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Readers Share Ideas about Lesson Planning and Scheduling

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, September 07, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 69 September 7, 2007
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2007 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!

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HERE to set it up.




Notes from Heather
-- College by Age 12? Why Not!
Helpful Tips
-- A Great Laundry Tip
Winning Website
-- Country Reports
Reader Question
-- Lesson Planning/Scheduling
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Reader Feedback

We had some wonderful feedback from our readers regarding our
Labor Day weekend issue!


"Hello -- I am a new subscriber to your newsletter. I can’t tell
you how much I have enjoyed it! I really could relate to the
article this week by Lynn Hogan. It really spoke to my heart."
-- Stacey (mother of 3, homeschooling for 6 years)


"Thank you for Lynn's article. I thought I was the only one who
felt this way! Thanks for the encouraging words!" -- Annette in NC


"Thanks so much -- I needed this so bad. We just adopted four
children and they were so behind in school. I was trying to catch
them up and I get sooooooooooo overwhelmed. Thank you!"


Now that everyone is relaxed about homeschooling their children
this year, I thought I'd share a really neat article 'sort of' from
the other end of the spectrum. But you have to promise me you won't
go to the other extreme and feel pressed to accelerate your kids
beyond their calling! Get a cup of hot tea and come back and read
on. ;-)


[Recent article in the Montgomery, Alabama 'Independent']

Huntingdon College welcomes 11-year-old freshman

It might seem, at first glance, that entering college at the age of
11 is an indication of an over-achiever. But for Montgomery's
Heath Harding, it's a talent that's all in the family. The Hunting-
don College freshman, who may be the youngest freshman ever to
enroll at the College, has been primed for higher education all of
his young life. His sister, Serennah, 16, is a Huntingdon senior
and will graduate in May, 2008.

To Heath and Serennah's mother, Mona Lisa Harding, her children's
achievements are not surprising.

"We constantly ask our children, what are you interested in? What
do you want to know more about? What do you want to read about?"
she says. "They get excited about learning."

All of the Hardings' eight children have been homeschooled, and the
results are impressive.

Oldest daughter Hannah, age 19, will complete her master's degree at
California State University-East Bay upon passing her 4th comprehen-
sive mathematics exams later this year. She plans to apply for
doctoral programs in mathematics, with the dream of working for NASA.

Rosannah, age 18, is in the fifth year of an architecture program at
California College of the Arts. Serennah, a Huntingdon Cell Biology
major, is gearing up for the medical school admission process. Heath,
whose interest is in movies and film-making, may major in English
with a concentration in Theatre at Huntingdon. Keith, age 9, will
probably apply to Huntingdon in a couple of years, according to his
mom. The younger children, Seth, age 6, Katrinnah, age 4, and
Mariannah, age 2, are mastering times tables, ballet, and potty
training, respectively. A ninth Harding scholar is on the way.

Mona Lisa and her husband, Kitchner (Kip), have been so successful
with home schooling their brood they have written an e-book about it,
'College By 12'.

"We were worried when we titled it that people would get the wrong
idea," says Mona Lisa. "It has never been our intention or drive to
get our children into college by the age of 12, it is just what has
naturally happened as a result of our homeschooling methods. "Kip,
who served many years in the military, contributes to the home
schooling process.

Heath was admitted to the College on a special student status, which
doesn't allow him to participate in intercollegiate sports or to live
in the residence halls, but the impetus for his enrollment is not
social life. "He's at Huntingdon to get a good education," says Mona
Lisa. To round out his life experience, he plays soccer through YMCA
teams and the Hardings are active members of Cloverdale Baptist Church.

Serennah says that, looking back, she wouldn't do anything differently.
"This is all I've known. I have so many opportunities open to me at
a younger age than most people. I'll graduate earlier, be able to go
to graduate or medical school earlier, and be working earlier. I'm
just so anxious to become a doctor that I want to get everything done
-- I don't want to wait till I'm in my 20s to start pursuing my dream."

The brother and sister have found a ready family at Huntingdon. "Hunt-
ingdon has been an excellent experience for both of us," says Serennah.
"Everyone has been so friendly, and I feel like I am just one student
out of the diverse make-up here -- there are so many different kinds
of students here."

Heath echoes his sister's enthusiasm. "My experience at Huntingdon
has been a fun and exciting one. I seem to be well-accepted by all
of the other students and I am getting to know many of the incoming
freshmen. I'm thankful that the faculty has been very accepting of me."

For more on the Harding e-book, visit www.collegebytwelve.com


[I was particularly struck by the way the Hardings resource their
children's interests: "We constantly ask our children, what are you
interested in? What do you want to know more about? What do you
want to read about?" -- Did you notice they weren't asking "What do
you want to BE when you grow up?" -- I think they're asking the right
questions. And why wait to grow up if you want to learn/do something
now? :-) -- Heather]


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net


Piano Is EASY For Kids

Start piano at home with your child.
Put the numbered stickers on your piano.
Read music with our books.
A great way to get kids started.
Come see all the fun songs you can play!



Helpful Tip

[ This great tip came from a regular visitor to our Homeschool
Encouragement Center -- our supervised online chat just for
homeschooling parents at http://www.HomeschoolChat.us ]

Laundry Scheduling

"This is what we do -- I have a front loader so I can do really
small loads or large loads:

Monday – Boys sort their laundry into lights/darks and they do
both loads start to finish

Tuesday – I help girls do their laundry. Most of it is pink/purple
so it’s easy. :-)

Wednesday – Sheets and towels.

Thursday – I do my own and my husband's laundry

Then I take the other 3 days off! I like this way because I don't
have to sort socks for 6 people anymore. And the boys and girls
are responsible for their own laundry. Works great!" -- Amanda


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Winning Website

Country Reports - http://www.countryreports.org

This site offers everything you'd ever want to know about every
country in the world! Choose a country and find a map, flag,
currency exchange rates, population information, how their govern-
ment is set up, culture, links to newspapers and MORE. This is a
great resource for all the learners in your family!

-- Cindy Prechtel, http://www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"Hello, Heather -- thank you for your e-newsletter. I was won-
dering how your readers schedule school? Last year I did weekly
lesson plans (which did not always work). This year I was planning
to schedule for the whole school year. Most of the curriculum that
I will be using I can do this. I just have a few that are supposed
to be done at the student's own pace without having a set number
of lessons to do daily. So, how do you plan?" -- Jennifer

Our Readers' Responses

"We homeschool year round. But, even with that I don't write up
my lesson plans more than a week or two in advance. I have found
that if I write up the lessons too far in advance something comes
up to mess up the schedule. Like for instance, my daughter was
sick last week. I already had her lessons written up for 2 weeks.
So I had to get the trusty white-out and redo those days, moving
her assignments up to accommodate the change. Of course some things
can just be rearranged, but others have to be completed in order.
Or, if your student has difficulty in a subject and you need to
spend extra time on it, it can be hard to keep up with a pre-written
schedule. Another option is to do them in pencil, but if you write
them too far in advance, that makes for a lot of erasing! One
option is to write up an alternate schedule separate from the
student's to use as a guideline. You can look at it and see how
far you are ahead or behind, without putting it in stone."
-- Martha in Indiana


"I use Sonlight so it is all scheduled but I still have other
things I have to schedule too. What I like about the Sonlight
schedule is that it lists at the top Day 1, Day 2, instead of
Monday, Tuesday, etc. That way if someone is sick or we take a 3
day weekend I do not have to rewrite Monday, Tues, etc.

Another thing I have done is 3 weeks on and 1 week off. This
worked really well when the kids were younger. Now, it is a bit
different with more subjects to cover. Instead, we do a 4 day
week with the 5th day for more fun things: baking, crafts, more
science experiments, etc." -- Michelle L.


"This is our first year homeschooling and our situation is a
little different than many homeschooling families. I currently
work full time (though I hope to be changing to part time soon)
and my husband works full time from home. We use Time4learning.com
for a large part of our curriculum. It has math, reading, social
studies and science curriculum. It is made to be mainly self-paced,
but being a newcomer to homeschooling and not being home to motivate
him, I felt it necessary to set up daily expectations. At first I
took the time to plan out his entire year... but after the first
week realized I had wasted a LOT of time planning lessons. He
worked ahead in some classes and needed more time in others. Now
I have a basic goal for what I want him to learn by Thanksgiving
and then again by New Years and so forth. I may have to adjust
that as well - but as long as he's learning and enjoying learning,
I'm not going to sweat how much he gets through in a certain amount
of time. He is really enjoying learning about Mesopotamia, so he's
working through it at a faster rate, while math is taking us ever
so long to get past rounding numbers! But the great thing about
homeschooling is he doesn't have to be rushed! In addition to
Time4learning, he is working on Ohio History and has set a goal
for himself to read 25 books this school year (a big deal for my
dyslexic kid). Hope that this helps at some level." -- Sonja


"I make out lesson plans 4 weeks at a time and ALWAYS in pencil
(at our house I can promise that there will not be a 4 week period
that goes entirely according to plan). I create an assignment book
for each child every year that includes their daily assignment
sheets, and also a copy of their goals for the year, a curriculum
list, logs for keeping up with PE hours, Girl Scout or Boy Scout
awards, other recognitions, memory work, field trips, reading lists,
etc." -- Regina in AR


"I am almost reluctant to tell someone else how I schedule and plan,
because it's almost like a pair of shoes: the ones that fit me
wonderfully might put you in the hospital. So consider this a menu
from which to pick and choose -- not a prescription which you have
to follow!

I have been homeschooling for 15 years, and have never been able to
plan very far ahead. One advantage of homeschooling is having the
time and flexibility to accommodate life as it presents itself to us.
Many circumstances arise to throw our lessons plans out of whack,
but sometimes the learning experiences turn out even better than if
we had gone with our original plans.

I have a skeleton schedule which outlines which subjects we hope to
do on which days. I have things more or less prioritized so that if
we don't get to everything, at least we know that we did the most
important things. If we find that we are omitting the same thing
too often, I revamp my master schedule. When we finish each day,
I fine tune the plans for the following day based on the master
schedule, but taking into consideration the things we didn't finish
today. I also try to be perceptive about how much my children are
accomplishing on their own -- whether they are working diligently,
or frittering time away, and give them some leeway when we have
unexpected hitches in our day." -- Mary Beth


"I too had a hard time scheduling, especially those courses that go
at the student's pace. I had a written record system for a few
years, and it frustrated me. Now I have a great homeschool software,
HER (Homeschool Easy Records) that I use. You set up all the lesson
plans in what's called the Lesson Plan Manager. Then you go into
Record Keeper and set up the assignments. For those classes that
are at the student's pace, you simply adjust that assignment and the
program will automatically take care of the scheduling for you.

I've been using this program for 3 years now, and it's wonderful!
You can try it free for 30 days. It does take some time to set up,
but once it is, it's a breeze to maintain and the flexibility is
awesome! It is the BEST homeschool software out there, and the tech
support is unbelievably great! Vince (The developer) is extremely
helpful and responds very quickly to issues. He welcomes suggestions
for improvements, and not only does he listen to them, he actually
implements them! http://www.dataplus.biz/HER/index.htm

Good Luck!" -- Beth W.


"Two years ago I learned about FULL YEAR NOTEBOOK and it has
changed the way I schedule homeschooling. I plan each child's work
for a year at a time and they each have a notebook with their lessons.
I don't do everything in the system, but the planning part has helped
my children to learn to be more independent and learn to plan their
school time more efficiently. It takes me a lot of time during our
off months to do the planning, but it frees up more time for me during
the school year because my planning is already done!" -- Kathy G.

[Editor's note: "Full Year Notebooks" was developed by a wonderful
homeschooling mom, Julie Anderson -- one of our regular sponsors!
You can read lots more testimonials at their website, too. If you use
the 'special' link below, Julie will also know you were referred from
our newsletter. I'm glad to know one of our readers has been blessed
by this great product! Thanks, Kathy! -- Heather]


Answer our NEW Question

"I have 2 sons that seem pretty gifted in math. The oldest is just
now in Kindergarten, and the younger is only 3. The math curriculum
we have been using for the last 6 months (with the older son) is slow
and requires a lot of steps; yet I'm afraid to skip ahead and miss
something. Does anyone have a good recommendation of a self-paced
math program that starts as young as Kindergarten or first grade?"
-- Diana


Do you have a suggestion for Diana?

Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

Need Immediate Help?

Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center! This is a live 24/7
'chat' area where you can talk live to our homeschool counselors
by typing in a box. When you get there, just introduce yourself
and let them know that Heather sent you!

This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening

Check out our schedule of daily chats and jump right in! :-)


[Note: This ministry is geared toward Christian parents, but all
are welcome. You may need to download a Java program to utilize
this service. Email Luanne@educationforthesoul.com if you have
any technical difficulties.]

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Tags: lesson plans, home school scheduling, early college entry, homeschooling, college prep, home education, Sonlight review, time4learning review, homeschool college, homeschool lesson planning, homeschool scheduling, homeschool easy records, tips, support

Next - Self-Paced Math... is Math-U-See the Winner?
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