Probably the very fact that you are asking THIS question, and not asking a question that starts with "Help!" means you are doing great.
From your signature, it looks like you still have younger children -- elementary and kinder ages. At those ages, the line pretty much shifts weekly, if not daily. That just mimics the way younger children learn: spurt and sprint ahead in one subject area (while other subject areas may sit in 'idle' since most of the brain energy area is going towards the 'revving' subject area). Or, children may suddenly get a passion for something and want to spend hours a day on it.
Just my opinion, but at your children's ages, as long as over the course of a month you can see that you are generally making progress forward in most subject areas, and if you are not having melt-downs from children "hitting the wall" with a subject or being pushed too fast into something they're not ready for, then I'd say you are in the sweet spot and are neither under-doing or over-reaching.
I know, that's not the sort of tangible, printable checklist you're looking for. It sounds like "underachieving" is really not your problem -- it sounds like your plans are for more than what is realistic, so below I'm giving you a few ideas I used to keep from overdoing:
"overdoing" and "asking too much" -- ideas we used:
- in advance, mark things you are willing to drop
I made our own History and Science all through elementary/middle school grades, so I would have a "master list" of books, kits, experiments, videos, etc to work from, BUT, I would also star a few items here and there in order to "give myself permission" to drop things along the way, if needed. And if your students really get interested in a "bunny trail" or side topic, go for it -- and make room in your schedule by dropping a few more resources you had planned. Keep in mind the "big goal"
- you drive the program -- don't let the program drive you
Be willing to allow a student to just do selected circled problems if they are getting the concept -- no need to over-drill, or make students do.every.last.problem.on.the.page. And sometimes it's fine to just do things orally -- really, the curriculum police will NOT knock down your door if your student does not have a written answer for every last question or problem in the workbook.
- limited time blocks
Daily schedule: in advance set a limit on the amount of time for doing each subject or activity; if everyone is REALLY bummed out when the timer goes off, then allow yourselves another 5-10 minutes, but otherwise, move on. Remember, you'll be doing Math and Writing and Reading again tomorrow... and the next day... and the day after that...
- leave people "wanting more"
If you find you're frequently telling people to hold on for "just 5 more minutes!" "just 1 more page!" "just a little bit more!", you've probably over-scheduled; cut the time down by 10 minutes a day for that subject, or schedule only 1/2 page in the workbook, or... other way of backing down a bit. It's always better on the psyche (on the daily basis) to leave something "wanting a little bit more" than to have to drag everyone forward with tears or wailing or sullenness.
- enjoy some supplements as family fun, outside of scheduled school time
We did a weekly "family movie night", and some of the movies were ones that specifically fit in with the History period we were studying -- I didn't make it a "big educational deal", but might point out something as we were watching: "Hey, look! Ben Hur is getting that Roman triumph parade we were just reading about last week!"
We also frequently had a family game night. Just be careful to not try and sneak in games that really ARE just Math drill into a fun time. In contrast, Shut the Bo and Yahtzee required adding, and Monopoly required money skills, but none of those "felt like school".
- enjoy some activities over the summer
If you're having trouble getting to all of the hands-on or longer projects you had planned, you might save some bigger projects (esp. ones that are NOT so tied directly to a curriculum) for enjoying during your down time in the summer. For example, our DSs loved messing around with Science kits, so that did not feel like "school" to them to play around with gears and pulleys, or other similar activities. Sometimes we would do an interesting Art project in the summer, because we had more time and DSs were asking for something to do because they were bored. Again, be careful to not do activities that feel "too school-y" during stated breaks and holidays.
- enjoy family read-alouds outside of school hours
DSs here loved hearing read-alouds. When they were pre-school and early elementary grades, I'd read to them while they were in the bathtub. And we'd do a lot of our fun family books (not anything tied to the curriculum) as our pre-bedtime "cuddle up on the couch or the bed" read aloud. Some families really enjoy listening to their history curriculum as audio books while driving in the car!
I think the big key here is the word I kept using in my suggestions: "enjoy". If NO one is enjoying it, then it's probably too much. (I did have a DS with mild LDs requiring we do a certain minimum of work per day, and who always hated anything having to do with formal school, so if you have a student like that, then chuck the "enjoy" idea, lol.)
BEST of luck if finding the path that moves forward with learning, but in a way that doesn't kill the students' or teacher's interest or motivation to learn. Warmest regards, Lori D.
Edited by Lori D., 26 January 2018 - 07:04 PM.