Day 15: My Pants Aren’t on Fire Any More.

Real, live example of this week’s schedule. For reals!


I have a confession to make. I have never once read a single homeschooling book. (Gasp! The horror!) I have never read a book about various methods of education (Classical, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, etc…). I have never researched homeschooling itself. I didn’t know books like that existed. I only knew that the Lord was leading me to do it, and that I just needed to pick out some curriculum.

So, while I have researched individual curriculum choices, I have never known everything about everything that is out there. In fact, I know very little. Almost nothing, really. This is also the reason I avoid homeschool blogs, for the most part, unless I am looking for something specific. It’s just too overwhelming. I mainly rely on other homeschooling moms I trust, as well as the mentors through our local homeschool program, for recommendations.

This whole thing often feels like I’m flying by the seat of my pants, which may or may not be on fire. Still, the kids are making good progress; all of them are where they need to be, according to their “grade level” and their individual abilities. I have no doubt, any more, that this is what we were meant to do, and we’re doing okay.

Anyway. I said all that to say that I still leave loose ends at times, and keeping track of our daily progress, and what we’ve covered so far each year, was one of those loose ends. Each year, I type up a Master Schedule that serves as our general guideline for the order of each day. I keep it laminated, so I can use a dry-erase marker to cross things off each day as we complete them, then just re-use the sheet each week.

All this time, I have kept so focused on getting everything completed each day, for each child, that I keep forgetting that I need to also log it all and file it away, so I can assess their progress on a yearly basis, too. The records need to be kept for our sake at least, since no one will be knocking on my door, demanding to see records.

For a long time, I kept intending to write down the number of hours, per kid, on each day of the calender, and file that in our records. However, I never got around to remembering to do it. Then, since the beginning of this school year, I’ve had to revise the master schedule to reflect the lack of the support program, and zero in on the core subjects while we’re in Oregon.

I had a dilemma. I didn’t bring my clear contact paper, so I couldn’t “laminate” the new schedule. Plus, I didn’t bring our calendar to Oregon with us. What was I supposed to do now, without having to buy a whole roll of contact paper or a calendar?!

Then, it dawned on me:

Why laminate it, or buy a new calendar, when I could just print out the Master Schedule each week, cross off things as we go, and make notes on the schedule of changes, subjects we’re behind on, days off, what we cover on our Friday Fun Days, and any other things I’d like to add? Voila! Instant and complete record-keeping!

Hello!

This is going to be a simple way for me to track all the kids at the same time, yet be able to differentiate between their needs and what we’re doing together. It’s my own, personal, one-stop-shop, if you will. It’s so simple, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. Perhaps, because I tend to over-complicate things.

So, today, I am thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling. I’m thankful that I can make a few mistakes, learn from them, and become a better educator for my children with each new idea. I am thankful no one is breathing down my neck, and that there is no one “right” way to do it. I’m thankful that there are a million really good ways to do it. I’m thankful that my kids have no clue that I’m learning as much as they are through this process. I’m thankful that I will now be able to make better decisions about how we spend our time outside of school hours, with confidence that we are covering what we need to. I don’t have to question it any more. I’ll be able to just see it! At the end of the year, I will tally it all up, make sure we met our requirements, paper clip it all together, and put it in our files. DONE!

Woohoo!

So, through a fluke of forgetting two items (the contact paper and our wall calendar), I have found a better way to do things for my kids and I. Awesome.

I love that. And my pants aren’t on fire any more.

If you’d like me to email you the file, so you can see the whole thing, leave a comment on this post, and I’ll reply with an attachment for you. I can also explain my little “code” to you as well, if you want. I’d love to encourage anyone I can, and perhaps get some cool ideas from you, too! What works for you, and how do you keep records? I’d love some ideas to supplement what I do!

What are you thankful for this week?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

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7 thoughts on “Day 15: My Pants Aren’t on Fire Any More.

  1. I would love to see what you have. I am not yet at the record keeping stage. I keep a journal of preschool activities mostly so I can go back to it as a reference for the next child, but I know I need to get mentally organized for the future. πŸ™‚

  2. I’ll be emailing you a few short years from now, asking for your help as I set up Emma’s curriculum. It’s hard to believe she’s already two! Ahh! It will be here before we know it πŸ™‚

  3. I don’t read those homeschooling books either. They just make me feel guilty that I’m not doing everything right. I’m so glad you have a system that works. That’s pretty much what my system is too. Miss you, gal.

  4. I never read those books, either. Most of them were published after I’d already taught for several years. I glanced at a few of them, but found them irritating. Besides, what we were doing was already working.
    That’s because anyone who homeschools has success.
    And because any decent curriculum gives decent results.
    Just pick what you like and be sure you are actually homeschooling and forget the rest.

    One thing we did to simplify record keeping was to make the children weekly goal chart forms to keep at their own desks, after they read well enough to keep it themselves. They wrote down their goals and marked them off as they completed them, THEMSELVES. I never did any record keeping that way; they did it. I kept all those charts because we DID have the option of attracting case worker attention in our state, and actually had done so more than once. Most of our detractors found the children’s goal charts pretty impressive. Anyway, the results were that the children learned to break down big plans into small tasks, which helped them in college.

    I sure did laugh at your post title, by the way! πŸ˜€

    • That’s a great idea, too, and I’m hoping to migrate into something similar as they get older. I’m sure my 4th grader could do it just fine, but I think we’ll wait ’til life settles a little before I try it. I’m thinking starting him on that next fall. Thanks for the goal-chart idea – I like it.

      I reorganized their individual binders, too, to go along with my new system, and I think that it will work much better now.

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