by 4 days = 5.6 (6.18) hours per day

 

 

Posted in Homeschooling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

How to Avoid Disappointment: Be The Best That You Can Be

Be the best that you can be at any given point of time and you won’t be disappointed. On the surface this sounds straightforward, as in if I do my best odds are I’ll do great. While that can be one of the interpretations, a deeper meditation of the phrase will reveal so much more.

When I speak of meditation I am not referring to emptying my mind and focusing on a word. Meditation for me involves speaking slowly while emphasizing each word of a sentence or scripture and the Holy Spirit revealing things to me.

BE the best that you can be at any given point of time and you won’t be disappointed. To be is to exist. And when do I exist? I exist all of the time. This tells me that at all times I am to be the best that I can be so that I won’t be disappointed.

Be THE BEST that you can be at any given point of time and you won’t be disappointed. The best is standard to which we are to strive. It is the goal setter. We all start out at different points doing different things but the quality to which we are to perform or be is the best. Here in is the beauty of the word the best. Your best and my best may be different  and this leads to the next observation.

BeTheBest

Be the best THAT YOU can be at any given point of time and you won’t be disappointed. Realize that you are your own competition not the other people out there. You just keep getting better and better. Continue on your path and not the path of others.

Be the best that you CAN BE at any given point of time and you won’t be disappointed. Because we are all individuals we are unique. Theoretically we can all do the same things but we will do them differently. Because we do things differently, we will have different results. It is unrealistic to expect the same exact results as someone else. Similar results maybe. Expecting the same results robs us of our uniqueness and  can be stressful when we see someone else achieve a task before we do. Focus on what you are able to do.

Be the best that you can be AT ANY GIVEN POINT IN TIME and you won’t be disappointed. This speaks to living in the now and being consistent. The only time we have is now. The past has already been and the future has not come. Consistency is more an aspect of character- your perseverance, your ability to stick to the task at hand regardless of the circumstances. Do we miss it sometimes? Of course we do. The key is not to quit.

BE the best you can

Be the best that you can be at any given point of time and YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED. One can be discouraged in the journey of achieving a goal. We all go through periods of time where we didn’t accomplish a goal at a particular time. But that is not the same as being sad, upset, or disappointed because you failed. As long as you pick yourself back up after being discouraged you will eventually accomplish your goal no matter how long it takes you. It is only when you quit that you will ultimately be disappointed because when you quit you are admitting to yourself that you can’t.

For writers this means to write the best that you can. Even if you get a rejection letter, it means to keep going. Don’t quit. Take a course, read a book about writing or join an online support group.

For homeschoolers this means that you will educate the best that you can right now, knowing that as time goes on you will learn and grow. You will get better. It also means that if something isn’t working for you, you can change it to make it better. The key is to start and keep going. Don’t quit. Join a local homeschool group or find online support.

Whether you are writing a novel, home schooling or both, the same advice applies. So keep going. Don’t quit.

Be the best that you can be at any given point in time and you won’t be disappointed. 

 

 

Posted in Christian Devotions, Homeschooling, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Home School Is Out for the Summer, Now What?

Music plays in the background, a peaceful worship song. The house is quiet except for the music playing and a muffled television in a distant room. A moment to relax and enjoy the victories of the past homeschool year.

All reports are in. We’ve covered more than I realized. Yes there are some areas that need more attention. Now is the time to plan our summer and up-coming school year. I’ve always found it easier to keep the home school train moving, even if it moves slowly. For me it takes more effort to get a home school train that is standing still to move. I learned this important lesson one year when we took the whole summer off. I cringe at the memory of having to reteach a child how to do long division in the fall. But I am a smart cookie and I learn from my mistakes.

Does this mean I will school year round on a full time basis? No, probably not. But it does mean that we will do some educational things over the summer to keep the home school train moving. The key is grace based balance.

Taking peaceful strides forward without the pressure of having to complete a burdensome, forced schedule is grace based. It is liberating for you and your child. Choose one or two things to focus on. Look at your child and determine what is the one skill he or she needs that if worked on would cause him or her to excel.

For example, your child is making progress in arithmetic but you notice that it takes your child a long time to complete math assignments. Would focusing on math drills in addition or multiplication for a week or two decrease the amount of time spent doing math assignments? If so this would be a great investment of time.

japan-86679_1280KeepItMoving

Maybe your child can write letters but the speed at which the letters are written keeps her from completing assignments in a timely manner. During this summer break you could focus on daily copy work for a short intervals of time to help with writing practice. Get creative. Write notes back and forth to each other. Remember to point out the good points. Let your child critique her writing. Ask her what letter, word, or sentence does she like the best and what letter, word, or sentence she could make better. Have timed races on Monday and Friday in which she is competing against herself. She will be able to see for herself how much faster she is.

During the summer could also be a time to try a small unit study of a topic of your child’s interest as a change of pace for those using textbooks. Unit studies are a neat way to cover multiple subjects and levels at the same time.  Get ideas from your children. Ask them what they want to learn about, go to the library and get books on the topic. Read, research and learn together. If you don’t know the answers to their questions, that’s ok. Admit it and then ask them where they think you should begin to search out the information. Engage them in the discussion and let them take the lead.

For those new to home schooling now would be a time to debug and unplug from preconceived ideas of traditional schooling. Your home school does not have to resemble a traditional school setting unless you want it to. Remember the days when your children were little. Remember cuddling up with a book and reading to them. Remember enjoying the time spent together as much if not more than the story read. Remember the discussions and quality time that you shared with your children. Remember these things. These are the things you want to put into your home school as the foundation.

The focus is on the home and the relationships developed there. The education of your children will flow from this foundation. If you focus on the school without the foundation of the relationship you will be putting added pressure on yourself. This pressure won’t stop there. It will flow to your children and create an unnecessary stressful home school.

Posted in Homeschooling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Home School Stress Free

 

I sit across from my son. He has a pencil in his hand and he is working on a Saxon 5/4 math problem. The clicking of my fingers on the keyboard doesn’t seem to distract him. He’s focused, working through the twenty seven problems.

So many thoughts running thorough my head, all home school related at the moment, ranging from “Did we do enough?” to  “Shall we continue next year?”

I’ve heard these thoughts before. In fact I hear them every year about this time at the end of the school year, so I’ve gotten use to the feeling of fear and anxiety. The only thing left to do is breathe through the moment. Push the thoughts away. Look at what has been accomplished this year.

To do this, first look at what you accomplished last year. For those who submit written narratives or portfolio’s this may be easier to do. Take a good look. Last year you were pleased that your child learn how to count 50, or write letters, add or multiply. Now look at what your child is doing now. You see that your child can now count to 100, or write sentences or paragraphs, or add with two digit numbers with carrying. Well all of these things show that your child is growing and learning.

TakeaDeep Breath

For those that use standardized tests, pull out last year’s test results. See where your child scored. What areas needed improvement. Spelling, Grammar or Reading? Pull out your child’s work. Do you notice words that were misspelled last year that are now spelled correctly? Does she now use ending punctuation correctly. Or maybe she now reads chapter book instead of graded readers. All of these things indicate growth and that your child is learning.

If you think that you should have covered more, remember not everything has to be covered in one year. You do not have to follow the public school schedule. You can also start your new home school year with a review of the weak areas. In New York State, for example,  the school calendar year begins July 1st and ends June 30th. You can use the summer months to review even if it is only two to three times a week. In September you can begin your full school load adding in other subjects.

Treat your child as an individual. This seems to be an obvious statement. Of course he is an individual. An individual is unique- one of a kind. To compare other children, including siblings, to your home schooled child can be a disservice. Each child develops in a different way and at a different rate. Yes there are some generalities of when kids do certain things but sometimes the added pressure to make you child perform  at another child’s level just adds more stress to the home school experience.

Added pressure to make your child learn something before he is ready, is like walking backwards down the street. Yes you will get to your destination eventually, but you might trip, fall, or get hit by oncoming pedestrians or children riding their bikes on the sidewalk. Are the injuries worth it? That’s a decision you will have to make. From my experience, the extra stress is not worth it. Remember, at the age of eighteen no one is concerned when your child learn to walk, talk or learn addition facts. In the long run such things don’t matter. The point is to teach your child at the rate that he can absorb and master the information.

 

Things to Remember:

  1. You have accomplished more than you think you have.
  2. Compare your current level of achievement to last year’s level of achievement
  3. Not everything has to be learned in one year
  4. You can review  weak areas next year.
  5. Don’t compare your child to other children
  6. Don’t compare your child to other siblings.

Feel free to ask home school related questions in the reply box below. I will do my best to answer.

Posted in Homeschooling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Blog Focus

I’ve finally got it and it’s better late than never. I’m referring to the focus of my blog. For weeks now I’ve been trying to determine my focus. My focus is homeschooling and fiction writing. On my blog I will share my journey of both.

archery-472929_1280FOCUS

I have been homeschooling for over sixteen years now and writing fiction  off and on for almost as long. Homeschooling has monopolized most of the time, as I have five children. Over the years I squeezed in writing when time permitted. During the last five years I have also squeezed in a part time job, which pushed writing further back on the list of priorities. Yet I have still managed to take some online writing courses. Now that some of our children have graduated from our homeschool there is more time for writing fiction.

Posted in Homeschooling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment