View Full Version : Weekly Poll: Are you using something to schedule/organize your kids school year ?

06-15-2011, 08:07 AM
Again, it seems like there are people who are SUPER organized,others well like me who try to stay organize (well until the ADD kicks in) and still others who could care less:cool: I have personally tried everything to keep us organized and on track of what I know we need to get done for the day. It is usually a "to-do list" that gets us to remember those important tasks that needs to get done in a day. This works for me, mostly because I like to cross things out:rolleyes:!

This year since the oldest is going to be a 9th grader I will need to "get" organized for no other reason than to be able to write his transcript and course descriptions if he chooses to go to college. Just wondering, who else was in this boat and what you are using??

06-15-2011, 09:06 AM
I choose "other" because none of these answers fit me. I am very organized and the full year is scheduled (but flexible) in advance. I use a table format in Word to organize our school schedule. One week = one table. One table per page. One block = one day. A block for recording grades and a block for any notes. Each class entry has a "check box" to mark when completed. Tests are highlighted in red, everything else for grade is highlighted in yellow. Videos are highlighted and so are anything that requires to be done outside the home (field trips, and trips to the library). It is easy to just cut and paste when something has to move do a different day.

I'm with ya on the course descriptions and transcript thing. We are creating a "course catalog" as we go along. Sonny will be doing 10th grade this coming school year.

06-15-2011, 09:12 AM
Ok you are so organized!! I wish I could be a fly on the wall when you are getting that done to take notes;) My plan is to get as much scheduled as possible over our break that way I can tweak it on the days that something else comes up;) I think I might have us OVER scheduled again this year((SIGH)) oh well they are only young once why not let them experience as much as possible, and BONUS I get to learn stuff too;) thanks for the detailed info on what you use!!

06-15-2011, 09:30 AM
I'm not THAT organized, but i use microsoft office, which I have (havent ever checked out google aps and didnt read the article you posted about it). For our history program I did make a grid in excel to coordinate the various sources we are using.

Then I also use a word table for each week - but its pretty simple. Orion's math and LA programs we just do about 20-30 minutes of, so I just put 'Orion math' or "Orion grammar" in the block - and I let Raven to T4L free-style while I'm working w/ Orion - no assignments.

Then I fill in the pages from whatever history books we'll be using that week in to the word doc. and block out any appointments, classes, trips and figure out how to shift things. We dont do tests, so thats not an issue.

06-15-2011, 09:39 AM
See Cara, I try ever so hard to stay organized all year long BUT I am afraid that I just lose interest! Maybe I should blog about it so everyone can kick my butt every time I start slacking!! We don't really do tests either but I might have to start the spelling tests again, after our end of the year testing showed not much improvement;( thanks for sharing!! I love to see how others get organized I wonder if there is a magic pill to make me keep it up!

06-15-2011, 09:48 AM
I don't do much organizing ahead of time, aside from some notes. I made a list of notes in a word document for our "summer curriculum" and then each day I still just write everything down in my "daily log" in another word document.

06-15-2011, 10:01 AM
I picked the free version of tracker but I've decided that I want to go back to individual written agendas for this year-It is more work for me but the girls respond to them better.

The first year that we were home they went to PS for the first few days and they were given their agendas....so we just used them but then I tried to switch to HS Tracker this past year and things just went out the window! If anything I will just buy them each a small calendar.

06-15-2011, 10:02 AM
I do take breaks when we get burnt out, but try to stick to 2 weeks in june, sept, and dec, and a week somewhere in the spring. I hate organizing but NOTHING happens if i'm not organized . . . and the boys start fighting. So i force myself. Also some days we do videos for history, so thats much easier.

06-15-2011, 10:29 AM
I print out a weekly schedule and hand write what we accomplished each day. Mostly we either just follow along in our curricula, or we follow bunny paths as we feel like it, so there's not much pre-planning needed. Of course, with only one (young) child, it's much simpler than juggling various needs and requirements.

06-15-2011, 10:36 AM
Um. I jot down notes on our calendar. If we went somewhere field-trip status worthy, I jot that down after the fact. And I have a little thing that says our general commitments each day written at the top of the thing - but that's more for dh, who will be like, "Can I take the kids to such and such this morning?" and I'm like, "Don't you know we have co-op every single Monday? What's wrong with you?" I don't write down anything about curricula or anything like that. That smacks of... effort.

06-15-2011, 10:55 AM
I chose 'Other' because I use a combination of things.

We use HST+, but the use of that has evolved to only transcript material. If it isn't going on their transcript, it won't be in HST. I kept trying to using it more, but always just ended up using it less.

Our year is planned out in advance; I like to plan ahead. In fact, even though ds just started his grade 2 year & dd's 8th grade year will start in July, I can tell you what they'll be doing the next year, including the main resources we'll be using. I created a 'Class Plan' in Word. I print out a copy for each subject we'll be doing. On the first page is basic infor like student name, school year, 'grade,' and a description of the course. The second page is for listing the materials we'll be using. I only list the main materials, as listing everything we use would be a bit excessive. The Class Plan is basically a syllabus for the course. These are kept in MY binder, though as they get older, I also put copies in their binders.

They each have a binder that has all the info they need for the year. Their binder will hold their Class Plans, any loose worksheets, Notebooking Pages, loose leaf paper, graph paper, etc. It also holds their copy of their schedule, whatever form that may take. Most years, it has been weekly schedules (for several weeks at a time).

Starting with the 2011-2012 school year (2nd & 8th grades), the school year is split into 3 terms. Each term is 15 weeks, and we will take a break of 1-2 weeks between terms. Their binder will hold a list of everything to be accomplished in that term. My dd will have a binder for each term. Instead of a list of all subjects, each subject will have its own list. The list for each subject will also have a place to mark the grade she earned for that subject, and an explanation of what will count toward her final grade. She has decided that most of her courses will be done in 1 term, with just a few that stretch the whole year. The list for ds has all the subjects on one list. For each subject, it lists what we expect to get done in that term - which chapters, units, lessons, pages, in each book, what experiements & activities, and which topics to cover in each subject. It also has which materials we plan to use for each subject - dvds, books, websites, Netflix streaming, etc. They can check things off on their lists as the term progresses.

I have a notebook, for each child, that has the terms planned out. Each subject has up to 4 (I think 4 is the most) pages. The first one or two pages list all assignments & resources I have planned for that subject that term. The remaining pages for the subject are for me to list the additional work they do & additonal resources we use. So, each day, I mark off what work was finished & record additional stuff we did.

We also have an inventory of all our school materials. It is currently in Excel, but I am working on putting it all in an Access database.

06-15-2011, 11:03 AM
I've been using Google calender and a Google spreadsheet to keep track of stuff. Not that I'm going to necessarily do what I have planned but it gives me a good outline of what we're going to do and what we've done (or not). It also helps me keep track of the amount of days we school so no one can come back and say I didn't do the required days or topics.

06-15-2011, 11:59 AM
I'm very organized at heart, but the approach we're using with homeschooling is pretty fluid, so I don't think a schedule will work. I know within each unit what we're doing, and what our goals are, but I'm letting the girls pick the units as we go, so there isn't much scheduling to be done in advance.

06-15-2011, 12:53 PM
I have a weekly schedule for history/literature. Everything else is much more haphazard.

Which reminds me, I gotta get on that.

06-15-2011, 01:10 PM
I voted free online.

I didn't realize Homeschool Tracker Plus/Basic was online, I thought it was a desktop app. Anyway, I use Homeschool SkedTrack, which is truly online.

06-15-2011, 04:17 PM
I'm a pen and paper kind of girl. I'll be writing up my goals for the year, followed by monthly breakdowns. Then, I have a file box with index cards. Each card has a day worth of lesson plans on it. That part is only planned a week at a time, but I keep the cards in the box when we're done with them. It gives me that happy sense that we're actually getting somewhere when I can see all of the cards from the year in that box.

06-15-2011, 05:15 PM
Planning? What is this planning you speak of? :)

I jot down a list of the upcoming week's readings and activities, then write down what we do each day in a paper planner. I also keep a running book list in Word to include with our annual progress report. I may move to an online planner next year when we'll be adding more subjects and reporting for both kids.

06-15-2011, 05:27 PM
I plan it all out on a Word document on the computer. This way it can change whenever I want and doesn't get all marked up :)

06-15-2011, 06:28 PM
I use Excel or Word to make multiple long-term and short-term plans. I have a weekly sheet where I put in pages and Lessons for each subject (I do 4 days/loops), then I have Excel spreadsheets with long-term plans for Science and History/Geography with all the resources listed. These are eventually taken and put into a detailed Lesson Plan in Word.

It sounds much more organized that it really is. :-)

06-15-2011, 08:36 PM
Okay, so I said I don't really do planning or scheduling, but some of the things people are mentioning are things we do as part of our portfolio process, such as goal setting and tracking. I guess there's just so many ways to approach the idea of "planning" and "scheduling."

Stella M
06-15-2011, 09:56 PM
My brain. I just store it all in there, except for dd13's stuff which she schedules to her heart's content on paper.

06-16-2011, 01:48 PM
I do sometimes feel guilty about not planning stuff out if that counts. Although, we did have one year where I kept a calendar but that felt too much like school so I gave up. We kind of do "school" in spurts. I hope that I have a few more years of relaxed schooling before we have to get down to the super organized, keep track of everything stage.

06-16-2011, 07:59 PM
I am not a planner. This coming year I am challenging myself. Ds is entering 8th grade and I need to start planning and keeping track for high school. I usually plan out the year through December over the summer. Somewhere around Thanksgiving it all falls apart and then I wing it for the rest of the year. I have general goals in mind and make sure we hit the core subjects daily.

06-16-2011, 10:15 PM
Kathy, btw, i try to plan one semester at a time - i take 2 weeks off around the winter holidays to plan the next semester, and 2 weeks off in June (NOW!) to plan the summer, and 2 weeks off in september to play the fall semester. This spring semester felt LONG tho, even with a week off. i need to check my calendar and see how that worked out.

06-17-2011, 10:37 AM
I start off every year with the best intentions to stay organized.. or at least keep up the system I started. I think I'm going to try going paperless this year, at least with the after-the-work documentation.

06-17-2011, 03:13 PM
I did write up a loose framework of what I wanted to cover on a monthly basis (although a lot of it is "to be determined") when I was deciding if I could handle homeschooling. I didn't make any detailed plans or anything, I need to see how things really are before trying anything more specific.

06-17-2011, 04:34 PM
Hello Riceball. (I'll have to change my online name to something more interesting... everyone is so creative:))
I saw your response to honeybee about organization and noticed that you were using Calvert. I bought the 3rd grade curriculum and the K curr. and will begin in August. How do you like Calvert? I would love to know your thoughts and suggestions etc. Thanks!!

06-17-2011, 05:19 PM
Hello Riceball. (I'll have to change my online name to something more interesting... everyone is so creative:))
I saw your response to honeybee about organization and noticed that you were using Calvert. I bought the 3rd grade curriculum and the K curr. and will begin in August. How do you like Calvert? I would love to know your thoughts and suggestions etc. Thanks!!

My daughter loved the Pre-K and K curriculum, and is excited to get her "blue books" (first grade seems to be color coded for blue) soon. I like that the lessons are already pre-planned for me but I can add in, skip or just rearrange things if I want.

06-17-2011, 07:02 PM
I always have good intentions but never end up actually planning out anything.

06-17-2011, 07:29 PM
This year I used the BusyBodyBook (basically a mom's daily planner) to keep notes on what we did, I need it to refresh my memory, usually after the fact. At this time that seems to work for us so I'll keep with it. I have a general outline in my head but I don't plan in great detail, at least not yet. I'd like to think I was that organized but I'm just not and any detailed plan I make would likely change constantly.

06-18-2011, 02:10 AM
I use an actual teacher's plan book. I like the grid and the space. And I'm a school supplies nerd, so... there's just something about writing it all out with a ball point pen on crisp paper that puts a thrill in my heart. Yeah, like I said: a nerd. Haha!

Records are kept online and printed out daily from our curriculum base (Time4Learning). I keep supplemental papers and activities in a file box with one folder per month. At the end of the year I go through and pull out special things to keep long term in a big legal files box I assign as a memory box.

06-18-2011, 09:16 AM
I've got Homeschool Tracker Plus, but lost all my data when my last computer crashed (I know, I know, the program even reminds you to make a back up copy, which I didn't do-I have only myself to blame). For this upcoming year, though, I'm going to start using it again (and back it up), as I think it will be a good tool and I believe that I'll need to keep good records through these high school years.

06-19-2011, 09:19 AM
I also bought a teacher's plan book. It's what I'm used to from teaching and for now, just starting out, I need things I'm comfortable with. Time may change that though.

06-19-2011, 09:32 AM
This is the first summer in eight years when I haven't been hyper about getting materials and getting everything organized. I hardly think about it.

I'll probably need to think about it sometime in mid-August. :-P

06-22-2011, 01:01 AM
I've just started so we'll see how this turns out, but I created a template for my weekly planning using pages. I save one week at a time that way I can pull it up without siphoning thru a lot of stuff to get what I need. I've split our school year into three "semesters" and I give myself time at the beginning of each one to loosely plan what we will be covering that semester. I love to be really organized but I do tend to ignore the plan after a while. I just like to have things all laid out nice and neat in the beginning, this way I don't feel overwhelmed and if I start to slack off, I have something that keeps me on track.
My brain is weird. I love to be organized but I don't like to follow a schedule...oh well :)

06-22-2011, 09:42 PM
I hate to respond to this truthfully.. I "try" to plan. This generally means I think I need to make things seriously organized, lug around books, obsess over every wwebsite that tells me how to do it, try writing out a few weeks, get overwhelmed, freak out, do nothing... then ... wing it on a daily basis. I would love to have an organized, simple curriculum laid out and easy to follow, but I just can't seem to get it down and stick to it!

06-24-2011, 10:50 AM
I've tried the online stuff, grrrrr! I just can't make it work. I am using a combo of Teacher paper planner and "agenda's" for the kids. Would love something else though.

Mack's Mom
06-27-2011, 07:44 PM
I am a planner and my daughter likes to know what to expect for the week. She is a nerd like me and likes to "check off" her assignments. It gives her a sense of accomplishment I guess. I am the same way with lists. We are both nerds! LOL

For 9th grade, I bought a planner called The Homeschooler's High School Journal. It's a neat planner that has all sorts of things to track...like hours, field trips, even library books.

06-27-2011, 08:40 PM
We use Homeschool Skedtrak. I wasn't aware of other programs...like Homeschool Tracker. Alas, it is Windows only and we're a Mac family. What I'd really like is an iOS based app...now *that* would useful.

I plan out at least a few months in advance and I really need something database like so I can track all sorts of things at once. I could set-up my own database, but I'm not that ambitious. I absolutely have to have it on the computer so we can reschedule or add things in as need be.

07-11-2011, 11:08 PM
As much as I like technology, when it comes to calendars and planning, I'm an old-fashioned paper and pencil kind of girl. I have a big wall calendar that I list everyone's appointments and activities on (that one's mostly for the dh, since he tends to forget things, and also for the oldest kid to see what's in store) and yes...it's color-coded. I'm a dork. Then I have a smaller calendar that basically has the same things as well as other things that I need to write down to remember. I like having one that i can carry around with me and look at when I need to. And I do actually use the calendar feature on google so that it will send reminders to my phone.

Now, for homeschool, since this is our first full year, I looked at the calendar and planned tentative dates for breaks, and then counted up how many days are going to be in our schoolyear so that I can do an overview of where I "think" we need to be at certain points in the year. I realize we may move faster or slower than that, but I figured it would give a starting point anyway. I can't sit down and plan out the whole year at once, esp since I don't know how fast we can move through some of these materials.

The few months that we homeschooled this year, I found that what seemed to work for us was to print off a blank planner page at the beginning of the week and fill in the assignments for the week. Then I'd give that to him and he could use a highlighter to mark each thing off as it was done. At the end of the week I'd add in field trips, videos, notes, etc and transfer it to my binder to keep as a record, and so that I could plan the next week. I think I'll do something similar, but maybe plan out several weeks at once, making adjustments as needed. It felt like it was too "fly by the seat of my pants" before and frankly, it was because we hadn't planned on homeschooling and didn't know what the heck we were doing! Instead of doing the printed pages I may be an actual teacher's lesson plan book so that it's already bound and will stay together. I like how big the spaces are to write in. :)

I forgot to add that I print off the records from Time4Learning and add that to my binder as well. I also keep a written log of all the books he reads. I plan on putting these things in a file folder for each year.