Monday, November 10, 2014

Lesson Planning

Using the teacher-directed curriculum this year for Kia has been a challenge for this homeschooling mama.  I prefer instructions given in a step by step, linear fashion and this program does not provide that.  It's a combination of two or more online sessions with a teacher each week, activities to complete (found online or in a provided textbook), and some of those activities have written or computer work to submit for grading.  

Plus, we are involved in several on-site activities at the homeschool center plus skating and swimming lessons each week.  My easily distracted and overwhelmed ADD brain is very distracted and overwhelmed and stressed!

One of the good parts about being at the center every week is the opportunity to connect with teachers and other parents, who are tremendous resources in this journey.  For example, a few weeks ago I peeked over the shoulder (with permission!) of another mom who was doing some lesson planning while her kids were doing onsite classes.  Ah, a format that made sense to me!  I went home and did some lesson planning of my own so I could stop feeling like I'm constantly flying by the seat of my pants as the expression goes.  

So, the school provides a document for each month listing the assignments that need to be submitted. It looks like this...

I made four blank charts for the month (each week is a separate page) listing the five school days across the top, with rows labelled with the subjects to cover: Spiritual, Life Skills, Math, Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, Health, Art, Phys.Ed. and Music. 

Some of the core subjects provide a further breakdown of how to administer the required lessons. I use the required assignment list and the more detailed core subjects breakdown to fill in what needs to be covered over the duration of the week, then the entire month.  

As you can see, the "Lesson Plan" is a working document, with lots of crossing out, and shifting around as the week goes on!

For example, last week we went and opened up chequing/savings account for each of the kids.  These are all joint accounts with a parent so that the small amount in their chequing account can be used for immediate spending, whereas the larger fund in their savings can only be accessed or moved into chequing by a parent.  I felt it was an important life skill to be able to manage a debit card (i.e. you can only take out what you have put in!) as well as cash funds. 

They were so proud of their shiny new debit cards, but so overwhelmed by the paperwork involved. Eye opener for me was that neither of them could sign their full name, as they have only ever signed their first name on schoolwork, or else printed their full name.  So they labored over that and I added "practice signatures" to the life skills section of the lesson plan!  Until they are proficient at it, all written work from now on will be signed with their full name.  

So far, this weekly lesson plan has been holding up.  Next month I may do some of the planning on the computer before printing it out so that some of the things that stay the same in the schedule (like Bible reading or swimming lessons) don't need to be handwritten over and over.  

Fellow home-schoolers, please share how you plan your family's schoolwork!