Thursday, October 1, 2009

Accountability Planners

How do I remember it all??? Hmm...well I don't, but this helps!

I make a simple planner with a simple table, using a simple words program. {trust me, nothing special and pretty here!!} Each Independent learner has their own personal planner, and it's personal to them and their studies. On this I listed that kids individual lessons, we call these IS {Independent Studies} These are things that the older kids can do independently, or most of the time independently. Things like Math, Spelling,Vocabulary, Grammar, Handwriting, etc. I usually spend a few minutes Monday mornings, to discuss lessons and go over words. I listed all these things, plus IS readings, textbooks, typing programs, explode the code, logic etc. Then on it, I put 2X, 3X, 4X, or 5X. This counts for how many times those things need to be done in a week. So Math is a 5X, Scripture Study and Journal writing is 5X. Handwriting is 3X, IS readings are either 2X, 3X, 4X or 5X depending on the child and the topic. Things like Spelling, Grammar, Art, and Vocabulary are 1 lesson per week, I don't care how or when you do it, it just needs to be done by Thursday or Friday!Which is listed on the chart, due Friday or due Thursday. A1 does alot of independent learning. He has his own science and history text to do, along with more structured learning time. Then there is a column for each day of the week, Monday through Friday. I have heard of people doing numbers instead of days, however I like to see when we don't do school, just as much as when we do! I also like to write on the page why we didn't do school, things like field trip, or bookclub, sick or vacation. This keeps me accountable.

The reason we like the X system {times per week} is that then I don't schedule everything for them. They know what is expected. If they so choose to leave all their work until Friday, so be it! Which wouldn't work for everything, as some things must be done 5X's a week. I have had a few stubborn and slow to learn children :) Leave too much to complete to the end of the week. All that means for them is two really long hard days to accomplish everything. I said very little, and just simply explained to know how it's done, you know what's expected, and you chose to schedule your time in this way.

The only thing I "schedule" is Math. I like them to do Math first. It seems they are more alert and seem to have better understanding of their lessons. Once Math is done it's up to them to figure out how they want to finish their IS time. We have a scheduled IS time, which is when I try to work with my younger ones. I am there, and able to help as needed, but this is not their time. I also have a scheduled time for the older kids lessons. A1 is mostly independent, and does more checking it, and discussion with me.

How do I go from total Mom help, to independent, you ask? Once a child is able to read on their own, and at a maturity level to understand accountability and consequences. This time is not an age or a grade, it's simply a point of maturity. I am sure we all know that these levels don't hit all kids at the same time. Which is all right, let them develop as they want. Let them do it on their own time. I am definitely not saying to not have anything to do, but let them grow on their time..not on what others say, or even when your other children did it. It's more of a struggle to force maturity, then to let it come naturally. Trust me, I've had to learn that lesson the hard way a few times! So once this maturity level is reached I start working on a planner with them. Once they are mastering this with me... then I let them move on to their own. It's a reward in our home to do IS! I guess it's like advancing in a grade level or something! I think it means they are no longer a small or medium kid...they are now a big kid!

I then bind them with my new tool. I bought this over the summer, and am loving it! We also do a morning devotional time, during this time we do some calendar work, on Mondays we discuss the week's events, so to help those doing IS schedule their time better. We do some weather graphing and a few different activities, geared to the older and the younger. These calendar papers are also in their planner. A1 also decided he needed a GRADE for each class or subject we do. Here we don't have to grade or turn in work or grades to the school districts. However now A1 is older, he does more outside of the house, and he always feels dumb not having a grade to report when all his friends are discussing them. I don't like grading my younger children, I want them to just love to learn, no matter how fast or how slow it is! However A1 is definitely at a point that the grading system holds accountability for him, and so I am not against it. I printed off a grading sheet on Donna Young {weblink on side bar} This will be added to his planner. The thing I love about this binder, is it is SO easy to add things to planners {or whatever you are binding} I can also easily take out pages I messed up on, and fix them!!

Another thing we do for accountability, is graph our math scores. We use Saxon, and Rod and Staff. The kids complete the entire lesson, and it's graded, one point per problem. After it is corrected they can get a half point per fixed problem. So if you got 3 wrong, and then when they were re-corrected you got them all right you would add 1.5 points back to your score. The kids graph their missed points, for both scores. Along with timed drills they do, daily. Also math tests that are taken, and A2 and A3 both do timed math facts {using wrap-ups} All of these are graphed monthly, and looked at to see how they did. This not only helps with graphing practice, and reading graphs, but also for the more visual students to see how they are doing.

I also have a row for teachers okay. This is just to make sure we remember to discuss the lessons of the day. Remember to go over what the children did, and so I can make a mental note of how each child is doing..

These are called accountability planners, because each child, given the proper maturity ability, is held accountable for certain areas of their education. As they get older, or more mature, they are held to more accountability. They can handle that and it's a good way to teach children to set and achieve goals. It also teaches children time management, and scheduling. I believe it's better for a child to be given some freedom, some accountability...and let them learn through trial and error, if needed. I can lecture and lecture until I am blue in the face, to some of my children, and honestly they learn better when they do it themselves, or in this case don't!

So there you have it, Accountability!!! That's how we manage.

This post has been added to thirsty thursdays.

1 comment:

  1. We do a few things similar to yours. I plan out 6 weeks in advance (one term) and give my kids their schedule. They can choose the order in which they complete their assignments, and they can even choose to switch the days. But they know the total amount of work that needs to be completed in the term. I like the balance that our method provides…independence, but not too much :)


since August 13, 2009

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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6