Tag Archives: schedule

2014-2015 in Review

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Crestview Heights Academy School Year in Review 2014-2015Crestview Heights Academy School Year in Review 2014-2015Crestview Heights Academy School Year in Review 2014-2015Crestview Heights Academy School Year in Review 2014-2015

Whew! It is hard to believe how fast this school year has flown! We are almost to the end of our year, and I am deep into planning our next school year. I would have to say that this was one of our best years yet. We got a lot accomplished! And it turned out that high school isn’t so bad after all. Smile

Here are some thoughts and comments on the past year and the curricula that we used:

I have worked hard this year at simplifying and organizing. I have a lot I want to do this summer, but I do have to say that it has made our year easier. I have declutter a lot of extra items and gotten much more organized with regular cleaning chores. My Well Planned Day planner bears testament to the fact that I am using it regularly as well.

Curriculum

We used some favorites this past year and then added some new ones into the mix. As my kids get older, I am learning more and more what works for them. That means that I hit the mark with the curriculum choices more often!

Bible:

Boo had lessons with my mom, read her Bible, listened to teachings, and went to Bible study each week. We are working her into a more adult-style way of using her faith.

Buddy read from his Bible and worked on AWANA memory verses.

Language:

Boo used Applications of Grammar this year. I love this curriculum for her because it is thorough, but easy for me to use. She is my traditional-style schooler, so workbooks are a good fit for her. I put together a literature curriculum for her, and she made it through all of the books. She doesn’t love reading, so that was quite a feat for us! I did allow her to listen to a couple of the books on mp3 from Librivox just to shake things up a bit and make it easier. And she also looked up and defined a number of vocabulary words.

Buddy used All About Reading and All About Spelling again this year. I can’t say enough about this series. His reading has improved dramatically since we started using them. It fits right in with his right-brained, artistic mindset. He also did choice independent reading, and I read aloud several books to him.

Math:

Boo used Math-U-See and finished up Pre-Algebra and is working her way quickly through Algebra 1. We took some extra time last year to make sure she had a solid foundation before we got into higher-level math, and that time has shown this year.

Buddy is still doing some Math-U-See as well, but we have moved onto Life of Fred for most of his Math work. The quirky stories fit his learning style very well. I am very happy with this choice and ordered the next few books for next year.

Science:

Boo completed Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology from Dr. Jay Wile. With the exception of microorganisms, which is necessary but not really our interest, we loved this book. I worked with her on this one most days, and we both learned so much. We had a lot of fun with the experiments, as well.

Buddy worked through two of Apologia’s Zoology books. He will finish the third one next year. He preferred the land animals one, but had fun with them both. His favorite activity was the candy activity that showed how camouflage works!

Social Studies:

Boo studied World Geography using lessons I created using several books. The base for the study was DK’s Geography of the World book. With tons of full-color photos and information, I felt like she got a really good overview of the world. She also completed maps and did some reading from Operation World. I intended for her to do more hands-on activities, such as cooking and art, but we just ran out of time. I do think those activities would have been helpful in learning about the cultures, though.

Buddy also studied geography, with a brief look at each continent, some map activities, and study in geographical terms. I used books from the library, and the online games Stack the States and Stack the Countries to work with him, too.

Arts:

Boo worked hard for her music performance credit this year. She had a solo in our church program and sang solos and duets for other events. She has had several years of piano lessons. This year she has begun working on accompanying someone singing for praise and worship.

Buddy had piano lessons and a speaking role in our church program. He also had an art lesson each week and is learning to draw.

P.E.:

Both of my kids spend many hours practicing for ball and playing games. Boo spend some time at the YMCA working out, and both kids do Wii Fit. I am hoping to improve on P.E. next year, because Buddy will be old enough to go upstairs at the Y and  use the treadmills and other machines.

Other:

Boo used online programs to learn some Spanish and for Keyboarding. I liked the Keyboarding program, but will add some bookwork in for Spanish 2.

Co-op:

We had a great year at co-op. Both of the kids were in a wonderful poetry class and completed books of their own poems. They also had a creative writing class and wrote short stories. It stretched them both and was fun as well. They also learned some Spanish from the Spanish pastor at the church that hosts co-op. Buddy enjoyed a study on pioneer days. Both kids had choir.

All-in-all, this was a good school year. I am happy with what we accomplished, but I have some goals for next year. I am hoping to have both kids work a little more independently so that working with them one at a time will be easier. And I am hoping to have some more hands-on activities for our studies in World History (Boo) and Ancient History (Buddy). For now, though, we are going to enjoy a summer break and some ball games!

Are We Done Yet?

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Crestview Heights Academy Are We Done Yet?

It’s that time of year again for us. We are finishing up books and the end is in sight! Every homeschool family is different. For some of you, your school year may follow the regular school calendar, like ours does. Others school year-round or follow a different schedule. Still, at some point, you get to the place where your year is DONE!

When I plan out our next school year each spring, I always keep in mind the changing seasons. I know to plan a little lighter around the holidays and in the spring, when we have started ball season and I’m on to planning the next year. But, at some point, we are just DONE. All capital letters. And DONE doesn’t always mean the books are completely finished. Believe me, school teachers across America are DONE in the next few weeks, too, whether the books are finished or not.

So, how do you know if your school year is done?

  • If you or your kids are hanging from the chandelier, your school year may be done.
  • If you can’t stomach the idea of correcting one more paper, you may be done.
  • If the warm spring air is calling your name, you may be done.
  • If you have all of your books, workbooks, worksheets, and every activity you planned for the year complete, you are DEFINITLY done…and probably deserve some kind of medal! Smile

Here’s a truth about schooling in the public or private school: most curriculum is designed to review much of what was learned the year before in the first few weeks of the new school year. And much of what is learned is repeated multiple times before a student graduates. It is okay to take a look at your books and decide what doesn’t need to be completed before you end your year. Is there anything that will be reviewed the next year? And, as homeschoolers, there is no reason we can’t just pick up where we left off in a book the next year. I’ve done that several times with our Math curriculum. For other curricula, I contemplate whether we will miss anything if we don’t finish it.

To be clear, please be sure that you are completing everything the state requires of you. I am not recommending that you ignore your responsibility to educate your children. But if you have completed your requirements and are pressing on to finish a book or list of activities simply to get them done, rethink that plan. Is every chapter, every book, every worksheet or activity really necessary? If not, your school year may simply be DONE.

A Day in the Life

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Since I posted our actual schedule earlier this year, I thought that I would take you through what our day is like and how it is going.  I really, really like the way our schedule is working so far.  They kids are..ahem..less than thrilled about getting back into a routine, but the routine itself works great.

We start our morning off with chores.  I get the kids up around 7:30 and they are supposed to do all of their chores and be ready for Bible time at 8:15.  We aren’t always exactly on time, but we come close most days.  Here are our new chore charts that I made using this idea that I found on pinterest:

 

I put all of the chores I want done that day on the “to do” side and they move the pins over to the “done” side as they finish, so I can quickly check and see what has been done. 

Next up is Bible time, which lasts somewhere from about 8:15 until 9:00 and includes quiet time, together Bible study, and character lessons. 

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From about 9:00 to 10:30 we do language.  Buddy and I work together first while Boo does her independent work and then we do vocabulary together before we switch. 

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10:30-11:10 is Math time.  I start with Buddy while Boo spends some time on the computer.  Then, we switch again and Buddy gets his turn on the computer while Boo and I work together.

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Before lunch we also do our history or geography work from Explorations to 1850 and our Canada Study time.

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We have lunch at 12:00, followed by our literature time.  By this time it is around 1:00.  At 1:00 we do art or music, depending on the day of the week.  Starting next week , we will be going to Homeschool Co-op on Thursday afternoons.  We finish up the day with Science, Life Skills, and piano practice.

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My original schedule had us getting done around 3:30, and most days we are done about 2:30.  That gives us time to go to the Y and swim or have a walk before we get ready for our evening activities.  So far we are just back into Tae Kwon Do on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  Soon we will add AWANA on Wednesdays and piano on Mondays. 

I always enjoy seeing how other people schedule their days.  I hope you enjoyed a peek into ours!

Creating a Daily Schedule

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Hello!

If this is the first post you have read, I am currently working on a series about homeschool planning.  If you click “planning” on the menu bar, you can find all of the earlier posts.  Last time I discussed scheduling your school year.  Today I am going to talk about making a daily homeschool schedule.  Next time I will give you some tips for ordering your curriculum.  I have been trying to do these posts in a step by step manner, but this post and the next one are somewhat interchangeable.  For some people it will make sense to create a schedule and then purchase curriculum for these classes.  For others it will be better to purchase curriculum and then use it to create your schedule.  You will need to decide which is better for you.

In my opinion one of the greatest benefits to homeschooling is being able to be flexible and meet your child’s needs.  For some people that can be done without a true schedule.  If that works for you, that is perfectly fine!  In a minute I am going to show you the schedule I have developed for us for next year.  I use my schedule as a guideline or a goal.  It is not as rigid, nor as intense, as it may look.  We generally finish earlier than it says on our schedule.  If an activity finishes early, we just go on to the next thing and enjoy an early day.  Occasionally something takes longer than anticipated.  I don’t stop everything just to keep our schedule.  When I first started homeschooling I wrote down lesson ideas but did not have a schedule.  I find that by writing out a schedule we get so much more done, even though we rarely follow the schedule exactly.  Your schedule is meant to be a helpful tool, not something that stresses you out.  And if it isn’t working…CHANGE THE SCHEDULE!  Smile

There are several things I think about as I sit down to create my schedule:

  • what time I want to start the day (be REALISTIC!)
  • what time our day needs to end
  • legal requirements
  • outside responsibilities and appointments
  • which classes I need to teach

I highly recommend teaching as many of your children together for as many classes as you can.  Bible, History, Read-Aloud, Character, Lifeskills, Science, Poetry, and several more lend themselves to combining children.  If you have several children and you try to teach each class individually to each child it is going to stretch you.  Language and Math generally need to be taught individually unless you have two or more children who are very close in age.  Once you have teenagers you may need to have them work independently.  Also, little guys usually need their own time even for things like History and Science, but they also need very short lessons. 

I have created some forms to help me think about all of the things that need to go into my schedule.  Below I have examples of how to fill them out.  (These are SAMPLES only, as you will be able to see when I show you my real schedule later on!  Smile)

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Next, I write down all of the classes I need to teach.  I figure out how many days and minutes I need/want to teach them.  Then I divide the number of minutes by the number of days to get the number of minutes I need per class.  Here is a form to make this easier for you and there is a sample below:

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Next I fill in my schedule planner.  I like to use the format in Educating the Wholehearted Child to plan my day.  They divide classes into five different types of studies: Discipleship, Disciplined, Discussion, Discovery, and Discretionary.  There are lots of different models for how to schedule a school day.  If you and your children are morning people you will want to do your language and math classes in the morning.  However, if you are more energetic in the afternoon, you may want to schedule those classes later in the day.

Use the schedule planner to begin plotting out your day.  Begin by writing times in the left hand column.  If you want to schedule by the half hour, one sheet will probably be all you need per child.  If you are going to schedule in fifteen minute increments, you will need to print two sheets per child.  You may want to print them for yourself as well.  Next fill in your meal times and all regularly scheduled outside responsibilities and activities, such as coop classes, sports, and appointments. 

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Now look at your class list.  Decide what order you want to have classes in.  Also think about which classes you will need to conduct and which can be done independently by your child.  You may want to offset a class for one child that you will need to be teaching with a class that can be done independently for another child.  In our house we start the day with Bible together.  When we get to language arts, however, I need to spend individual time with each child.  I schedule handwriting, journaling, keyboarding, independent reading, and half of Boo’s reading for Boo while I am doing phonics, reading, writing, and spelling with Buddy.  Then we flip and Buddy does his independent work while I do composition and grammar and some reading with his sister.  Later in the day I scheduled computer time for one child while I worked with the other one. 

Begin filling classes in on your lists, laying out the kids’ lists side by side so you can look at them together.  I recommend using pencil for this step.  Another suggestion is to write the classes on index cards so that you can move them around and once you are happy with the results you can record them on the sheet.

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I like to use Excel for my final schedule.  By typing it, and because I only have two children, I can make a sheet with the kids’ activities side by side.  I also use color to code it and help me keep track of what where I am supposed to be.  Pink is Boo, Blue is Buddy, Purple is all together (Blue+Pink), Green is Buddy with me (Blue+Yellow) and Orange is Boo with me (Pink+Yellow).  Below is a copy of our schedule for next year:

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Next time I will show you how I plan my curriculum purchases and keep track of my curriculum orders. 

Scheduling Your Year and Choosing Classes

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Welcome!  This is the next in a series on planning for homeschooling that I have been writing.  If you haven’t been here before, you can find the previous posts by clicking on “planning” on the menu bar.  We have discussed homeschool visions, long-term planning, learning styles, choosing a homeschool philosophy or method, and choosing curricula.  Today we are going to work on planning out a school year.  Next time we will discuss scheduling your week or day.  Today we will discuss scheduling out your year and choosing the classes you will teach in each subject.  It will be helpful if you have your homeschool vision and long-term goals available, as well as the table of contents or scope and sequence of the curricula you have chosen.

There are several things that you will want to keep in mind as you plan your year, some of which include:

  • the requirements of your state homeschool regulations
  • holidays
  • vacations
  • work schedules
  • special events
  • testing or portfolio evaluations
  • ages of your children
  • your own preferences
  • your curricula

So, let’s get started!  Your state may have certain requirements that you will need to meet.  If you don’t know these, you will need to do a search for your state’s department of education and homeschooling or exempt school regulations.  Common requirements will include either a certain number of days or hours, specific subjects, certain tests or portfolio reviews, and plans.  In our state we need to complete a certain number of hours each year.  We also need to have a plan to teach language, math, science, social studies, and health.  We need to turn in our plan every year by a certain date, along with some other forms the state sends to us each  year.  Some states have a rigid testing policy that must be met.  If you live in another country, you will need to follow whatever laws and requirements apply to your location. Here is a form to use to keep track of your legal requirements.

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Now, look at your calendar for the year.  On this form record any holidays, events, birthdays, or vacations that will affect your school year. 

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Next think through what days you want to school.  Do you want to school all year round or only during the “regular” school year? Will you school Monday through Friday, take Fridays off, school on the weekends?  Does your curricula require a certain number of days or weeks to complete it?  Is it important to you to complete the curricula in one year?

You can print an overview calendar for the year here.  Using your calendar begin putting an x on any day that you know you will not count toward your school year.

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  Decide when you want to start and stop your school year.  Put a box over those dates. 

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Then begin circling the dates that you want to use for school.  Start with the ones that are most convenient.    When you have done this, count how many days you have.  If you need more to meet your legal requirement, you will need to figure out which ones to circle.  After you have met the required number of days for your school year you can put an x through the rest of the days.  You now have your school year calendar.

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For the next part you will need your state requirement and long-term goal sheets.  You will use these to help you decide which courses you will teach this year.  Record the classes on this form.

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Next time we will work on developing a daily schedule to use in your homeschool.