Lesson Planning With the Lesson Planner
- Wednesday, March 23, 2011
For the past eleven years I have been the homeschool coordinator for my county. One of the things I recommend to new homeschoolers—and any homeschooling family—is a good teacher's planner/record keeping system. Whether it's on hard copy in a notebook or on a CD-ROM for your computer, it is one of the most important tools a homeschool mom can own.
In states where one has to keep records of every little thing, a planner fits the bill; in states that permit you to have a choice about how to assess your children and the assessor needs to see all that your students have done throughout the whole school year—every book read, every field trip taken, every DVD watched, every CD-ROM and learning resource used—a lesson planner fits the bill. When your family uses tons of different books and takes several field trips through the school year, you can't exactly re-check 100+ books and plop them in your assessor's lap and then take her on a whirlwind drive to every field trip destination you've gone to!
But . . . you can show the assessor your complete and thorough records from your well-used lesson planner.
If you prefer an interactive planner for use on your computer, Homeschool Tracker can be a real lifesaver! It is so easy to set up; just upload it onto your computer and go. It is so easy to follow; just click on a tab and add, subtract, or read whatever you need to know.
There are nine tabs/sections to work with: Main Menu, Overview, Assignments, Attendance, Reading Log, Field Trips, Daily journal, Maintenance, and Reports.
Main Menu: This is the "Title Page." This is where your school's name and public information are shown, plus your school motto (ours is "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me!") and a summary of your children's attendance records to date (with columns for each of the following designations: sick, present, hours, and average). Not every state, including mine, must account for hours or attendance, but it is always nice to have that information. One never knows when things might change in regard to state law, and it is always nice to have your records on hand should a problem arise.
Overview: This is a handy page; it has columns labeled as follows (with sample entries here):
Assignments: I have to tell you, maybe it's just me, but this was the hardest part for me to figure out—and it's just a calendar!! Once I figured out that I was required to set up the calendar to show the dates for our school year, it was easy. I had begun to think that I had to go get one of my teenagers to show me how to figure this out! But the Lord is good, and I began to put it all together. Actually, this was one of the most fun sections to use after I got the hang of it. On this calendar you can show whether your child was "present," "sick," that this was a "holiday," or that the day was designated as "holiday/present."
Reading Log: Here you can list: Student/Resource/Type/Started/Finished. If you are like our household and use lots of books and other resources, this can be one of the most gratifying pages. It is incredible to look back and see all that was read and used throughout your school year. Assessors love those lists!
Field Trips: This section includes the following column titles: Trip Date/Time Spent/Subject/Description (location). The only thing I think I would change would be to add a place to record things that were accomplished or objectives learned at each location.
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