Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Independent Studies~ My LIFESAVER of Homeschool

(Post that has been long awaited by some who attended a class I recently gave! So Sorry for my delay!)

Common Question: How do you homeschool so many? And amidst babies, and toddlers? Pregnancies and moves? Chaos and yes even in the calm of the storm!?

How do you keep up?
How do you know what's going on?
How do your children know what to do? Without you constantly nagging them! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! Yep, little nagging involved (don't include the younger batch!!!)


(I personally prefer to call them accountability sheets, but somehow they always get called I.S.)
 I can not figure out how to attach a file. SO, you will need to recreate this. Trust me it's not difficult, as I am not a computer person or even very great at graphics (as you can see!) I do want to emphasize that this must be personalized to each family, and child. It must meet how you homeschool to work. So yes, you will need to customize it, and no don't print out a whole years worth right off! :) Play with it, print 1 or 2 and make notes, changes and additions. Just pencil them in, then make those changes, and print 1 or 2 off- until you are no longer adding things or explaining things to your children. Then, and only then should you print a years worth!! I put them in a 3 ring file folder, as it's small and easy to have around. I use 3 ring binders and notebooks for subjects. However this is used throughout each day, all day long!

Personal Goals




Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Personal Religious Study and Journal 7

Math Lesson # 5



Math Timed Test math lessons or
electronic choices

Math Memory Facts
(write fact)

T est
Online Geography practice (states) 5 Stack the States State Quiz US States Quiz Stack the Countries Seterra
Study Geography Map- Wipe off Map 5

Copywork 5

Spelling Practice (List) 5

pre test
Spelling Puzzle 1 per wk

Explode the Code 1 lesson per wk

Piano Practice 5

Read and report                  Classical 3

(30 Mins ) History 3

Science 3

Geography 3

Read Aloud 5

Religious Reading 5

Written Report ~ 1 per week As needed

RD Due



Now let me try to explain this a bit.

The Top, personal goals. This is where each child can write personal goals for the week or these can be extended if needed to complete. They come up with their own goals, and we discuss them and "set" them together.

Spiritual- anything spiritual, religious habits
Educational- a personal educational goal or something that child wants to learn more about or a skill they'd like to develop or learn
Personal- anything personal, maybe a physical goal (exercise daily, control a temper, stop lying, keeping a room clean- remembering to brush teeth without reminders :)
They can "see" this daily and be reminded of the goals they are trying to accomplish. Then at the end of the week, I look over their accountability sheets and can discuss their goals, how they are doing and if they think they met that goal. I try to keep these very personal to each child, and rarely disagree with their outcome- I might suggest one more week, but I want them to feel accountable. I also sometimes "see a BIGGER picture" than they do, or a larger goal, then they meant.

Next the assignments sheets.
I prefer to run on a day 1, day 2, day 3 schedule, over a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday schedule. That way if we have a non school day, or holiday or if it's a Co-op day I don't feel like we are "behind"

The first column is the assignment or subject. I think it's pretty self explanatory, except maybe the read and report sections. Basically we do a classical approach to their independent studies of History, Science, Geography, and Classical (Which is a classical reading book). It also didn't transfer well there :) So the read a report is for those subjects, and the 30 mins means 30 minutes. We discuss all books read, and all approved by mom. I want this to be very child led, so they can learn about their favorite topics in those areas, or things they've learned that interest them. I also have them keep a running booklist to keep track of those books.
Then they are to write 1 report a week. The majority of the reports are book reports but sometimes I have them do other things.

The second column states how many times a "week" or 5 day school period, each of those things need to be done. So if it says 5- it's to be done daily, if it says 3 then 3 days out of that week. 1 per week or 1 lesson per week they can choose how to "schedule" that into their week. I like to give them some due dates and give them their independence in how to schedule things. Some of my children have learned the hard way that leaving everything to day 5, isn't smart. While some have caught on quickly that if they schedule their lessons right, they can have a shorter day 5, and only do their daily assignments. :)

Columns 3-7 are the days of the week. They mark each subject as it's completed for that day. Some of the children like to "schedule their week" and circle the days they plan to do different subjects, some just go day by day. If it has writing in a column, then that must be done that day. So our spelling pretest is always done on day 3 and our spelling test is always done on day 5. The geography games I try to have the children who use them do different ones each day, and rotate them. Some are on a computer, some an ipad or a tablet, so then there's not so much congestion getting the equipment you need. Unlike the piano, they have to wait their turns, and learn to keep busy while waiting! :)

Then on the last row is what's called MOM's OKAY, this is VERY IMPORTANT!! They must show me their work, and put it in the corrections pile (which I do later in the afternoon/evening) and get an okay from me to be finished with their school work for the day. I typically look at what time it is, how much they did, how much they still need to accomplish to finish their "week" and I MIGHT make suggestions about their scheduling, and I might not. This all depends on the child, circumstances and lessons learned or needing to be learned :)

At the bottom, I have a part that says weekly assignments notes. This is a place to make any notes that the children might need to remember. This could be things I assign them from our family studies, or things from Co-ops or classes they are part of. This could even just be a simple note about don't forget to feed the cat, because someone might just have a hard time remembering that!

AND THAT'S ALL FOLKS!!!! It's such a simple idea, yet it sure does help my homeschool run smoothly, and helps to clear my brain of all the things I need to remember! It also teaches the children to work more independent. Many times some of the kids will race through their morning chores and get started way before I'm even dressed for the day!!! Because they know once they accomplish all Mom's asks them to do, the day is theirs! They can do what they want to do!!! It allows them more independence and individualization in their education.

I make these for all my children who currently do anything structured in our homeschool. So even though my 1st grader and Kindergartener are not independent. It helps me remember where we are, and what we are doing, and what we have left to do. It also teaches them how to "use" our accountability sheets at a young age, so then when they do become more independent, they already do understand the "how" of the sheets. I also discuss things with them, throughout the day. Maybe I give them a choice, would you like to do your explode the code or math activity first? or I need to help (insert any sibling in here) right now so I need you to do one of these things that is something you can do independently. Or maybe we have 15 minutes before our lunch is ready, what do you think would be a good thing to start now?

This method has also worked for our family, while using many different approaches to homeschool. We now are very eclectic in our homeschool. However their was a time in our homeschool that we leaned towards being strictly a certain philosophy. We've been on the whole spectrum of the homeschool board!!! I began this with my oldest child, as he was trying to gain more independence, and he couldn't remember everything, I couldn't remember everything and I knew we needed some way to organize it all, and have some accountability in our school with more independence.

I hope that makes sense, and it can bless your homeschool as it has ours.

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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