Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Dreaded Task- Planning and My Own "Ramblings"

Do you have that dreaded thing in your homeschooling you hate to do, but if your like me, you  do it anyway because it helps your learner?

Well, for me, it is planning, (can I just say?) yuck, I just hate it.. and my youngest needs very little planning so we just use his daily checklist and do one lesson a day where ever we are in the book or the unit and keep on going from there. It isn't like this for my teen, he is a very different learner from his younger brother and needs much more structure and I found he does much better having more perimeters in place or external structures, whichever you care to call it.

I am using Gmail Calendar for all his assignments. We share the calendar (I am able to add/delete things on his own calendar)~ some may remember me mentioning this a bit ago.
I really hate planning because it seems like we get off track some days if we have activities and such. It all looks great on his calendar but then a few wrenches and it can all fall out of sync. :S.

BUT, I did try using this before our Holiday Break and this worked like crazy for him. He follows it to a "t" and is also learning time management with it. ( for example if we see we have gym day in the morning he may need to come home and do more work or add on extra the next day or day before if he knows he has volunteering or something). 

This might sound really like crazy or extreme structure for some, but this is for a "teen" and it really helps teens when you add a bit more structure this way because it can teach (imho) accountability and lets face it, teens can do activities or choose to wait a day or do something ahead... (all parts of learning time management) but at the end of the day or the week, things do still need to get done, no matter what. :) 
Another advantage I found with doing it this way for him, is the way I can coordinate all the great resources I find. I can choose to leave some out, and add as needed~ Gmail calendar is also very flexible so if I see we just could not do a particular assignment (say for example in math because of an understanding/processing problem with the material) I can easily click and drag to the next day so it isn’t really such a big deal. I enjoy this flexibility.
My teen can also add in activities he is going to be involved in outside the home and can give himself reminders for specifics as well. A really great tool for him as he gets older and grow more independent.

So having rambled on - I am working on our January Calendar. I have his math all done and am just now starting his history assignments. One thing I am being more mindful of is to NOT over assign things. - I am only having him work short assignments so he can manage and get them all in on that day since we no longer will be doing block scheduling. Block scheduling worked great before when he was much younger, and it works great for his little brother for right now I suppose, but he misses working with specifics like in science and such since science and history are his favorite subjects I really want him to be able to work these daily.  ( I have decided against creating our subject block days for him; for example using Monday as our Science Day and Tuesday as a History Day as I had before) This is wonderful for younger learners and it is very easy to coordinate topics/subjects but for older learners it is not so easy and the topics many times do not always coordinate together very nicely, so we ended up stopping this).
Anyone care to share their dreaded task?


Suji said...

It seems to be that time of the year for everyone! I recently posted about our plans too (well, not exactly plans...more like thoughts and hopes!). Fingers crossed that we'll have a more productive year ahead! All the best to you too Tracey!


Learners at Home said...

It is most certainly "that time of year again"~ :) Here is hoping for a productive successful year for you and your family Suji~ :)


Cindy K. said...

We use Outlook for our mail and calendar, but the boys have not yet got into the habit of checking their calendar, accepting appointments (like doctor's appointments and such that dad sends them to insert in their calendar), and even checking email regularly. We do have Outlook auto-starting when they login so they usually do see when something new comes in, but they scan it and then ignore it. LOL! But they are getting used to seeing the pop-up reminders for those kinds of appointments, which they promptly dismiss. ;)

I will have to think about this more since right now I am using Excel to print out a week's assignment list at time for them to use. I can also directly add tasks/assignments/appointments in their calendars without sending them a "meeting invite", but I don't know if I can really train them to use it properly just yet. Something about them doing better with a tangible schedule than when they have it online - it's too easy for them to mark "Yup, I'm done" when they really aren't. So I will really have to see how they would use it, and then teach them how to use it like that. Probably the first step should be to have them work through Professor Teaches Outlook 2010, like I had them do with PowerPoint. Hmmm.
Plus, I will have to look to see how hard it would be to add stuff to both of their calendars since 90% of what they do is the same. With Excel, it's easy to copy-paste from one chart to the other. I wonder how easy/hard it will be to do this on each of their calendars. Something to think about...

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