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General help getting started / implementation etc.


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Hi community,

 

Any advice for this Noob on how to get the nuts and bolts of implementing in place after the curriculum choice craziness is largely finished with? (not how you start every year now that you are a veteran, how you recommend getting going for my very first year? What are the most important / essential supporting nuts and bolts you'd recommend I focus on?

 

I'm moving out of the "......how many curriculum choices ARE there?! " phase and into the next... I have my curriculum either on my shelf or chosen. I'm now realizing there is a world of planning tips out there, organization reforms needed, loop schedules to design, morning time routines (?!) laminators and a zillion little supplies to buy, etc etc.

 

I've been spending time on homeschool creations.net, Donna Young's site, and others. Which have great suggestions on certain things but will take effort, scarce time and energy to implement.

 

I have realized I want to implement a chore chart, workbox and weekly work folder system for dd7. and maybe I need a yearly planner, somewhere to bring all the lesson plans into a master list to work from. My usual week leaves very little time for me to write in a book or plan.

 

We were all so excited when our math curriculum arrived, we jumped right into starting lessons right away. Without any supporting organizing, routines or record keeping structure. So now we are briefly and loosely working on math and spelling workout A nearly daily, just for fun and to get past the parts that are review... I'd like to do 2 lessons per week to finish SM1A and start 1B with the rest of our curriculum in the fall.

 

I am realizing maybe just diving in and starting was not the best idea I've ever had, wondering when I'll have time to plan our year and make my folder system etc! Honestly the nature of our summer schedule requires us to just do math when we can, 10 am, 3 pm, 5 pm, sometimes even in the car. So it's hard to picture consistency and routine right now in our future... with all kinds of subjects to cover.

 

Thoughts? Should I just shoot for consistency in what we've already started and not start anything else? And try to very slowly over the summer implement new routines and work on the startup structure I am realizing I may badly need for the Fall? Or best to priorotize and accomplish certain essential items you think will help a startup homeschooler most and stop worrying if I need to be doing the rest?

 

I thought choosing curriculum was bad! There is so much more to still be overwhelmed by!

 

Thanks in advance!

GG

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I think there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. This is first grade! Don't over complicate. Make a plan to add in your language arts, science and history. Ride out the enthusiasm as long as you can. Don't make her stop so you can plan. I have to do all of my planning and prep over the summer since I am in school full time, work part time and do a lot of volunteering. My husband works FT and goes to school part time. I understand feeing like you have to plan it all right now, but honestly at this age it can change so much. Make a loose plan and supplies list and start small.

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SM is very much a do-the-next-thing program, assuming you are doing a bit of homework with the HIG or from other sources to learn how to implement it well for your kid.  So, I would continue doing just as your doing.  I would NOT tear out pages and put them in work folders.  I know some people do this and it works for them, but what if a lesson needs a whole week instead of a day for a kid to get it?  What if 3 lessons are done in one day because kid sails through them?  With math, we just have a set time (after breakfast, not a time on the clock per se) that we do it, and we simply "do the next thing".  I keep an eye on my kids' attention spans to know when it's time to close the book and move on.  Most often, this corresponds to one lesson a day, but sometimes it's more, and sometimes we need to split one in half because it's causing struggles.  

 

All that to say, doing it semi-regularly during the summer is a great idea and will help you get a feel for average time needed for a lesson, and how to pace to meet your kid's needs.  

 

Same thing with spelling, nothing wrong with keeping it up over the summer to avoid needing a huge review in the fall.  

 

In fact, the most common advice I see here for noobs is to start with 1-2 subjects, and once you are confident in how to teach them, how a lesson should run, and your kid is familiar with the routine for that subject, then begin to add in another subject.  So, basically, you want to ramp up slowly to a full load, rather than going from nothing to a full school day all at once because the calendar says it's the first day of school.  

 

Hopefully someone using a file folder system will chime in, because when I look at those systems from the outside, I always think they'd drive me crazy.  :-D  I don't know how users of the file system account for kids accelerating in one area or needing remediation in another.  I'm sure there's a way, I just don't know it.  :-)  

 

Another piece of advice is to figure out when you can work during the day.  We get the bulk of our work done right after breakfast, and so I try not to plan doctor's appointments, grocery trips, or play dates during that time.  Sometimes I do anyway, but I try to get a global look at our calendar and make sure I'm not planning something more than once a week that falls during our usual school hours.  We can work outside of our school hours, but I notice efficiency and concentration go downhill when we are out of our routine.  

 

Laundry system and meal plan:  probably as important to the school running smoothly as anything actually "school related"!  

 

Personally, I like Mystie Winkler's plan of working six weeks, then taking a week off to do stuff like deep clean, evaluate and tweak the school system, and plan for the upcoming six weeks.  This lowers the amount of weekly planning needed, and gives everyone a scheduled, regular break.  

 

I like the idea of work boxes theoretically, but couldn't deal with the prep/upkeep in reality.  If you only have one kid to juggle, this might work out great for you, and is certainly a great way of sneaking in little things that might otherwise be forgotten.  

 

Unless you need to, I don't think there is much record keeping needed for first grade.  The math workbook is the record for math, the spelling workbook is the record for spelling, and so on.  

 

 

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Agreeing with the others, keep it simple. First grade is an hour or two a day at most. Don't waste your time lesson planning things that are just do-the-next-thing. When my older was that age, I planned history, science and lots of field trips.  Everything else was open and go. I read through math lessons once a week and reserved new library books once every two weeks.

 

The 3 R's are the essentials and everything else is gravy. Reading, math and writing every school day, and a couple other fun things each day. Short lessons. Rotate history, science, art etc. RA will cover lots of them enjoyably with little prep.

 

Education is life. Go to the zoo, take lots of nature walks, hang out with a variety of people, help others, be outside every day if possible, listen to live music, go to library story time, learn with your child. 

 

Chore chart is good. Again keep it simple.

Basic supplies - good pencils and a sharpener, various sorts of paper, markers, paints etc.

Maps for the walls, if you don't already have them.

A whiteboard is nice. 

 

Keep plenty of unstructured play time in your days. And rest time in the afternoon! 

 

Edited by ScoutTN
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I'm very much a "do the next thing" planner. At the most I sit down on Sunday and plan what I would like to cover the following week.

 

When I was starting out, I started with one subject at a time then added another a week or so later. It worked well for me and my children. We loosely follow 6 weeks of school then a week off. It isn't always exactly 6 weeks, my kids have holiday birthdays so we may go 5 or 7 weeks if their birthday falls close to a scheduled break.

 

Good luck! I think just wrapping my mind around what our day was going to look like was very difficult.

 

Edited to fix grammar.

Edited by Rach
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I always like to start a new year gradually. If I have both new and familiar curriculum, I start something new and something familiar the first day. I might go with that for a few days and then add another new and another familiar--or I might try day one of a different new/familiar items on day 2 etc... until I had a partial day on each subject in. 

 

When my kids were in elementary grades, I used to ramp up slowly over 2-4 weeks. In high school, I ramp up much more quickly--but I still give us a chance to work out any bugs.

 

I did a series of posts on getting ready for a new year, starting with this one on priorities and passions. From there I look at creating a workable routine, implementing a new routine, and a typical day. You might find these helpful!

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I didn't schedule much the first year we started -- well, I really wanted to, and I had great ideas and lists and spreadsheets, but I had no idea how much to expect or what our daily flow would be like. So everything I decided went out the window.  It's taken a lot of time to figure out what curriculum works best for which kid, how high should my expectations be, are they crying because it's too hard or because they've had three days off and don't want to start again -- there's so much adjustment in the first year! So have a plan if you need one, but be ok with scrapping it or starting over or letting go of it that first year.  

 

That being said, I just finished a beautiful 38 week plan for this next year that is organized down to minute. (ok, somewhat of an exaggeration, but not much!)  I am so thankful to have it! Even if we only do 75 percent of it, I know that we will have done enough. 

 

And I just used excel this time -- last year I used Homeschool Planet, made a lot of changes in curriculum and days, and just gave up tracking it. At least if I abandon this it will have been free!

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I'm a planner (complete with a 36 week file folder system) but I don't plan math.  Math should progress based on mastery.  Once the concept is mastered, move on.  If the concept isn't mastered, don't move on. The amount of time and practice required to do that can vary dramatically from concept to concept.  Mastery, to me, means scoring 95% or higher. I never planned phonics either for the same reasons.

For other subjects like history I wanted to get through each Story of the World in a year and do many of the activities and recommended reading that goes with it.  That meant counting up the number of readings (each chapter has 2-4 readings in it) and dividing that number by 36.  That showed me I needed to read 2-3 readings each week to complete it in a year.  (No one is obligated to finish it in a year, but that's what I decided to do.) I looked at my calendar and made a note of which weeks would be shorter (like Thanksgiving week) and which weeks had more activities, like art class which is every 2nd, 4th and 5th Tuesday.  For the busier and shorter weeks I scheduled 2 readings and for the rest I scheduled 3.

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Do you have just one child that age or are you juggling other kids too?

 

I have an only and honestly didn't plan a thing until we got to middle school. We just did the next thing pretty much from K-4. So, don't feel like you have to make it more complicated.

Just one girl, and it'll stay that way :). All of your replies are awesome! I'll be re reading and looking at the links one of you suggested to other topics, thanks so much for your input!! Very much more calm and collected now, lol. Like one of you said it's very hard when you have no idea what realistic expectations for workload looks like!

 

I have to sub,it an enrollment to my state dept of Ed outlining our plan so I will just build lots of flexibility in my goals I submit and submit table of contents with conservative expectations.

 

I am not naturally a planner, so this helps me immensely feel confident with what I naturally wanted to do!

 

Oops! I didn't mean workbox... used the wrong word sorry!

 

Lol love it: laundry and meal planning matter just as much... Haha so true! Thanks for the advice everyone! Worth it's weight in gold!

 

- GG

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I think that you need to create/prep for as much structure as you will actually need -- not more, not less. I know this sounds very obvious, but what I mean is that it doesn't matter what other people need in order to function, it matters what you need to keep things running smoothly. To some extent, you're not really going to know what that is until you get in there and see how it goes. On the other hand, as you've discovered, it can be a bit hard, if you realize you do need more structure, to stop in the middle of your hard-won momentum to make a plan. So... over time, you will learn how you roll and what you need to have in place before you start sailing.

 

For me, there is a certain amount of prep work that must happen for me to have even one working brain cell remaining in January. I have to have a plan, a Grand Master Plan, LOL, for the entire school year. But some people are just fine with "do the next thing." They put a post-it note in a book, and that's "lesson planning." ;) If that works for you (and it might), then why plan it all out? Conversely, there are some who plan out every lesson, down to the day (or even time), and every assignment, on some sort of complicated homeschool software program. Gah! I could never do that! But I do like to have a written (typed, actually) plan in place for what we will be doing all year, just not in such painful detail.

 

What you need to function well all year long will only really come out as you implement, adjust, learn, fail, succeed, and understand yourself and your student(s) better over time. If you are willing to make changes as you go along, you will do just fine. Welcome to homeschooling! Yes, it can be overwhelming to take it "all" in at first. Everyone here is still learning. Enjoy the journey.

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We are "do the next thing" home schoolers. I use student planners to record what we actually accomplish, not to plan what I think or hope we can get done. For instance, last year I did SOTW 1 with my DD7 (who was 6 and in first grade at the time). I glanced at the table of contents and saw that there were 42 chapters. I did the math to find that we needed to do 1 or 2 chapters per week to complete it in a school year, so that's what we did, and recorded as we went. We also used Math Mammoth. She moved a little quicker through this, so we actually finished 3 books (1A/B and 2A). Next year I'm expecting to go at a similar pace, but if not, no big deal; I've not committed a ton of time planning it out so it will be easy to adjust.

 

I offer my experience with planning just to suggest that yours doesn't have to look like anyone else's. If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of a weekly folder system, or work boxes, just don't go that route. First grade can be done pretty organically and simply, and still be academically robust and rewarding.

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SM is very much a do-the-next-thing program, assuming you are doing a bit of homework with the HIG or from other sources to learn how to implement it well for your kid.  So, I would continue doing just as your doing.  I would NOT tear out pages and put them in work folders.  I know some people do this and it works for them, but what if a lesson needs a whole week instead of a day for a kid to get it?  What if 3 lessons are done in one day because kid sails through them?  With math, we just have a set time (after breakfast, not a time on the clock per se) that we do it, and we simply "do the next thing".  I keep an eye on my kids' attention spans to know when it's time to close the book and move on.  Most often, this corresponds to one lesson a day, but sometimes it's more, and sometimes we need to split one in half because it's causing struggles.  

.....

Laundry system and meal plan:  probably as important to the school running smoothly as anything actually "school related"

 

  

 

Thanks for your perspectives! When something starts to chafe and annoy dc and they want to stop do you stop immediately & kind of let them call the shots?

 

I always like to start a new year gradually. If I have both new and familiar curriculum, I start something new and something familiar the first day. I might go with that for a few days and then add another new and another familiar--or I might try day one of a different new/familiar items on day 2 etc... until I had a partial day on each subject in. 

 

When my kids were in elementary grades, I used to ramp up slowly over 2-4 weeks. In high school, I ramp up much more quickly--but I still give us a chance to work out any bugs.

 

I did a series of posts on getting ready for a new year, starting with this one on priorities and passions. From there I look at creating a workable routine, implementing a new routine, and a typical day. You might find these helpful!

thanks so much for this link I read it and it is going to help tons!
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While I don't do a lot of formal work for first grade, I would get in the habit of checking over things each week, perhaps Sunday evening.  Use that time to request library books, make a list of art or science materials to pick up, plan a few fun activities to do that week, stuff like that.

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You did the best thing from my POV! Jump right in while it is exciting, and also start with just a subject or two.

 

In addition, what worked for us was doing work by length of time spent--with timer, not by number of pages or lessons, so sometimes in a same amount of time more or less progress was made, but work never went on and on and on when it was a slog and a struggle.

 

And I did a "do the next thing" rather than lots of lesson plans as approach.

 

Sometimes we'd take off from regular core subjects and focus on art or something else in a more intense way--I guess that was as close as we got to a loop schedule, and it was not very close, but it did take into account a sort of sense of, whoa, things are getting sort of dry here with all core area subjects, how about some arts, or how about some science kits or nature study for a while.

 

And I never made a big issue of insisting on anything even if planned and purchased if there were things happening that were student initiated learning that fit the core area. That is, for example, even if I'd bought things for, say, ancient history, if my son got into 20th century events, then I let him study 20th century events... shelved the books and let him go on his own as he wished. If I thought we were doing an overview of US History, but he got more into detail about Lewis and Clark, that was fine. (These are real examples.) The only real exception to that was math which I insisted on reasonable progress in--and maybe that was not a good idea since math was always our point of homeschool stress and frustration and need for me to push and nag...not fun at all for either of us. Maybe I should have let him just have fun with math. I don't know. I was afraid he wouldn't ever and it would just not happen, unlike science and history which would.

 

For high school specific content area might be more important, but for the years we homeschooled, having a certain amount of WTM sort of focus and having gone through world history from the earliest nomads to the fall of the USSR, twice, (not exactly on the WTM plan, but over all not far off from it to have done twice through coming into the end of middle school years, more or less) on the one hand, but also allowing for a very high degree of student initiated learning (not even called "school", since that made it less happy), worked well.

 

Honestly, looking back as we come to the end and he prepares to go to public school next year, it mostly all went well from a learning point of view, except that math --the one subject that I insisted on consistent daily work being done -- was not a happy experience for us either for him as student or me as teacher, and left him not liking it much.

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Thanks for your perspectives! When something starts to chafe and annoy dc and they want to stop do you stop immediately & kind of let them call the shots?

 

 

 

Ha!  What a complicated question!  The short answer to it is "no".  The long answer is... "yes".  Lemme 'splain.  No, lemme sum up:

 

My particular parenting paradigm is that I'm the benevolent dictator.  That is, I don't wait for my kids to "want" to do anything.  I tell them to come sit down at the table, and I expect it to be done without whining or complaints.  I'm not crazy... the occasional whine escapes and I ignore it.  But if it becomes a habit, I do talk to them about it, and have them practice walking to the table and sitting down without whining a few times.  lol.  This is all it takes because i happen to be blessed with naturally good-natured kids for the most part.  

 

My long-term goal as a parent/homeschooler is to gently increases my kids' tolerance for hard work and frustration, as well as increase their attention span and concentration.  But with all of those things, it's a bit of "Lead a horse to water, can't make them drink".  I expose them to learning in a way that stretches their abilities gently, I call their attention back to their work when I see them starting to stare off into space, etc.  I remind them often that if they were getting everything right, they wouldn't really be challenged, and that I expect wrong answers, but I don't accept wrong answers for lack of effort on their part.  

 

But, what it really comes down to... the "yes" part of my answer to your question above... is that there is definitely a moment of diminishing returns.  Once their eyes are glassed over, once I am calling attention back to the page multiple times for the same simple problem, once they are making silly mistakes because they have exhausted their concentration for whatever reason... there is no point in continuing simply because we haven't hit the magic lesson length that I was hoping for.  So in this sense, they do dictate lesson length form time to time.  Not by their words, but by signs I see.  

 

So, if they don't want to continue for the silly reason that they don't want to do math that day, then of course I make them do it anyway.  But if they are mentally incapable of doing math that day, and trying to force it will lead to damage to our relationship, then I find a way to cut the lesson short and I back off.  

 

My dd has a weird math brain.  She struggles enormously with math in the afternoons, but breezes through it if we work in the mornings.  Some days, she is asking great questions about complex topics and is really engaged, some days she says stuff like "What's that symbol that's like a line with a dot above it and below it?  Does that mean "times"?" and I want to tear my own hair out.  It's like some days the math just isn't in there!  It's truly bizarre.  Otherwise, she is a strong math student working a grade level ahead.  So...  math with dd is as much about me practicing my patience and concentration as it is about her strengthening her work ethic and concentration!  

 

Well, that got long.  Haha.  Above all else, don't do anything in school time that will damage your parent-child relationship.  

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I'm going to echo the person earlier who said you do the right amount of planning that you need. 

 

Those of us homeschooling only children are not nearly as common as those working with 2+. It's very easy to get caught up in some of the recommendations that are really quite necessary when working with more than one, but that are completely unnecessary with just one student. I fell into that trap so many times from reading the board over the years, and I finally had to figure out what worked for us.

 

As I said, we were very much "do the next thing" type people. We were also very much a "gosh, we hate this; why on earth would we continue to use it just because I spent money on it" type people. 

 

I started each year with a very rough goal of what I wanted to accomplish during the year, but I followed DD's lead a lot. I tried to jot down rough notes of what we accomplished each year, and I just looked at them now and looking at the difference from like 2nd grade to 6th grade is kinda crazy. It looks like this surely must have been a completely different set of people doing this.

 

But, there is just so much change that happens in those years! I have to admit that I prefer teaching 5-8 (so far) more than K-4 because teaching those basic skills, though critical, kinda bored me to death. So, I started creating a lot of our own curriculum after we both would get frustrated with scripted curriculum, or inflexible curriculum, or boring curriculum. Gah! If most people looked at all the crazy things we tried, did, failed, succeeded, you might be amazed that she is where she is today.

 

My point is, you really gotta think about the type of learner and person your daughter is and what type of person and teacher you are. You might have to change your expectations based on the student you have, not the one you thought you'd have. I could write an essay about that topic alone!

 

So, don't devise a plan based on what works for other people. Don't be hard on yourself if the plan you try doesn't work. Be flexible. Listen and observe with your daughter. Get her discussing things with you as early as possible and have this amazing journey with her, not at her.

 

That's the summary of my advice as I am planning 7th grade for my only child! Have fun!

Edited by deerforest
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Thanks for your perspectives! When something starts to chafe and annoy dc and they want to stop do you stop immediately & kind of let them call the shots?

 

thanks so much for this link I read it and it is going to help tons!

 

No.  One complaint people who work with formerly homeschooled kids and currently homeschooled kids (in classes and co-ops) is the surprisingly high number of them who just don't do assigned work because they didn't want to.  This is not adequate preparation for life. Instilling this bad habit is setting them up to fail in the future.  When a child is annoyed or frustrated with a developmentally appropriate assignment they need encouragement and examples of coping skills from the parent, not a reason to bail. 

 

Be careful to prioritize what your child actually needs to do.  Develop a severe allergy to busy work, but don't confuse less interesting with busy.  Some skills aren't the most fun to learn but important skills are important skills none the less.  Every job and course of study has its interesting aspects and its drudgery.  Children need to be taught the ability to follow through on grunt work.  Ask any college professor, employer or coach. Again encouragement is needed.  Not that a child can't encouraged to take a few minutes to get themselves together emotionally or mentally (that's a coping skill) but they need to get back to it and follow through in a timely way.

 

Be careful to have realistic ideas about attention spans.  The younger they are, the shorter they are.  But don't enslaved to what's innate.  Consciously work on developing longer attention spans over time through narrations where they have to attend to reading so that they can summarize it back in their own words,  read alouds where they have to hold a thought in their head for GASP! until the few more minutes until the reading is done or comes to natural place to pause, picture studies where they have to look at a fairly complex piece of art for a while and then answer some questions about it while not looking at it, of waiting for mom to finish a conversation without interrupting unless they're bleeding from their eyeballs,  of having to finish school then their assigned chores before they can play, and things like that. 

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. My usual week leaves very little time for me to write in a book or plan.

 

 

 

 

Remember that it's not all or nothing.  You can plan and prep some subject(s) and do the next thing in others.

 

Personality and circumstances like this play a big role here and have to be factored in.  I've done years of do the next thing and I've done years of planning the 36 week file folder system.  Many people advocate one or the other without having done both, so they can't compare and contrast them.  They can tell you if what they're doing is working for them or not.

 

If you don't want to or can't plan on weeknights and weekends, then you should seriously consider planning some or all of it in advance. I'm only homeschooling 1 kid and have been for 3 years now and I find having most subjects planned out in advance frees up all kinds of time and energy for me in the school year. When my kid is done with school for the day, I'm done too.  My weekends are mine to enjoy.

 

If you know you want to get through a certain amount of content in a certain amount of time, then you should probably plan some or all of it in advance. That of course, don't mean every detail of what's been planned has to be done, we all have to set priorities and deal with daily circumstances where the most important things are done and secondary things are skipped, but at least a year planned out means there's a start point and an end point, and a sense of how much I'm getting done and how much I have left to do.

 

If you're anticipating additional stress in your life during your year, then you should probably plan and prep some or all of it.  I've homeschooled through a crisis more than once and having it planned out and prepped to made it much easier to keep going.  It was already there in a handy format and we could grab it and take it with us.

 

Having it planned out and prepped makes it easier to teach a child to work independently.  This is huge.  So many homeschoolers get in a bind because they do the next thing and don't have it all ready to go then something happens  because mom is occupied at the moment with whatever (this happens to parents of only children too) and school is derailed. Time and opportunity are lost.  When a child has a day or more of assignments sitting there and gets stuck on math and mom can't intervene at that very moment,  they have all their assignments in all their other subjects sitting there waiting for them.  Surely there's something there they can work on without mommy. No time is lost, no one is getting farther behind, and the critically important skill set of working independently is being developed at developmentally appropriate levels.  Kids should be getting more and more of this as they get older  even when mom is available so that the transition to adult education is easy. It's not a flip that switches for most people, it's something they work at over time.

 

 

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Thanks for your perspectives! When something starts to chafe and annoy dc and they want to stop do you stop immediately & kind of let them call the shots?

 

thanks so much for this link I read it and it is going to help tons!

 

 

It really depends on the situation and on the child, I think, and even on the child's age and stage.

 

We've given up curriculum that neither of us liked, or that I had chosen but that he really hated, though also by around 3rd grade he was having input into the curriculum materials and also (except for math) what he wanted to study to a large degree. That is, I might say he needed to do science, but he could choose astronomy or biology, for example. And he could choose if he wanted to find books of interest at the library and read them mainly, or mainly work on "experiment" kits.

 

Another area that was difficult for my son is that he had reading problems, and until that was reasonably remediated--he will always be dyslexic, but now he is a dyslexic reader instead of a dyslexic nonreader-- I insisted on him working on his reading by setting timer lengths, gradually increasing the amount of time per session. I started with very little at 5 min per session several times per day--which was enough to annoy and chafe--but was something I insisted on. Eventually he got to where all he wanted to do was read (fiction), and while on occasion I allowed that, generally I would call him away from his reading to work on other things that also needed to be done. But the curriculum chosen was one that worked for kids with dyslexia and was a good fit for him, while several attempts were given up as wrong matches to his needs.

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Having it planned out and prepped makes it easier to teach a child to work independently. This is huge. So many homeschoolers get in a bind because they do the next thing and don't have it all ready to go then something happens because mom is occupied at the moment with whatever (this happens to parents of only children too) and school is derailed. Time and opportunity are lost. When a child has a day or more of assignments sitting there and gets stuck on math and mom can't intervene at that very moment, they have all their assignments in all their other subjects sitting there waiting for them. Surely there's something there they can work on without mommy. No time is lost, no one is getting farther behind, and the critically important skill set of working independently is being developed at developmentally appropriate levels.

 

 

I will have days when I will have to be able to walk away from the table...

1)

My DH is probably planning to provide me with uninterrupted hours during the morning for our homeschool routine come the Fall when he considers we are really starting. ( we have already started anyway, lol) But in general we have a highly flexible, stressful, and unstructured work day that constantly changes minute to minute depending on the financial markets, immediate clients needs, etc.

 

So I am currently in a lifestyle of racing around putting out fires. Not always fun but good $ and I get to stay home and homeschool! We are starting early without dedicated morning time by pulling books out when an opportunity presents itself after everyone is fed and current fires are put out, lol. We are getting more done than I expected! Not ideal for sure and still light on number of subjects but it is summer after all.

 

2)

DD really craves independence. REALLY craves independence.

 

I think come fall we will prioritize a routine for school and I will only respond to fire alarms after noon, but even so, a part of me still wants to be able to operate at an avg to high level even if life / work / crisis intervenes like you said ^^^, without school being derailed.

 

With that in mind from where I sit now it would help to:

-Choose curriculum wisely to promote independence( I think I did well here)

-Provide chore chart and visual calendar / checklist of expectations, and provide "things to do if mommy has to be busy with something else" for 20 mins.

-provide lots of interesting books and audiobooks or other related things to occupy. Be strict with no device /tv policy because she makes great choices when they're not allowed.

-discipline myself to structure my own workload around school and earn the time for routine

-do something so I don't have to get out the next thing for DD.

 

Any thoughts or other threads on topic please chime in!

 

if I wanted to allow her to work ahead independently by pulling out extra sheets I think I could safely do this with:

 

Spelling within reason, up to end of unit

Phonics (etc 3) - sky's the limit

Reading - unlimited

Handwriting

Math just outside practice sheets not working ahead in curriculum

 

 

My gut tells me my best bet will be for me to spend time planning dd independent fun reviewing style activities or sheets rather than provide extra lessons to work ahead.

 

Ooh!! I can also lay in and plan ahead a supply of some special independent lesson plan surprises and games! oh yay. That's the ticket :)

 

Wow thinking this through and recording thoughts for public consumption has really helped me develop a better understanding of my needs and some great ideas!!

 

Thx for the soapbox!

-GG

Edited by Shred Betty
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Ok gotta log this idea for surprise review game for if I get pulled away:

 

Provide flash cards with review across many topics. If she can self-study them and they are challenging, when I return to school the number she successfully absorbed and can prove mastery over determines the number of push-ups she gets to make me do or number of minutes spent running around outside or something else fun.

 

Uh oh I love these crazy ideas but I don't want her unable to just tackle the boring and mundane in life. Lol

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I'm not a flashcard fan so there isn't much I can say beyond that.  When it came to memorizing math facts we used music (Math U See's skip counting songs) and a computer game (Reflex Math.) For phonics we used flashcards very briefly and then real books for the older two then Phonics/Reading Pathways for the youngest.  I'm not a fan of most readers because I think they can erode a love of reading, so we're into real books fairly quickly.

 

One thing people have to remember is that not every kid is naturally inclined to work independently, so many have to be trained.  Training takes time. There are stages. It's rare that a switch magically flips and a child with no internal motivation and diligence gets some all of a sudden.  This applies to academics and chores.

1. The parent explains, demonstrates and models the new concept several times.

2. The parent has the child explain and demonstrate the new concept back.  (This can take time and practice.)
3. The parent gives the child an assignment that includes the new concept.

4. The child then reads the directions out loud to the parent (or the parent reads the directions to them if the child is a pre-reader.)

5. The child paraphrases the directions to the parent. 
6. The parent has the child look at the examples if there are any and has the child explain how the examples were done.

7. The parent has the child complete the first problem in front of the parent.

If all of that is done correctly, the child is ready to do the assignment independently. If not, whatever steps need to be redone are redone by the parent.
8. The child does the assignment next to the parent. 
9. The parent watches to see if the child is staying on task.  It not, the parent brings the child's attention back to the assignment as many times as is necessary.

10. The parent is available to clarify any misunderstandings or confusions or to direct the child back to the examples as needed.

If a child is working well beside the parent consistently for a while, then the parent can consider not being so close and attentive.

11. The parent is in the room keeping an eye on the child working independently.

If a child is working well in the same room consistently for a while then the parent can consider being out of the room for shorter periods of time.

12. The child can work independently in a room without mom for longer periods of time.

 

Start with one assignment and after that's gone well for a while then assign a few, then a day's worth, then a few days' worth, then a week's worth, but don't assume that just because a kid did it well once or twice they're reading to move to the next phase. It can vary dramatically how long it takes a child to learn to work independently. Not everything can be independent.  The early years are very intensive and demand so much more one on one for even the most motivated students so be careful you keep child development in mind and assess regularly whether or not the child is truly ready to move to the next stage based on what you're seeing during school, and not what because you need it for work to go more smoothly. 

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One thing people have to remember is that not every kid is naturally inclined to work independently, so many have to be trained. Training takes time. There are stages. It's rare that a switch magically flips and a child with no internal motivation and diligence gets some all of a sudden. This applies to academics and chores.

...

 

11. The parent is in the room keeping an eye on the child working independently.

If a child is working well in the same room consistently for a while then the parent can consider being out of the room for shorter periods of time.

12. The child can work independently in a room without mom for longer periods of time.

 

Start with one assignment and after that's gone well for a while then assign a few, then a day's worth, then a few days' worth, then a week's worth, but don't assume that just because a kid did it well once or twice they're reading to move to the next phase. It can vary dramatically how long it takes a child to learn to work independently. Not everything can be independent. The early years are very intensive and demand so much more one on one for even the most motivated students so be careful you keep child development in mind and assess regularly whether or not the child is truly ready to move to the next stage based on what you're seeing during school, and not what because you need it for work to go more smoothly.

Great info, thanks!

"Applies to academics and chores" separately I hope! - I think my dd7 is at number 12 for academics, number 4 or lower for chores lol! I am loving this thx for sharing! Gonna start applying it to chores ASAP!

I'm a little worried about WWE. She gets a look when she sees that book. I'm going to try reading her the goals in the intro - see if she responds better when I show I respect her enough to give her more info on the big picture goal and progression. I think she is the one that's going to be designing routines and schedules. Within reason of course! She has been talking about couch time together first thing and now I see that that's an actual "thing" in the world of homeschooling. Also wants Friday's off haha!

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I've done a 4 day school week for years because Homeschool PE starts at 10:30 on Thursdays and the kids like to stay and socialize and getting a kid to focus after that is an uphill battle.  Because I plan by the week it's worked out well to have 5 days of school prepped and ready to go so we can work at it a little longer 4 days a weeks and have Thursday off. My older kids liked it because they knew they could go to a midnight showing the day a movie came out (late Thursday, early morning Friday) and sleep in on Friday because they did 5 days of school in 4 longer days. 

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