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Four Signs That Your Homeschool Schedule Isn’t Working

I really like the month of January. I confess that I don’t love it- because winter really isn’t my thing. But I like it. I love the idea of a new year, a clean slate, a new opportunity. And I really like to use that time to readjust things in our homeschool. When you follow a (sort of) traditional school schedule, January is a great time to make changes when they’re needed because it’s the beginning of a new semester, the second half of the school year.

As January rolls around, I like to use this time to take a look at our homeschool schedule. What’s working? What isn’t working? What do I need to get rid of? What do I need to tweak? Sometimes I take a look and realized things are running smoothly and maybe I don’t need to upset a good thing. Other times, it’s easy to see that I need to make some changes. What are some signs that your homeschool schedule isn’t working and you may need to change things? Here are four that I look for.

homeschool schedule-post

Kids are frustrated.

This is the first and biggest sign. Are the kids constantly frustrated with their school work in a particular area? Yes, kids may complain about school work no matter how well things are working. But, if there’s a constant frustration level, maybe it’s because something really does need to change. If my kids are really unhappy about something in our schedule, I take a closer look. Maybe I’m scheduling a subject too often or not often enough. Maybe I haven’t been consistent with that subject in our schedule. Maybe it’s something we need to schedule more time to complete. If the kids are frustrated, that’s a sign that things may need to change.

I’m frustrated.

There are times throughout our homeschooling that I begin to feel tired and frustrated and burned out. The cause of this is often a problem with our schedule. Are we doing too much? Are we too busy? Do I need to schedule more things that the kids do independently or change up the order in which I’m working on different subjects with different kids? If I’m starting to feel constant frustration, I take a close look at the schedule.

A child is struggling with a school subject.

When a child is beginning to struggle with a particular school subject, I always check to see if our schedule is the culprit. Sometimes I realize that we’ve been so busy that we haven’t spent much time on that subject. Sometimes I realize that I might need more one on one time with that child. Perhaps I need to schedule the subject for a different time in the day when distractions are fewer. A continuing problem with a particular subject can be a sure sign that I need to tweak the schedule.

We aren’t having any fun.

Okay, all school can’t be fun. It just can’t. But one of the joys of homeschooling for me is that we can have fun together. And if we aren’t having any fun, maybe the problem lies in the schedule. Maybe we have too many things scheduled. Maybe I need to leave some space for fun, time that we can just go to the park or take a long walk on a beautiful day. If we aren’t having any time for this, maybe we need an adjustment in our schedule.

 

These are the warning signs. If any of them are present, I’m reevaluating our schedule. The schedule isn’t always the problem. But, often, it is. And the beauty of homeschooling is that I can then change the schedule to work for us.

 

 

Leah (13 Posts)

Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. Her days are filled with being a mom, homemaker, and teacher. In her (very rare) free time, she enjoys blogging, reading, and reviewing books and curricula. These days she’s learning the joys of being a mom of teens. You can read about her family and homeschooling life at As We Walk Along the Road.


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PlanItWisely Student Information System {review}

 

If you’ve been homeschooling for longer than a year or so, you’ve probably tried many different types of planners. When it comes to planners, there are so many options out there that it can be difficult to find just the right one for you. I think that’s why reviews can come in handy, so I took the opportunity to try out and review PlanItWisely Student Information System online planner.

PlanItWisely online homeschool planner review @ The Homeschool Post

Disclosure: I received free access to PlanItWisely for the purpose of review and I was compensated for my time. Please see our full disclosure policy for more information.

 

PlanItWisely Student Information System

How PlanItWisely Works

PlanItWisely is an online planning system to keep complete student records and create transcripts. It can work for the whole family within just one account. It’s cloud-based so you can use it from any computer with nothing to install.

With one login, you can manage all your students, whether you’re running a small co-op or using it for your own children in your homeschool. Set-up takes a little bit of time to input your students’ names, grade levels, course of study/subjects, and resources. These are referred to as Events. I would recommend setting aside an hour to get familiar with it when you first begin. Once that initial information is done, using the program and setting up recurring entries or switching around times within the schedule is fairly straightforward.

iHomeEducator Educational Apps, the creator of PlanItWisely, has put together a series of very helpful tutorial videos and hints for users. Take advantage of these videos and you’ll be up and running in no time. They also have a blog where they highlight different features of the system, as well as answer frequently asked questions.

PlanItWisely

My Favorite Features

  1. Different views: You can choose how you want to view your plans on the screen — either daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, by student, or by subject. I find myself going back and forth between those views when planning.
  2. Drag and Drop: This really simplifies the process when you want to move things around from day to day or change the time of an event. It makes it so quick and easy to select an event and drag it to the correct place on the schedule.
  3. Color coding: Student events/subjects can be color coded so it’s easier to distinguish between them when looking at the calendar overview.
  4. Cloud-based: I don’t like being tied to the computer all the time while I’m teaching my girls. I like the fact that I can use PlanItWisely from the desktop computer or the laptop, depending on where we are and what we’re doing. It automatically saves and syncs so I don’t have to worry about it.
  5. Budget and resources tracking: I like this feature so I can keep track of what I have and what I need to buy, as well as staying on budget.

Subscription Plans

PlanItWisely is available in monthly ($4.99) or yearly ($49.90 regularly, currently on sale for $39.90) subscriptions. Both options include the following:

  • 1st Month Free Trial
  • No Setup Fees
  • Up to 30 Users
  • Unlimited scheduler events
  • Unlimited grade records
  • Unlimited attendance records
  • Unlimited transcript records
  • Unlimited inventory resources
  • Dedicated database
  • Dedicated sub-domain

Summary

If you’re looking for an organized system to keep records and help you create transcripts for your high school students, PlanItWisely might be just what you need. It is a thorough and full-featured system for keeping track of multiple students. It would also work well for co-op teachers or private school teachers. If you live in a state that requires stricter record-keeping like attendance, grades, and more, PlanItWisely has you covered.

Connect with PlanItWisely and iHomeEducator

You can learn more about PlanItWisely on their blog, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.

Try out a free demo or sign up for a free month trial period of PlanItWisely and try it today.

Don’t miss the $10 off annual subscription special going on now! 

 

Happy Homeschooling,

 

Sara (122 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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Being FLEXuled: Balancing Being Flexible and Scheduled

Guest post by Jennifer of Dear Homeschooler.

 

Dear Homeschooler,

FLEXuldedAre you the hyper-organized type, planning every minute of every school day? Or are you a go-with-the-flow kind of person, harvesting precious teaching moments whenever they arise?

I admit, I tend toward the former. Anyone who knows me at all is not surprised: I like planning, organizing, and assessing, and that comes across in my approach to teaching. However, having been a special education teacher, I also understand the importance of being aware of the needs of my students and adjusting my teaching methodologies (and timetable) if it is in their best interest.

The beauty of homeschooling is that we get to choose how teach. Some of us are super scheduled, and others of us are super flexible, but we have one thing in common: we want what’s best for our students. I believe there is value in both approaches:

Reasons to be Scheduled:

  • Being scheduled helps us to stay on-track during the day to make sure all our daily lessons get completed.
  • Being scheduled provides a well-rounded day, making sure that an appropriate amount of time is devoted to each subject.
  • Being scheduled helps us meet our goals (e.g. finishing curriculum, attendance days, etc.).
  • Being scheduled provides a routine for both students and teachers, so each one knows what lessons are coming and when lessons are finished.
  • Being scheduled ensures that the school work doesn’t drag on, guaranteeing true free time after lessons are completed.

Reasons to be Flexible:

  • Being flexible allows us to take advantage of spontaneous learning opportunities.
  • Being flexible gives us the ability to nurture our student’s interests for the sake of engagement and learning.
  • Being flexible allows us as teachers to devote more time to challenging lessons to ensure skill acquisition.
  • Being flexible with the time-table, adding breaks when needed, may increase our student’s ability to stay more focused in the long run.

So, it is in the best interest of our students to be FLEXuled: both flexible and scheduled in our school day.

How do we do this?

I know it sounds like having a snowball fight in the summer, but it can be done:

  1. Plan: Create and map lessons per your curriculum choices.
  2. Make a schedule: This can be as detailed as delineating every school minute into subject blocks or as informal as having a checklist of tasks or lessons that need to be completed each day.
  3. Watch for the signs: Pay attention to your student’s responses to instruction. Watch for signs of boredom, wiggles, high-engagement, attitude-changes, resistance, and frustration, to name a few.
  4. Be Flexible: STOP and respond to your student’s needs. Take a break. Incorporate a sensory/movement aspect to the lesson. Spend more time on a challenging lesson. Fast-track a lesson that they acquire quickly. Dig deeper into lessons that capture your student’s interest. The list of interventions is endless.
  5. Adjust schedule: Take a moment to readjust the schedule. You may have to have a shorter or longer school day or reschedule certain lessons to later in the week, but it is worth it!

We can be FLEXuled!

As I mentioned earlier, I am a super scheduler. I remember a particular instance last year. I had allotted 10 minutes for our daily spelling drill, which has proven to be an adequate amount of time. My son, “ZooKid”, who is a pretty good speller, was struggling one week completing this activity in 30 minutes. WHAT??? How long does it take to write 10 words? He was distracted and had a bad attitude. After 3 days of this, I realized (finally!) that he was bored. I had to find ways to increase his engagement in spelling. Some of my ideas fit in the time-frame I had allotted (window markers, themed drill pages, etc.), but some (using alphabet beads, letter magnets, stamps, etc.) took longer. Incorporating these activities into spelling was the best solution for ZooKid. He loved spelling class again and was now focused and had a great attitude. I had to make adjustments for this intervention, but we were better off for it.

So, I believe we can be both organized and free-spirited in our teaching, creating the perfect balance between structure and creativity in our attempt to meet all our student’s needs. I’d love to hear about your experiences of being FLEXuled or your plans to be FLEXuled!

Till Next Time,

Jennifer

 

 

About the Author

profileJennifer Myers is a wife, mother of two beautiful children, and Christian home educator. She worked for 5 years in the public system as a special education teacher in an intensive program for students with autism. When her own kids started school, she decided to homeschool them, applying her experience in creating personalized education plans, curriculum development, teaching methodologies, and interventions. Realizing not all home educators have the same educational background, Jennifer is dedicated to sharing her experiences and building a community of home educators to grow together through her blog Dear Homeschooler. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

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