Planning for the New School Year – MBFLP 229

As we look forward to the new school year – whether with fear or anticipation – we’re looking at the problem of planning. How much is necessary? Is there a point of “too much”? What sort of process works best?

We’ve been homeschooling for twenty-five years now, and we’ve probably done it all, from detailed daily schedules to very flexible, constantly adapting plans. “Life happens,” as they say, and sometimes we’re reminded that God has lessons for our family that we may not have expected. In fact, that’s a key learning for us as homeschooling parents – make plans, yes, but with the humility to accept that God may overrule them at any point – and when He does, it will be for the good.

This episode we talk about striking that balance, being good stewards of the time we have with our kids, but also knowing that opportunities and emergencies will disrupt the best-laid plans. We’ve found you can accommodate both of them!


This episode brought to you by Evangelical Christian Credit Union



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10 Tech Tips and Tricks for Homeschool Families

homeschool mom planning and using tech to schedule her homeschool10 Tech Tips and Tricks for Homeschool Families

By Meryl van der Merwe

 

Homeschooling is time-consuming and homeschool moms are constantly juggling many things at once. I decided this was the perfect time of the year to share 10 tech tips and tricks that help me to be more productive and organized. Best of all, these tools are free!

Simplify Your Life With Google Drive

If you aren’t already using Google Drive and the Google Drive apps, be sure to listen to episode 2 of my Homeschooling With Technology podcast to learn other ways you can use these amazing apps! Google Drive apps make it easy to share anything: documents, spreadsheets, slides, surveys and more can all be shared with your children, husband, and homeschool friends.

Using Google for Homeschool Assignments

When your children submit assignments using Google docs or slides, you can comment and make suggestions for improvements right in the document. Because you simply share the Google Drive files with others, you are both always looking at the latest version. You save time and effort (and confusion) since you avoid emailing multiple files back and forth! If another user accidentally messes up someone else’s changes you can easily go back to an earlier version! Google saves your changes automatically.

Send Large Files Using Google Drive

Ever tried to email a video or other large file to someone and you can’t because the file is too large? Just upload it to Google Drive and then share the link and you are set!

Organize Links With Evernote

How many times have you found an amazing website, read a great blog post, or watched an interesting video – and thought you would remember where you saw it? Bookmark them all so you can come back to them whenever you want. There are many ways to bookmark links, but my favorite is to use Evernote. Create folders and save links in the relevant folder so they stay organized. If you use the Chrome browser, there is an Evernote extension that lets you “clip” any URL or highlighted text to save it in your folders.

Keep Your Browser Uncluttered

Maybe you are like me – really bad at having a LOT of tabs open at the same time. Recently I discovered a tool that has helped me declutter my browser. Often when I see something mentioned in a newsletter or a blog post that looks interesting, I am not yet certain that I want to save it. Now instead of keeping the tab open (which slows down my poor laptop dramatically), I use Toby! It allows me to drag the open tabs into a storage place. The Toby extension is available for the Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers which makes the process super fast. Now I assign things I see to Toby and when I am ready to go through them, I open a new tab – and there they are.

Digital Scheduling Tips

When you use technology to schedule your children’s schoolwork and chores, it is simple to update their schedules every week or even daily. Effortlessly copy the parts of the schedule that remain the same and only update what needs to change.  Move part of the schedule to another day using Google Sheets or the Google Calendar. These are both great scheduling tools but my personal favorite is Trello. With Trello you can have lists for each child and use those to post their assignments or chores for each day. They can check tasks off as they complete them allowing you to keep track of how they are doing. Trello is available for desktop or as an app, so it is ideal for teens who like being on their phones.

Online Study Tools

Online flashcards are great study tools! Websites like Studystack and Quizlet allow your students to learn with games and create their own flashcards. This is a fun way for them to review and hone their memory skills!

Streamline Grocery Shopping

For years now I have used the Anylist app on my iPhone. My husband and teens each had it on their phones so that whenever someone noticed something was running low they could add it to our list. The app is also great for keeping track of supplies for homeschool projects. With Anylist the shopping list is updated and on my phone, so no more shopping lists left at home! And if my husband is stopping at the grocery store on his way home, he can pick up everything else on the list and save me a trip.

Proofreading Tricks

Use Grammarly as your proofreader. Add the Grammarly extension to your Chrome toolbar and you have an automatic grammar and spelling checker everywhere you type online. In fact, it is what I am using as I type this post! Teach your children to use it to check their work. If you don’t use a Chrome browser, you can still sign up for Grammarly. Just cut and paste your child’s essay and Grammarly will highlight errors.

Stay Informed and Get Inspired

Keep up to date with your favorite podcasts! As you teach your children, don’t forget you need to grow and learn yourself. I struggle to find time to read the many blog posts I find, but podcasts have become my favorite way to self-educate. The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network has many shows that are useful to homeschool students and parents.  The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network website (right here) makes it easy to find podcasts from experts on homeschooling and Christian parenting. You can subscribe and listen on your favorite apps, listen right here from the website or sign up for a weekly email with links directly to all your favorite homeschool podcasters.

In fact, if you found these tips and tricks useful, be sure to subscribe to my podcast, Homeschooling with Technology for more on using tech to simplify your homeschool and your life! Each podcast episode is just 15 minutes long but is full of practical information you can use every day. The beauty of following your favorite podcast is that you can listen while you exercise, on trips to the store or while waiting to fetch a child from an activity. You don’t even have to listen to a whole podcast at a time – sometimes it takes me all week to listen to a long episode. Most podcasts (mine included) have show notes, so it is easy to look up a resource that is mentioned when you get back to your computer.

More Planning Tools

Finally, it’s back to homeschool season and some of the best resources for planning a curriculum, adding fun to your lessons, creating a new schedule or organizing your days, can be found online. Visit with me at the Homeschooling With Technology podcast this week and find many more Online Resources to Help you Select Curriculum. I invite you to join in the discussion with the rest of our online community on Facebook and gather more ideas with us on Pinterest and Instagram.

Did you find these tips and tricks useful? Which are you already using and which do you plan to try? I would love to know – so leave me a comment here or email me!

Planning for High School Success

Planning for Homeschool High School Success with Homeschool High School There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, but planning is such an important part of setting yourself up for success! Let’s talk about how to choose courses that will help mold teens’ character while giving them excellent life preparation, then how to plan to implement them over the 4 years of high school.

Homeschool high schoolers must be ready to face adulthood: educationally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, socially. As a homeschool parent, YOU get to help them prepare for the independence of adulthood. Here are tips for planning for high school success!

1) Set Long-Term Goals

Prayerfully think about what kind of young adulthood God has called your homeschooler to. Can you write a “wish list” describing his/her educational preparation, spiritual maturity, health, and social/relational skills? Keep it in perspective, of course:  a homeschool mom may plan her kids’ path- but God will direct their steps. You don’t want to get in His way, but thinking about the long-term picture will empower you to pray and help you make wise decisions.

2) Create some Short-Term Goals

Short-term goals are one-year-at-a-time goals for each year of high school. These will be the areas that you want to cover educationally each year with your homeschoolers. Here are some general thoughts about what to include:

Language Arts/Literature

Think about covering the common literature categories over the 4 years of high school. These common categories are typically recognized as British Literature, World Literature, and American Literature (in no particular order). Then add other categories that interest you and your teen, like Great Christian Writers, C.S. Lewis Studies, or why not blend topics for more general studies? Be sure to include vocabulary study, but incorporating that into your literature study is fine; using literature study guides is a great way to do that AND build a basic skill set for literary analysis.

Language Arts/Writing

Each year needs lots of writing of various types. Be sure to include a Research Paper, several Essays, and varied types of Creative Writing (poetry, short stories,journal entries, letters, song lyrics).

Grammar can either be learned using a stand-alone curriculum or (for students who have already mastered the basics) by editing their writing assignments and learning the nuances of good grammar as they correct their mistakes.

Maths

Include Algebra I, II, Geometry, and Financial Literacy (higher maths or business math may be a good choice according to your homeschool high schooler’s strengths and needs).

Social Studies

Most families study American History, World History (try integrating World History with Philosophy for a meaningful course!), Civics, Economics, Geography, Social Sciences (courses like Psychology or Sociology), and special topics of interest. These don’t need to be studied in any particular order, but make sure you spend time each year earning a credit of Social Studies.

Science

The commonly required sciences with lab experiments are Biology, Chemistry, and Physical Science (or Physics). Additionally, consider studying Health (or Human Development), specialty Courses such as Advanced Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Astronomy, Environmental Science, or others that fit with your child’s plans for college or career after graduation.

World Languages

It doesn’t matter which language you pick, but your student needs 2 or 3 years of the same language for the high school transcript.

Fine Arts

Music, visual art, dance, drama, photography…so many options, and one credit  is the absolutely minimum.

Phys Ed

This can be earned in many ways, but your teen needs at least 2 years of credits.

Career Exploration

This is one of the most valuable AND most-often-overlooked courses in high school. Varied numbers of credits need to be earned according to student needs. Help your homeschooler recognize what God has already done in his/her life and where He might be leading.

Religion

This is material that can be studied in many ways; choose an approach that fits your family.

Drivers Ed

You don’t want to play chauffeur the rest of your life, do you? 🙂

Electives

Elective courses are the ones where you get to choose what will uniquely complement your teen’s personality, areas of interest or passion, calling from God for ministry, and more. Use these to develop skills/talents, explore new areas of development, or add power (SPARKLE) to the high school transcript making it extra-attractive to colleges.

Planning for high school success means considering the generally agreed-upon requirements for a high school education AND considering the unique needs of your teen and your homeschool family. By giving both considerations time and importance, you will find the plan coming beautifully together for homeschool high school!

 


If you enjoyed this blog, please check out The Homeschool High School podcast on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network!

Sabrina and Vicki are your Big Sisters as they share the experience they’ve gained in over 20 years of homeschooling. They are the talky-2 of the 6 Sisters at 7SistersHomeschool.com. They are often joined by their other sisters, Kym and Marilyn OR other 7th Sisters! When YOU join us at The Homeschool Highschool Podcast, YOU will be our 7th Sister, too! Hooray!!

Come be our 7th Sister each week for The Homeschool Highschool Podcast, Tuesday mornings at 9:00 am EST!

Plan Your Homeschool Year

How to Plan Your Homeschool Year podcast


[box] Want to read this article as a blog post? READ HERE or SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES or ON STITCHER[/box]

Hey homeschoolers!

It’s a new year and a great time to formulate a new plan for our homeschools. In this episode, I’ll share three simple strategies for planning your best homeschool year ever.

Links

Psychowith6 on Instagram

Power of Routines with Marla Cilley

Homeschool FLYing: Organizing with the FLYLady

The Organized Homeschool Life

A Plan in Place episode

Quarterly Homeschool Planner

Quarterly Homeschool Planning with Trello

Have a happy homeschool week!

Homeschool Planning That Doesn’t Take All Summer

Homeschool Planning Shouldn't Take All Summer: The Homeschool Sanity Show PodcastFor so many years, I was frustrated. I needed lots and lots of time to plan my homeschool year in the summer, but I didn’t have it. My husband had other ideas for how to spend the summer and frankly so did I. I finally learned what I was doing wrong and I’ll share it with you in this episode.

Listen on ITUNES

Teaching Tip of the Week

Our Thrifty Home – subscribe

Organized Homeschool Challenge of the Week

is the Planning Challenge.

Links

ToDoist

Skedpal

two different approaches to homeschool planning on paper that my listeners can get for freeHave a happy homeschool week!

MBFLP – Planning For The New School Year

MBFLP - Planning For The New School Year

 

The new school year is coming … do you have your plans together yet? Or do you shudder at the thought? This episode, we talk about the need to have a plan, but not to obsess over it. You’ll find this episode both challenging and encouraging as Melanie explains her calm, positive approach to planning — with an eye to God’s providential interruption!

the Informer – with Rebecca Keliher, the Well Planned Gal

Informer Podcast WPG

On this episode of the Informer podcast, host Tara Bentley interviews Rebecca Keliher, homeschool mom, creator of The Well Planned Day, and founder of Home Educating Family Association {HEDUA}. Rebecca shares her testimony, her personal homeschooling journey, information on her daughter’s new publication for young women called Dear Magazine, and she shares about how The Well Planned Day got started.

As a second generation homeschool family, Rebecca has spent time with hundreds of homeschool moms across the country. She’s seen that many moms struggle with the same fears and doubts. Rebecca and Tara tackle topics such as struggling with organization, exhaustion, comparing yourself to other moms, and loving your child unconditionally.

This podcast captures the true passion of Rebecca, which is ministering to homeschool families and being an encouragement to individual moms. Her enthusiasm is truly contagious.

 

Tips para la planeación de su año escolar

Visita a Lemonhass.com para descargar unos formularios gratis o para comprar la Agenda de Escuela en Casa que menciona Katie.

Homeschool Planning Made Simple

Homeschool planning for the summer and school year really can be simple when you have a plan in place. This podcast with Susie Doeren and Kim Lopez will save your homeschool sanity!I think I’ve tried every method of homeschool planning available and never found homeschool sanity until I developed my own forms. I call them The Easiest Homeschool Record System and I still think it’s great. However, it takes me quite a bit of time to customize the forms and put them in a binder for each of my five children that I’m still homeschooling.

So when I found the customizable planners from APlaninPlace.net, I was excited. I invited the owners to share how to make summer and school year planning simple with podcast listeners. You won’t be disappointed! You will learn:

  • the importance of planning for the summer months
  • where to start planning and when for the school year
  • the big mistake many homeschool moms make in planning (I’ve definitely made it!)
  • how much time to plan, and more

You’ll also learn about the unique features of the planners available at APlaninPlace.net. If you order a student addition through June 15, 2014, you can order the summer edition for half price. That’s just $5! I have a summer planner for each of my children and I can tell you, that’s a steal! I am not an affiliate with A Plan in Place; I’m just very enthusiastic about these planners that make life easy for homeschooling moms like me.

You can follow a Plan in Place on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

What other advice do you have for homeschool planning?

 

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