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Executive Functioning: Keeping track of online class assignments

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This is a bit of a "spin-off" from the thread on notebooks and binders, which I am really enjoying! 

My oldest son is taking mostly online classes next year, and I am looking for a process for helping him learn to keep track of assignments, due dates, and other things he needs to do each day.   Previously, we used homeschool planet, and I would copy and paste all of his assignments from each online class into one single checklist.   This worked REALLY well because I could import in our digital calendar as a subscription, and even input in chores and reminders (read your bible, workout, feed the cat, etc.).   This would let us know if he needed to "double up" and work ahead if he had a dentist appointment or something.   And it also gave me one single place to check to see if he got his assignments done for the day instead of logging into many different online providers.   (We have multiple children, so I end up having to check over 20 classes most days.  I am sure many can relate.). Another benefit was that it was digital....meaning I could edit it on the fly when *I* happened to remember something I needed him to do and he wasn't around.  In other words, it kept me from forgetting things too!   (For example, I might notice that he is missing a bunch of similar types of problems in math and I can quickly add "review ch. 6 and reattempt missed problems" to his checklist before I forget.)

The downside to this system is that *I* am doing all of the organizing and planning for him.  For example, if he is assigned a mid-term essay or research project, I tend to break it down into smaller daily tasks and put them on his checklist.   Same thing with quizzes.  If I see a test is ahead, I will add daily study sessions.   Basically, I am acting as his brain.   

I am debating how to handle things next year as he moves into high school.   On one hand, we have a system that works.  Maybe I shouldn't mess with it.  On the other hand, perhaps I should be slowly handing these important executive functioning skills over to him.  Perhaps I am doing too much for him and cheating him out of some important study skills that he will need prior to college.   I've been looking at the "Order out of Chaos" planners online and wondering if we should try to transition to this type of thing.   Or do I keep it simple and just have a list of subjects he must do each day and tell him to refer to the online class pages.  (Why replicate work the teachers have already done? Right?)


SO--my question is:   If you have a high schooler who takes a lot of online/outside classes, how does your student keep track of assignments and due dates?   I am especially interested in hearing from people who do not use a single provider.   And I am especially interested in hearing from people who have kids who aren't naturally organized.   

Edited by TheAttachedMama
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For oldest ds and I, it means sitting down with every.single.syllabus. and organizing due dates together into weekly checklists.  Ds took some online classes through high school, as well as DE classes, AND being enrolled at the B&M school.  Learning to juggle meant creating a word document broken out by weeks at the beginning of the semester, along with extra slots for assignments added.  By the time he went off to college, he was creating excel spreadsheets to add in things like class times, study groups, and "Final check" of assignments.


I still make mine as word documents for the semester.  I can go through each week and check items off, since they're in due date order AND piece order, so I add things like "study for quiz".

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ETA-we're similar to HomeAgain, but using the Google stuff shares more easily for us.

I only have one left at home but DH and I work full time, have a side gig, aging parents, etc. Lots of moving parts.

Right now we're using a shared Google Doc for home courses/ things I don't want dd to forget/ early stages of college planning. The bullet point drop down had an interactive checklist. You could probably do the same thing with Google Keep, which I also have as an app on my phone. 

Dd takes this info and blocks it into her planner (It's a weekly agenda style- so like a teacher planner (or MP planner) but with times instead of subjects. This way she can plug in work, extracurricular, work outs, etc. 

Is it possible for a student to have a Homeschool Planet log-in?

You will probably still need to facilitate getting online stuff onto Google Doc/Keep list (or whatever you end up doing) for at least 9th grade.

Good luck!

Edited by MamaSprout
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1 hour ago, TheAttachedMama said:

The downside to this system is that *I* am doing all of the organizing and planning for him.  For example, if he is assigned a mid-term essay or research project, I tend to break it down into smaller daily tasks and put them on his checklist.   Same thing with quizzes.  If I see a test is ahead, I will add daily study sessions.   Basically, I am acting as his brain.  

I think that one thing that would help him start to get ready for college is having him input those daily study sessions for himself. He'll still need prompting at this age, I am sure, but just the idea of breaking that up and adding it to your own calendar would be a huge step-up.

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DS15 isn’t organized and he is my “slow” worker. I “let go” in middle school for classes he can get a bad grade in with no consequences e.g. AoPS classes, foreign language classes. 

Every morning, he checks all the different systems and emails. For example, in 8th grade he had three online providers while his chinese and german teachers uses email. He did dedicate a day to chemistry and a day to physics. 

For 10th grade, all his outsourced classes are dual enrollment classes at one community college. So now he only have one Canvas system to check. 

We had paper planners but my teens didn’t find them beneficial. My husband and I don’t find paper planners useful either whether as a student or as an employee. However, my teens do make use of their phones’ calendar and to do lists apps, as well as canvas app. 

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Nothing has worked for us here as well. Couple of times we had a very detailed syllabus provided by a teacher and those were godsend. I basically printed them, highlighting all exam and homework deadlines and put the syllabus into his textbook. As he pulled a textbook to study, he could check on a syllabus. 
I bought a big table calendar but he won’t use it. Online systems take too much work. I am still hoping the giant paper calendar can be somehow revived this year. 

This kid is also very low on executive function with serious attention issues.  

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My kids are split between using online calendar apps and paper planners. Cozi is nice because you can color-code different streams of schedules, and it’s simple to use; it’s not a fancy student planner; it’s just a calendar app.

In early high school, I’d help them get it set up by printing their syllabi, highlighting the important bits, and helping them transfer that information to their planners (because they would eventually lose the syllabus lol). That key info had to include instructor name and contact info and office hours, not just assignments.

By the end of high school, they had to be responsible for doing that themselves, and for following up by keeping track of assignments themselves. This means I had to be willing to let them take a zero now and then when they goofed up— better in high school than later in college or in the workplace. In reality, that occasional failure for bright but asynchronous kids who were not used to “failing” anything was good for them— they learned they HAD to keep track; they learned the world would not end if they were not perfect; they learned how to bounce back from a problem, and they learned how to self-advocate and how to communicate with their instructors if they had a problem, because I wasn’t doing it for them.

Whether they are college-bound or employment-bound after high school, you do want to give them a couple of years worth of experience managing their schedules before they have to do it on their own, so you can help talk them through it the first few times they screw it up; because it almost certainly will happen.


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