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8filltheheart- Questions about Homeschooling at the Helm.

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I am re-reading your book Homeschooling at the Helm and I have a “technical†question. I believe you use the Catholic pfaum planners for your children. However in your book, the daily lesson plans are long. How do you manage to squeeze them into your planner? Do you have in two planning tools for your students to refer to? The pfaum planner and a detailed daily plans as written in your book?


Also you mentioned buying your own copy and annotating Here be Dragons. Do you also buy your own copy of the history, science and literature books?

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My annotations are really for when I am brainstorming a course design. I don't usually annotate science or history books as much as just mark with sticky tabs or make notes, so no, I don't buy my own copy (that could also get really expensive.) The goal is for me to know the big picture goals and have a framework designed. My annotations and notes remind me what I want to plug in where. Without them, I forget.


Our real life lesson planners don't exactly resemble the the lessons in the book. I wrote them in the book that way so readers could get a sense for what they can accomplish with their students. What I write in my kids' planners is just enough to remind me what I want them to do. We have been doing this this way for so long that my short-hand notes are often enough for the kids to immediately know what I expect. We also meet to discuss purpose/expectations before they start sections/books/specific topics, etc. During those discussions, I clarify what is in their planners.


There are also some assignments where I staple in extra pages with written notes to them. There are some subjects where I might write down the entire column with information that pertains to the entire week's assignments. I interact with my kids multiple times during the day, so we discuss what they are doing all the time.


Does that help?

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Thought of another question, when you ask the student to annotate 20 000, I assume you are providing him with his own copy to mark. What about books like Journey through Bookland? My seventh grader and I love the series but they are too expensive for us to mark up. Do you use post-it notes like those in your history/science books?


I appreciate you walking through the practical aspect of recording teaching notes. I can foresee even using the planner to record literature paper topics as they come up in our discussions instead of trying to guess what topics my children will be passionate about before reading. I’m hoping that by trying out some of your methods we will see a more purposeful yet organic discussions/lesson plan with my children.

Edited by Genevieve
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Gosh, in terms of my short-hand, it really is just what my laziness has developed over time.   :leaving:  For reading assignments, I just write page numbers. So if they see pg #s and nothing else, they know it is a reading assignment.  :tongue_smilie:   I use R for research and I might just jot down a brief note that means something to me.  If they can't interpret what the note means, they know they need to come and talk to me. D w/me means discuss with me.  Again, I may just write down a key word or 2 b/c I will know what it means, or I might write down a pg number which means I have the info in my annotated notes on that pg.  Etc.  It is just my way of reminding myself what we are supposed to be doing or to give them guidance on what they should be doing.  When things need to be explicit, I write it all out.


2 of my daughters have their own copies of JtB.  One definitely writes in hers.  She took Adler's advice to heart and believes 100% that a book without writing in it is a sign of a book not loved.  She "converses" with her books.  She writes notes, asks questions, illustrates, highlights, draws arrows, references allusions, etc.  Most of my kids will all do that with cheap copies of books, but some of them won't do it in their nicer books.  Commonplace books are another way to get them engaged in a form of engagement (but not quite annotation) outside of the actual text itself.  My girls and 1 son do have notebooks where they write out favorite quotes and sort of "diary" around the quote.  A huge purpose behind encouraging that practice is that it makes them more aware of the impact of certain wording, deeper meanings, etc vs surface reading.  My kids now tend to get excited about their "finds" in their reading which has the added bonus of positively reinforcing the practice.  :lol:


But, yes, sticky tabs are a habit.  Sometimes I will photocopy a specific page to write notes all over.  Other times I will just grab a spiral notebook and scrawl my chicken scratch notes stream of consciousness style so that all of those ideas are captured when I have them.  (Then I have to make sure I don't lose the notebook!)


Then, truth be told, there are other times that I just completely and totally wing it b/c sometimes, life just happens. (Obviously NOT a recommended approach.)

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I appreciate the lazy! I have eight kids of my own - five I’m currently homeschooling and three kindergarten and under. I need things efficient! It would have never occurred for me to go down to initials, just numbers and just a word or two. It seems so obvious now that you have explained it!


Also, what are your expectations when you write “Identify Archduke Ferdinand†in their lesson plans?


Gosh! What an unexpected wealth of information regarding annotation! I feel like you have taken Adler’s approach and commonplace book which I took to be more copywork and took it up a notch. It reminds me of how my understanding of copy work/writing and grammar took a giant leap forward when I used TC.


So to clarify, you have notes in your planners, annotated books, and spiral notebooks. Do you have a spiral notebook per child? Per book? How do you keep it organized? I’m trying to imagine keeping my notes for five students simple but effective.


Truly, thank you for being so patient and generous.

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