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I've been thinking about how often we change things around a bit in response to how things are going for a given kid. I'm noticing that we do minor course corrections all the time -- probably around once a month for DD8. For instance, after our virus project, we were kind of tired of doing lots of writing, so we moved writing practice into math proofs. We were having trouble with longer blocks of Russian cartoons (DD8 was getting tired and unfocused), so we rescheduled to have it more often and in shorter blocks. I noticed that math was taking too long, so we jumped into a month of drilling. 

How about the rest of you? How often do you do minor course corrections like the ones I listed? 

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The plan for DD16 was to watch the trig videos from Video Text before jumping into Chalkdust Precalc for some big picture conceptual stuff before starting on the nuts and bolts, but it wasn't really clicking with her so we just jumped right in to Chalkdust instead. That happened just this week.

Last month I didn't really like the Gov course she was doing either and I found a different option and we scrapped plan A and went with plan B instead.

I'm contemplating how to help DD12 navigate the increased demands of 7th grade and overcome her slacker/put in the bare minimum effort tendencies. That will definitely involve some course correction but I'm not sure what it will look like yet. 

Is that what you mean? If so, then yes we do it pretty much constantly 🙄

 

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As often as needed for home classes. I kind of wish I had version tracking on the course description database our cover school uses, because the plan of study I put in at the beginning of the semester rarely even came close to matching the one at the end, especially those first few years (For example, we had quite a few years where I started out listing "Singapore Math 3A-B with IP and CWP" and ended up sounding like I was trying to create a new version of the 12 days of Christmas or something because I had so many books and levels listed in the effort to stay one step ahead (AoPS finally got her to a more reasonable pace) Obviously, that can't be the case with outside classes that are a fixed duration/syllabus, but practice course correcting comes in handy when the student realizes that the online instruction isn't adequate and has to supplement. 

 

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1 minute ago, Momto6inIN said:

Is that what you mean? If so, then yes we do it pretty much constantly 🙄

Yep, that's exactly what I mean! Nothing radical, just changes that shake things up a bit. And we also seem to do it basically constantly. Not so often that we don't get into nice grooves, but there's always something that needs tweaking 🙂  .

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With a toddler whose nap is important but sometimes irregular and who loves finding scissors, markers, and paint, it's very hard to get in a solid groove. I try to view this as having a benefit in that I'm constantly evaluating what the most important goals are each day and working to meet those goals. I'm looking forward to a bit more stability in future years. I imagine I will do some  minor tweaks on a weekly basis and larger ones monthly, at least in the elementary years. Kids learn in such unexpected fits and starts that I can't imagine being able to plan out further than that.

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Regularly. With DS, math is a roller coaster of speed up, slow down, switch over to this program for a bit NOPE time to switch back to that one, etc. 🤪 For handwriting I am making things up (just creating copywork from books he's reading or from topics in other subjects), and I pick one thing at a time for him to focus on improving, so I'm constantly evaluating whether he has mastered the current skill and what I should have him do next. 

With the girls, I've recently started creating overlapping assignments between history and writing. I don't want to overload them with writing assignments, so I'm having them do what's assigned in writing, but with history topics. For Latin for DD#1, I realized I needed to do a better job incorporating Roman history, so I ended up devoting one day a week to that. I'm also thinking about doing more with their literature assignments than "read" and "tell me about what you read," so I'm trying to figure out what path I'd like to take for that. 

DD#1 usually prefers to watch the free AOPS videos and then do the exercises for the lesson, but she is on the last chapter that has videos available, so that's going to change soon. (I asked her if she wants me to occasionally wear a jacket and sunglasses while explaining things to her so I can be "that other guy," but she said no. 😄 )

So yeah...pretty often, if those are the sorts of things you mean.

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I didn't course correct much because I planned flexibility into each year.  The way I heard it, being able to do spontaneous field trips and establish your own schedule is one of the great benefits of homeschooling, and so I avoided boxing us in too much to do that.  The 'do the next thing' curricula were math and to some extent grammar, but other than that, though regular in doin all subjects, we were pretty non-standardized about exactly how to go about that.

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I would like to add!

This is the biggest difference between how people talk about homeschooling now vs. 20 years ago when I started—back then everyone talked about family closeness, setting your own schedule, going on vacation while everyone else was in school and avoiding the crowded, ditto field trips to museums (go in the afternoon; the school trips will be gone by then, that kind of thing), and schooling year round but more lightly than regular school to be able to take time off in non-standard times.  It was sort of routine to hear that people took 4-6 weeks off for the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s period, and that people rearranged their entire schedule when a good play or a blue bird nature day popped up.  

Folks, if you aren’t considering this, think about it!  It can work with boxed curricula as well.  And it makes life SO MUCH SWEETER.

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Just now, Carol in Cal. said:

I would like to add!

This is the biggest difference between how people talk about homeschooling now vs. 20 years ago when I started—back then everyone talked about family closeness, setting your own schedule, going on vacation while everyone else was in school and avoiding the crowded, ditto field trips to museums (go in the afternoon; the school trips will be gone by then, that kind of thing), and schooling year round but more lightly than regular school to be able to take time off in non-standard times.  It was sort of routine to hear that people took 4-6 weeks off for the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s period, and that people rearranged their entire schedule when a good play or a blue bird nature day popped up.  

Folks, if you aren’t considering this, think about it!  It can work with boxed curricula as well.  And it makes life SO MUCH SWEETER.

While I agree with you, I'm not sure it's related to my question 🙂 . We do make our schedule, and we're using no boxed curriculum at all. My question was more about how often you have to tweak HOW you do things 😄 .

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

While I agree with you, I'm not sure it's related to my question 🙂 . We do make our schedule, and we're using no boxed curriculum at all. My question was more about how often you have to tweak HOW you do things 😄 .

Yes, I used my other answer as more of a jumping off point.  Stepping down from the soapbox and backing away now.

OK, wait.  So, to me tweaking how I did things came from that attitude of flexible constancy.  So, for instance, when DD turned into a strong writer that actually like to write, after years of tearing my hair out that this would never happen, I had a couple of options that would reward that, and I offered them to her to pick from.  I could not have done that if I had been committed to a set curriculum and/or a set schedule, and if she had been struggling.  So I adjusted to what was available to us, AND to what she needed and would enjoy.  Same with science—the year she was invited onto a robotics team, I rejiggered our whole plan for the Fall semester science work to complement that.  I tweaked how she learned it to that very hands on team because it popped up as available to us, unexpectedly, and then built everything else around it.  That is part of adaptation—taking advantage of opportunities thanks to being flexible all along.

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4 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Yes, I used my other answer as more of a jumping off point.  Stepping down from the soapbox and backing away now.

Hahahaha, I don't mind!! I also love being able to structure our life in a way that's convenient. I just wanted to be clear that it's not that we're usually rigid 🙂 . All of our stuff is currently homegrown. 

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My kids, and especially my older, are big fans of knowing what the plan is, so I don't change our usual routine unless there's a reason.  But, we also don't have any problem with saying that we need to take a break to work on math another way, or take a few extra days to work on something.  Before we start in the fall I lay out the plan based on what I think they need and how we want to do it.  In the first few weeks we talk as we sort through how to set up our typical week.  Sometimes we drop or change at this point - usually it's something minor, but I'd make a big change if we needed to.  Then we just follow our plan until we run into problems, whether with scheduling, missing skills, needing more time because something is coming along more slowly, whatever.  Some semesters we hardly change anything, with the exception of the occasional adjustment because something takes longer or less time than expected.  Other times we stop and truly change plans for a month or indefinitely.  We do another major check-in at the end of fall/start of spring semesters, where I ask what is working and what isn't.  They are usually happy to continue with the current plan.  Sometimes small changes make a big difference - when one kid complained about the geography program, it turned out that the problem was with writing the country names on the map.  When I suggested using our pin-it maps on labeling days, the problem was solved without any real change.  If only all problems were solved so easily!  

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On 10/17/2020 at 7:34 PM, Not_a_Number said:

I've been thinking about how often we change things around a bit in response to how things are going for a given kid. I'm noticing that we do minor course corrections all the time -- probably around once a month for DD8. For instance, after our virus project, we were kind of tired of doing lots of writing, so we moved writing practice into math proofs. We were having trouble with longer blocks of Russian cartoons (DD8 was getting tired and unfocused), so we rescheduled to have it more often and in shorter blocks. I noticed that math was taking too long, so we jumped into a month of drilling. 

How about the rest of you? How often do you do minor course corrections like the ones I listed? 

Minor? Almost daily - oh, they're tired today, let's tackle this tomorrow.  Wow! We have really just been spending our days doing math, let's switch it up.

But, we do a little of a lot (subjects) all day long - I'm not a block person.  Perhaps this is the downside of blocking/units?  I'm not sure.  But, for the example you mentioned (Math), I think it's worthwhile to pay close attention, note trends, and make MINOR adjustments like adding in drilling, etc.  I think this adjusting to meet the needs of a child on an individual or small group basis is the foundational strength of homeschooling.

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I had to change like that with dd a LOT. We ds, honestly I do it very little. I don't know if I've gotten better at learning how to predict/chunk his needs or he's easier. Though you tell me how in the WORLD a kid with ASD2, language disabilities, SLDs, etc. is easier and we'll go with that, lol. 

The road to maturity is lined with mistakes. I don't know, I'm making that up. 

But I will say one thing I do better is finding small sources that actually fit him and dividing them into chunks for a brief plan (so we don't get bored, so he doesn't outgrow them), and then plowing through. So I don't buy ONE THING and expect it to last NINE MONTHS. I buy a workbook and use it over 6 weeks, maybe 8. Boom. So it either fits RIGHT NOW or it doesn't. No theories, no later, no oops I outgrew it. Just right now, this is what we're doing and we really do it.

Maybe I was listening to the "how to homeschool" voices too much that were saying you get a planner and write it all out and have a plan and junk. Reality is, sometimes the best thing you can do for some kids is to GET OUT OF THE WAY of their learning. Only schedule/plan/coordinate what they can't/won't do for themselves. Facilitate as much as possible. Create generic plans (write something every day, spell something every day, etc.) that can be flexible with her changes. And then consider ADHD meds if the kid is flighty and doing the Mary Poppins, gone with the wind thing like my dd was.

I guess you could say I become comfortable with the discomfort of having a short plan rather than a semester plan or a year plan.

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I lesson-plan eight weeks at a time.  If something is really not working I’ll consider 1) What did I intend that activity to accomplish? 2) Do I still think that is an important goal? If not, trash it and move on. 3) Is it a goal that the child is not ready for? If so, identify what needs to be worked on first or a more age-appropriate interim goal and file this one for later. 4) If the goal is important and appropriate but the activity is not working then what can I replace it with that will accomplish the goal?
 

Example:  my 12 y.o. is doing an American Studies year combined with African-American, Native American, and Lantinx young adult literature. We’re working on bigger projects for writing, so he’s writing one paper a month that he works on every-other day, heavily scaffolded into note taking, outlining, drafting, and revising. That part is going well, but because it focuses on one paper for so long I wanted to be sure he was also interacting with the daily material that he reads, so I made a workbook with shorter activities and discussion questions and scheduled that on alternate days with the longer writing work. He’s loving everything about this course except the workbook. He hates it. I was kind of dreading making the next eight weeks of it, so we’re agreed there. We’ve talked about it and decided instead he’s going to make presentation slides once a week with four interesting things from the reading that week and once a month record a video presentation to send to his grandparents. If that goes well we’ll keep it. If not, we’ll try something else. 

 

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It takes us 2 weeks to settle into a year and then I try to maintain the course as is, adjusting quarterly.

This year I cut the Japanese workbook in half and added a reader, added history read alouds to our non school day, dropped math one day a week to do all of history and science projects in one day, added a timelime last minute, and dropped writing for DD7. That should get us through the year for the most part.

I take special exception to PE and life skills which vary widely.

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On 10/24/2020 at 1:47 PM, Slache said:

It takes us 2 weeks to settle into a year and then I try to maintain the course as is, adjusting quarterly.

This year I cut the Japanese workbook in half and added a reader, added history read alouds to our non school day, dropped math one day a week to do all of history and science projects in one day, added a timelime last minute, and dropped writing for DD7. That should get us through the year for the most part.

I take special exception to PE and life skills which vary widely.

I had planned on P.E. being outside for another month at least.  I did not plan on eight inches of snow in the middle of October!

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2 hours ago, Danae said:

I had planned on P.E. being outside for another month at least.  I did not plan on eight inches of snow in the middle of October!

Snow shoveling 101! And hot chocolate making for life skills. :biggrin:

Mine went swimming all week.

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