Homeschool Help: On Schedule and Lesson Planning

I have to admit. Lesson planning is not my strength. In the past 6 years that we have been homeschooling, I just go along with the book we have chosen for the school year and prepare the materials as needed everyday. I check the teacher’s guide and use that as a reference. Sometimes, we do a bit of unit study – so I research and download what we need and print them out. And we continue on and the cycle repeats itself. We just create projects to culminate the lessons we have learned and keep them as part of our portfolio for the school year.

This year, as my daughter is in 7th grade, I think I should be more intentional in planning for record keeping purposes.

Here are some tips on scheduling and lesson planning that I have learned over the years:

  1. Scheduling and lesson planning is different for each family. What works for me may not work for you. Some parents like to use digital planners while some prefer written planners. Some might want to schedule their day according to time  while others want a more relaxed schedule and schedule it according to subject.

    I have reviewed some digital homeschool planners you can use, and you can go ahead and browse through them. Personally though, I am a pen and paper planner so I would go for those that I can print and write on.

    I have shared our homeschool schedule when my daughter was just in 3rd grade and my son was in preschool, now that they are in higher grades, this schedule is a bit more full and may take a few hours more.

  2. I read some homeschool mom blogs that help me plan the year ahead of us and see if it will help me get more organized. Then I try to implement it and see if it fits our family’s homeschool.

    Here are some sites that were really helpful for us this school year:

    Donna Young – she shares  free printable planners and how to plan.

    Free Homeschool Deals – list of free homeschool planners, lists and forms.

    Donna Simpao – she shares how she plans the topics she will teach and how to do blending learning across subjects. She does unit studies.

    Kim Sorgius – she shares 10 steps for planning your homeschool year.

  3. The learning style of your children and your teaching style will be a factor in creating your schedule and lesson plans.

    My daughter is very visual and she likes words too so she enjoys reading a lot. I ask her to use blank-paged notebooks to write her notes on as she usually uses drawings to record her learnings. We usually look for chapter books or picture books that complements her lessons, especially in world history.

    My son is visual and auditory but I am not very auditory at all. I would need to do some more research this school year so that he can get to watch videos for his Science or Social Studies, and we can also use songs to enhance memory work in Bible.

    I realized that I could have done more than just breeze through our lessons for the past years, especially for my son. Hopefully, I will be able to implement these lessons that I have learned consistently in this school year.

 

 

Homeschool Help: Filipino Lessons

A few years back, I have shared a post about Tools in Teaching Filipino subject at home. Today, I’d like to share some more sites which might prove useful in teaching Filipino lessons.

Wikapedia has been launched last year and it is  a private and non-profit project which aims to promote the Filipino language. Visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wikapediaph/ You can also download a free Ebook entitled “Balarila at Aralin sa Filipino” from http://pcdspo.gov.ph/downloads/WIKApedia_Booklet_2015_ed.pdf It contains the lessons about the correct usage of certain words and it is visual-oriented so it doesn’t give a “textbook” feel.

wikapedia

 

The Learning Library is a learning center which gives Filipino lessons, without using the traditional way of teaching Filipino lessons in schools. They have different programs based on your child’s ability and fluency with the Filipino language. Check out their webpage at http://www.learninglibraries.com/index.php/our-programs/wikay-galing/ for more information. The Learning Library is located in different parts of Metro Manila.

 

Homeschool Help: Preparing for the New School Year

As the end of our school break is upon us, I am busy preparing for the upcoming school year. School Year 2016-2017 will start in September. So how am I preparing for the start of another academic year?

  1. Assess and pray. I begin by assessing our previous year. I think about what worked and what didn’t and I will also ask my children what they thought and if there is anything we should change. And as I have the answers from my children, I go and ask the Lord for wisdom. I also go back to our homeschool’s mission and goal.
  2. Check and purchase the materials. Since we are here in the Philippines, I align our studies with the DepEd’s requirements. We enroll under a Dep-Ed accredited home education provider, Homeschool Global (formerly TMA Homeschool).Homeschool Global has a list of curriculum that we can choose from but there are some subjects that I use curriculum that are not on the list because I think they are better suited for my children’s needs. I will order these materials online and have it shipped to the Philippines. For the other materials that are available locally, I usually buy them from Learning Plus bookstore.
  3. Prepare a curriculum map. I begin by dividing the contents of each subject into 4 quarters. Then divide the topics into weeks so we can have a guide of our lessons weekly. I study the topics per week and create a list of activities that the children can do to achieve the goal. This allows me to purchase materials needed at home to do projects.
  4. IMG_8398Create evaluation guides. Since I would need to evaluate my children’s work, I need to create rubrics to help me grade their different outputs like essays, artworks or projects. For some books, these guides are already available.

For the past years, I have been quite unprepared each day for our lessons. Gratefully, my children has become very independent.  Hopefully, this year I can be on top of my children’s lessons and guide them through. We are also hoping to do better integrated projects along the way.

Our Writing Curriculum Journey

As we have homeschooled over the past 6 years, we have tried different writing curriculum. When my daughter was in grades 1-3, we kept using Voyages in English since this curriculum have grammar and writing in it. I noticed that my daughter was able to follow the grammar lessons but when asked to write, she wouldn’t be able to write nice sentences at all and sometimes, would even dread writing.

It was during this time that a friend lent us their copy of Writing With Ease and my daughter loved it. It was all narration, copywork and dictation but because everything came from good literature, we had a great time doing it!

We also got to try Sonlight Language Arts for a year and she had a blast! Though there weren’t really much writing expected from her from that curriculum. It mainly consists of copywork, narration and dictation. We also were able to read through several great books and use those as our guide for our grammar lessons.

Then we tried to use Write Shop. It was a writing curriculum filled with fun activities and though I think it was a fun program, it didn’t fit the need of my daughter. It was during this time of praying and looking around that a friend lent me her copy of Julie Bogart’s The Writer’s Jungle. It was an awesome book and it really helped open my options about writing. It changed my perspective about writing and gave really cool tips that we used in our household. It helped ease my relationship with my daughter and changed my expectations from her and I noticed that it helped her to relax as well eventually enabling her to write better.

As we approached 6th grade, we got Writing With Skill from Susan Wise Bauer to help her write better technically. I was hesitant at first but I was very happy with the results. My daughter who was once a reluctant writer is now able to write better and quite interestingly too. We are still continuing with Writing With Skill this coming 7th grade.

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Making Hard Decisions

After much prayers and discussions, we have finally decided to let our daughter stop attending ballet classes. It was a difficult decision to make since she has been taking ballet classes for the past 6 years now with Acts Manila. We’ve seen her grow, not just in dance but moreso in her character. She showed determination – even when it was hard to go to classes, she wouldn’t absent herself from class if possible. She showed perseverance – even when the routine was hard, she kept at it until she got it. She showed care and love to everyone in her ballet class.

This was definitely a hard decision to make but I knew that we had to make it. Financial, logistical and lifestyle issues are our main concerns. We couldn’t afford any longer to keep sending her to classes because ballet is truly an expensive art. From shoes, tights, costumes, exams, recitals and competitions – we just couldn’t keep up anymore. Of course my daughter was sad, but after discussing it together, we knew this was the best decision. The season has come for us to leave ballet.

We also realized that she is truly gifted in visual arts. We wanted her to explore that side as well so that she can fully bloom with the gifts that God has given her.

Before we made this decision, these blog articles  helped me through this decision: “Because when Jesus asks us to do something hard, he walks the difficult road with us” from the post When Jesus Asks You To Do Something Hard from We Are That Family. Another encouragement was from Concerning Change and Bacon Gouda Sandwiches.

I took this time as a way of teaching my child to make hard decisions in life. There will be days when we need to make changes in our life. It may not “feel right” but we prayed together, we considered circumstances and consulted our family members. I believe that through this change in our life, we had a lot of “teachable moments” as we discussed what God wanted us to do and what we are doing next.

I believe that  God will have something else for her. As we wait for new opportunities and new friends that God will bring to her life, we are praying and keeping our eyes open.