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Planning/recordkeeping poll


How do you physically record your plans/records (and comment why this method)?  

  1. 1. How do you physically record your plans/records (and comment why this method)?

    • I use a homeschool planning/tracking software.
      38
    • I use the computer and design my own planning/tracking files.
      39
    • I use a traditional paper teacher planner book.
      19
    • I use my own paper planner book (like a calendar or binder, etc.).
      44
    • I don't write out plans/keep formal records.
      21
    • Other.
      16


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I'm currently using treacher planner books that I get from a teacher supply store. I suppose I am a tactile person, in that I like having it physically in front of me and can write on it. I use it both for planning, and then edit it as we go along so I have a record afterwards.

 

This year in particular I'm feeling it's too cumbersome; if we get off track it's a lot of wasted effort to go back and erase and fix everything, kwim? I'm worried if I use a computer program, though, that I won't keep up with it - like it will be an added task; for example, if I print out a weekly calendar page, then make edits as to what we actually accomplish, I then need to go back and update that in the computer. Maybe this is something I need to just get in the habit of doing and get over it.

 

We are registered with an umbrella school, and I send in semester reports of what we do. Having it on the computer would probably help a bit in that, but already it isn't such a task to write down from my planning book.

 

Anyway, I'm not happy with how I'm doing it now, and would like to see how others are doing things to maybe try out something new...

 

tia!

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I'm rethinking the physical part of my planning/recordkeeping, and would value seeing how others go about it.

 

Well, quite honestly, I am pathetic!!

 

Every year I sit down with my pile of books and my deer in the headlights look. What do I do with all this cr@p??? And the I throw it all back on the shelf...thinking I'll figure it all out as I go. The task of planning it all is just overwhelming, time consuming and wasteful when I could be using that time to play or teach my kids...or do my ever mounting pile of laundry and dishes

 

I have 4 kids schooling at home, 2 at the CC and one who is married and on her own. That makes 4 math programs, 4 LA which includes readers, 4 grammar books, 4 levels of writing assignments, History with 4 levels of extra reading which amounts to 80 readers, 10-15 read alouds, science books experiment kits, art projects to plan, Bible Memorization, poetry memorization, fact memorization, Historical documents memorization, Latin....

 

OY VEY!!!!!!

 

One time I spent the entire summer writing out my own teachers manual ala sonlight style...day by day...and 2 weeks in...I was sunk!!!!

 

So, my solution was to purchase curricula that we do the next thing in. I also make lists...lots of lists ...by subject and child. That way I can plan out a subject and cross off what we did...or memorized ...or substituted....or ditched and added in. This way when we discovered that we LOVE Little Pear, i was not guilty about falling off my schedule and getting the other Little Pear books from the library to read to my kiddoes.

 

My lists are in a notebook and I can copy them onto an assignment list for my kiddoes and myself.

 

I also make up a master plan by subject...NOT by content.

 

So...I have Math and then 5 lines where I write in what we covered and what needs to be reviewed or what was mastered.

 

Bible...5 lines and I write in what we read/ discussed and I have a note what verses we are memorizing.

 

Science says Tues/ Thurs materials needed....then I copy the topic in.

 

 

I do this for each subject.

 

At the beginning of the year I decide what I want to cover...and what I want mastered...but I don't give us a written in stone due date...

 

My planning has become a help to me and my kids...not a ball and chain to point out what a failure I am....

 

HTH,

Faithe (the frustrated planner)

Edited by Mommyfaithe
clarification
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I use my own paper planner book that I make on Word, but I use it for record keeping, not planning. At the beginning of our school year I figure out how many lessons I need to do per week and try to stick to that. Periodically over the course of the year I check to make sure that we're on track and adjust as necessary. So if I've been doing grammar 3 days per week and dictation 2 days per week and I realize that we won't get grammar done in time, I spend a few weeks doing grammar 4 times per week and dictation once a week.

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I love planning. I love making lists and checking things off of them. There are probably 2 or more lists in my purse at any given time (grocery lists, things to do, etc.). I created my own planner this year which I fill one week at a time.

 

I also have a messy list on notebook paper that has been scribbled on, erased, arrows drawn across, but I translate a week from that list onto my pretty, neat planner. In this planner I also have book lists, attendance requirement calendar and various other lists. I'm quite certain I have a list-making disease.

 

ETA: In the summer I plan out the first half of the year (on the notebook paper) and then I evaluate over Christmas break to make sure we are on track. I then plan out the remainder of the year (on the notebook paper). That way on Sunday evenings when I am putting our week into the planner, I just have to copy from the mess to the clean paper. Hope I am making sense. :)

Edited by TN Mama
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I'm rethinking the physical part of my planning/recordkeeping, and would value seeing how others go about it.

I use a teacher planner from http://www.rodandstaffbooks.com/item/65680/?list=Teacher_Helps

 

I used to use my computer but it seemed like it was so hard to change as I went. With this I have my planner right in front of me all the time and if we do an extra page or two here or there I make the changes as I go. I always use pencil when entering and changing and I use a star when each item it completed. The books are spiral bound and very inexpensive as I order with other items so never added shipping.

This last year is the first year I used this and have loved it. I already have my planner for this next year.

Oh, I get the plans for both kids in one planner but I know in the future I will need to use one for each. As they become more independent, I will have one for each and they will be able to have it in front of them to know where to go next. Right now I use little tacky flags to mark the beginning and ending of lessons for my dd in the areas she is more independent.

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Okay, I said "I use the computer and design my own planning/tracking files." Here's what I actually do:

 

I type up lesson plans in a table I created in Word. There are samples on my blog here: http://tweakedacademy.blogspot.com/2008/09/cheating.html

 

For record keeping, I do two things. I have either a teacher's plan book or a spiral-bound planner/calendar. This year, I'm using a student planner, because it has the dates for the academic year already printed, has lots of space for each day and just happened to be purple (my favorite color).

 

So, each day, I log what my son actually accomplishes. I note field trips, days off, sick days, educational DVDs, etc.

 

I also keep a file on the computer in which I list everything he's done for the year in each subject. That becomes the basis for his portfolio at the end of the year.

 

This "system," if one can call it that with a straight face, has developed over the years and meets our needs nicely.

 

I really like the "open and go" concept but have never found any packaged curriculum that works for us. So, planning ahead and typing out nice, neat weekly plans allows me to create my own.

 

I like the log book for daily records, because it allows me to double-check things later. What day did we go to the museum? How many days of school did we do this year? When did he read that book? And, if I should miss anything in typing up the cummulative lists, having my handwritten daily record gives me a back-up.

 

The typed cummulative lists give us a nice overview of the whole year and, as I said, give me a head start on creating his portfolio. In addition to meeting the legal requirements, those portfolios are as close as I come to scrapbooks for my kids. I'm looking forward to handing them off to them as keepsakes when they are adults.

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I use Excel and make my own. That way I can customize my planning to be exactly what will work for me. I haven't found anything in paper planner form that incorporates everything I want.

 

What she said!

 

I have Homeschool Tracker Plus, and it's just way more than I need. I am not required to take attendance or keep grades so I don't. I do like having an outline in advance of what I'd like to cover though--and I like it not associated with any specific dates.

 

This year some of the the outlines are getting pretty detailed as I will have a highschooler taking community college classes (before he's driving). I'm going to be too darn busy to do lesson plans every weekend. :tongue_smilie:

 

Here is the one I made for Apologia's Physical Science:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pTHjL9d14lo1Yy_NrasNjRA&hl=en

 

For my younger kids, they're color coded by day. Once I get a template in place, I copy and paste and just change the info by resource, page/chapter etc. The one I'm making for history is starting to look like a colorful version of a Sonlight IG (except I'm getting 2 weeks on a page and hope to make it a 32-34 week year).

 

I need to know that I am prepared for my own peace of mind. It always seems to be a lack a certain item needed for an experiment/project or a needed library book etc that gets us off track. I'm putting these in my plans at the bottom of each page a week in advance (and ordering a kit for the above science course). It's going surprisingly fast once I've gotten started and I'm kind of enjoying it.

 

Last year I printed a paper planner (custom made by me) and I liked it a lot. My kids can't read my writing though (at least that's what one of them says :glare:) and now I'm needing more done in advance. I will probably still do something like it for my own use to record other activities field trips etc. More of a notebooking/scrapbook format though. Still thinking on that one...

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that's not entirely true. I don't write out plans, but I do keep formal records. I keep an attendance record and a spreadsheet of all the books my dc have read that year, broken down by category (history/biography, science/nature and literature/poetry). I also keep about one sample a month of any written work. I put all this in a folder at the end of the year with a list of the curriculum used for each subject and a list of any field trips we took that year. The front of the folder has the child's name, grade and the year. In the pockets of the folder I put any field trip pictures or pamplets, any awards or ribbons from extracurricular activities such as AWANA or swim team, etc.

 

HTH!

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I also use pages from donnayoung.org. I use the 'Course of Study' form to outline what each child will do in a term in each subject, then the 'Weekly Schedule' form to write in what was done each day. My older three keep these records themselves, writing in what they have completed in each area each day. I fill out the weekly schedule for my youngers so they can tick off what they have done during the course of the day.

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I write a list each week of what each boy needs to accomplish. In the back of my mind I have an idea of how much we need to do each week in order to have done a good year of work. At the end of each year, I make up a portfolio of work and write a little report.

 

Laura

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I love to plan, but I always make everything more complicated than it needs to be. So I've ended up doing two things.

 

On Excel, I did a very small weekly schedule of each subject to be covered each day and post it by my desk in our homeschool room.

 

Then I just copy the table of contents of each book we are using, such as our math book, all-about-spelling, etc., and then as we do each lesson, I just write the date next to it. I keep all these in a little binder.

 

If there's anything left that I don't have a book or table of contents to copy, I'll write some quick schedule down or type something up quickly and leave room to write the date next to it.

 

It's too simple, and I really should probably plan more, but I always end up coming back to this. :)

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I made my own planner in Excel, two pages for each week. I print it out and put it in a binder, latest week on top. Some tasks that stay the same are printed on it. Assignments that change I pencil in. If I need to change anything I can erase it. I really like this system as I have been able to perfect it to meet our needs over the years.

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I have very simple Office files that have met our needs for several years.

 

A calendar in Word with day-by-day lesson numbers (because we do different subjects on different days). This is posted on my fridge and updated each month.

 

An Excell spreadsheet weekly schedule reflecting subjects/activities scheduled down to 15 minute intervals. This is only occassionally changed if we discover something isn't working out as planned or if subjects or activities are removed or added.

 

A table in Word for each child and their projected curriculum plans. This helps me when it's time to start buying.

 

Happy to share any of these.

 

I keep dc's work in a binder in the basement for records, but now that they're in public school, it most likely won't be necessary. But I'll still keep them. We love looking back on the work we did together and remember the fun we had.

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I think I have tried everything :)

I always seem to come back to just making up my own schedules and plans on the computer although I do have a real folder on my desk in which I store notes and plans I may have handwritten at some stage. It's also where I store things I print out that I may refer to.

 

I also have a normal desk diary but it's not for planning.

 

I don't have to keep records as such. I keep their work to show a moderator once a year- then throw most of it and keep the best. No attendance records.

 

I have bought many planners, online and paper. None fit me well enough to use for long- I make my own using tables in Word. I probably got a bit of inspiration from most of them, though.

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I use the computer to plan by semester or quarter, but don't get more detailed than that. I think I may need to be a little more precise as dd ages. She is only 7 1/2. I've tried making weekly or daily plans, but that will generally be the week that something looks so interesting that she MUST work ahead! LOL I'll check out some of the other forms you all have listed. Next year, I'll be schooling two, and want to make sure we stay on track.

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Right now I have a general plan for the year and only plan out specific lessons a couple weeks in advance (if that). It's not working that well for us, so for next year I am either going to sit down with my planning software and really get to learn how to use it and plan out and print-up the whole year's lessons in advance with places to make changes or I am going to make planning pages that fit my day timer and plan everything out for the year in there and keep it with my activities calendar. As the kids get older, I am finding that I need to have more than a "do the next thing" approach to make sure we are meeting our goals.

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I'm rethinking the physical part of my planning/recordkeeping, and would value seeing how others go about it.

 

I keep long-term plans in Excel. For my high schoolers, I use the AO weekly schedules to create a spreadsheet (one for each term) of what they will be reading. I also take out books we will not be using, and add in any books I added. I create a schedule for science and science living books also. From there, I create individual spreadsheets for each week of the term, breaking the weekly schedules into daily schedules.

 

For my elementary schoolers, I create my own schedules in Excel, since we aren't doing a program with pre-made weekly schedules. I do these much the same way.

 

Each week, I use tables in Word to make the official schedule for the week. I put in math and grammar scheduling then. (Math, in particular, doesn't do well scheduled too far ahead, since they might have trouble with one section and spend extra time on it, or zoom ahead and do several lessons at once in an easier section.) I also make adjustments if we have gotten behind or ahead in any other classes. I have two tables, one for the high schoolers and one for the elementary schoolers. Then, I print out the sheet as "Print two pages per sheet". As we finish each thing through the week, I color that space in with a highlighter. That way, I have a tangible record of what got done and what needs to be rescheduled. (I also use the right side of the square for the younger of each set, and the left side for the older, so I know if only one of the two has completed an assignment.

 

I have tried Homeschool Tracker (the free version) twice, but it doesn't allow me the same freedom to reschedule and re-work things as the Excel table does. I also like having the whole week for 4 students on one page, and the lesson plans from HT take several pages for us.

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I have used Homeschool Tracker for the last 5 years or so. I had the basic and then bought the Plus version.

 

I find it very helpful with attendance, calculating grades, and I plan to use it for my son's transcript.

 

I also use some of the planning sheets from Donna Young's site for history planning which is always a little more complex.

 

Jennie

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I also chose other because I don't plan, I am going to be using Sonlight and "do the next" thing type programs next year. When i tried to plan it always went right out the window, I'm better with writing down what we do. Technically in VA I don't have to keep records, I have to send in a description of curriculum, but that just means I have to send in a list of the subjects I plan to teach.

 

I was using a plan old spiral notebook for a log, but this year I bought the homeschooler's journal that Audrey mentioned in her post. I saw it on her blog and loved the looks of it. It's even better in person!

 

Anyway that's my plan for this year. I have HST+ as well but I just see it as more trouble than it's worth when using something like I am especially for a state that requries no records.

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I'm rethinking the physical part of my planning/recordkeeping, and would value seeing how others go about it.

 

I have a binder that stays open to the current week, sitting on a handy shelf. Behind a tab in the front are my lesson plans. Behind a tab in the back are the kids notebooking and lapbooking blanks. On each week's two-page spread, there's a space to write the agenda for each hour of each day, a checklist to go down so I'm sure each kid did their never-changing daily set, and a space to journal the lessons that change every week.

 

Here's the left hand side andhere's the right hand side.

 

I use other homemade forms when I'm planning lessons. They go in the front of the binder, behind a tab, and I pencil them in to my weekly planner/journal pages as we do them.

Edited by dragons in the flower bed
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I use Homeschool Tracker Plus. I love that I can make lesson plans that I will be able to just reuse with my other kids. It's a lot of work to enter in the assignments from each subject to begin with, but then the planning is done and I have it all ready for the next child. There was also a learning curve involved. HST+ is WAY more useful to me now that I have figured out how to make Lesson Plans in the Teacher section. I used to enter the assignments in manually in the Student section since I started with the free version of the software. The Lesson Plan feature is what makes the program for me. I just wish I had started using it earlier. Ooo I also like that I can keep track of all our books in HST. Entering them into the computer involves just typing in an ISBN number. HST+ downloads the rest from the internet. I also use HST to keep track of grades. I don't keep grades for every assignment, but I do like to keep track of the grades for quizzes and tests. HST tracks and averages them for me for each semester. And of course HST helps me keep track of how many days of school we have actually done for the year. I like to keep to 180 days. I still like paper for some things. I get the free forms from donnayoung.org to do pre-planning when I'm making purchases and I will sometimes write up my lesson plans on paper before entering them into HST.

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at the end of each month, I sit down and type up what the main things we did each month, divided up into subjects. Because I divide many of the subjects up between two major kid groups, it is very easy to copy one report for another child and just change some things like math work, phonics, etc.

 

I started doing this years ago because we are in a charter and this is how they report. I tried at the beginning of the year to use an online planner- it took way too much time.

 

I print out a copy for our ES, and then save them on my computer so I have records of all my kids schooling.

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I love Tanglewood's Corebook. It allows me to include things such as extracurricular activities, nature walks, poetry, music appreciation, art appreciation, narration and read-alouds and makes sure I stay on track. It even includes a week by week "unstructured play indoors" and "unstructured play outdoors" to check off easily to see what my children need. I field tested it this year (K) with ds, and it has been invaluable in keeping me on track, seeing the big picture and keeping organized and still gives me freedom. It also only costs $5.25 and you can print out as many pages as you like, and for many years to come.

 

So I picked Other.

 

Oh, and the bonus? It also includes a FREE 36-week Geography curriculum and a FREE Health and Safety 36-week curriculum. I'm very happy with my purchase.

Edited by sagira
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I am a big fan of HST+, I keep our plans in there and have my laptop with me open wherever we are schooling for the day. I print the schedule for each child for the week and they can track where they are.

 

I like being able to enter all of my lesson plans in the summer and then schedule them (or reschedule :glare:) as we go through the year. It is so easy to reschedule weeks worth of lessons at a time if we find ourselves on an unexpected rabbit trail. There is a huge benefit in being able to reuse plans from year to year as my 2 boys are a year apart.

 

The more I have used it the more great features I have found. I like having all of my books indexed so when I need a resource or go to a fair I can know for sure what we have. I know the grading will be useful when DD hits high school.

 

It doesn't work for everyone but it works for list making, data tracking me!

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I really only plan the next week. Every weekend I take all the planners and write down what is to be done for the next week. For my high school students, we/they do plan more than a week ahead, but that's because they have so much to schedule/plan.

 

When I say I use a paper teacher planner book, I do, but I only write in assignments for the next week. I also use a day planner to figure out when we will take breaks, do our required annual testing, etc.

 

HTH

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I spent about two weeks putting in all of my lesson plans for the year and entering grades from earlier in the year. It was a lot of work figuring out how everything works, but it is paying off big time now! With all of the lessons entered, I just need to tell the program which lessons should be done for the week. I love that it keeps track of all of my school books and they are easy to enter into the program. I am usually a person that likes to have paper and pen in front of me, but this program has been great!

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I've tried using the computer for this but I guess I am getting old. I just think so much better with a nice sharp pencil, a good eraser and a notebook. I have planning pages that I have made on my computer to help me organize all the subjects. I print enough of these for the entire year (one per week) and stick them in my binder that I carry everywhere. People I work with on the weekends laugh at my binder but I love it.

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Guest Alte Veste Academy

I use homemade Excel spreadsheets and individual file folders for each week. They all go into a master file box for the year. I use week/day numbers rather than dates so everything doesn't have to change if we stray. I do plan the whole year in advance but change (and reprint) as needed as the year goes on.

 

I got the idea from this blog when I was considering WP AS1. I LOVE this system!

 

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/JennyMaine/558703/

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I only switched from paper to software planning this year, Homeschool Tracker. It has worked really well, but there have been one or two times when the lesson plans wouldn't print or the computer was unavailable for some reason that made it a little be inconvenient. However, the software is easier for multiple students, especially when I need to reschedule.

 

I do print out weekly lesson plans for DS. I was also printing them for DD at the beginning of the year but she isn't quite proficient enough to read them so it was just more paper to keep up with. I generally keep HST open during the day and when I have a minute to check e-mail or need to look up something I'll glance at it to see what's left and what I can check off.

Edited by Suzannah
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I currently use a binder with each month in front with large blocks for the days. I have one per kid. There are also tabs in the back that I place finished papers in. This makes it easier to set it up for a portfolio at the end of the year. I am transitioning to Homeschool Tracker, slowly. I like the simplicity of my binder, but I get busy and forget to keep up with it and have to do a month at a time. Also, I can show my dh easier with the computer, if by any chance, he has to do any of it.

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I've used a homeschool plan book for the last few years. I'd write down assignments I planned, then put a check mark by the ones we completed. Next year I'll have 5 students, and I've figured out what I need from a computer-based planner.

 

I'm making my own planner with excel. Each week I'll print it out and mark the things completed. We're using Biblioplan, so I just transferred those assignments into my own planner. Bible, math, and LA are all do-the-next-thing type curricula, so I'll fill those in week by week. Science was the only other thing I had to schedule, and I've finished next year's science plans and have put them into my planner.

 

It will really be nice to have all the planning done and just be able to print out the plans when I need them.

 

Blessings,

 

Laura

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I like to make up my own in the table function on Word. Once it's set up, it's easy to go input what to do for the next week--and if I need it to function a bit differently, it's easy to change the format too. I prefer this to pre-made planners that don't include what I want, or include things I don't need. I also prefer it to Homeschool tracker (at least so far...I may look again as we get near highschool & see what I want to use to keep track for transcripts). But right now I prefer it because I'm very visual, and I need something visually clear and appealing to look at!

 

Another plus for me--I can get both of my kids' work for the week on one page. That helps me not lose track of where I am by having to flip through multiple pages.

 

Sometimes I think I'd actually like to have it bound in a comb binding, instead of using a binder--but I change things throughout the year & that really wouldn't work out for me.

 

Merry :-)

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