Friday, May 25, 2012

Trying to work it all out

I know I haven't posted often this whole year - I just have felt like our homeschool just hasn't been running quite the way I want all year...  and it has caused us to be doing light homeschooling for a month or two (reading, writing, arithmetic) while I try to work things out for next year.  And I have been working hard to figure things out for next year.  Of course, my non-homeschooling friends feel that next school year is so far away.... but I feel like it is really close.

I am getting things worked out.... well, some things.  Others I'm trying to work out still.  It is amazing the number of things to decide.  Did I want to continue a CM program, or should we do something else?  If doing CM, what program - or should I try to make my own?  Do work together as a family (with level-appropriate added activities) - like Simply Charlotte Mason?  Or do everyone working on their own level - like AO?  This seemed so fundimental!  And then... do SCM? Milestones? Old Fashioned Education? Higher Up and Farther In? Ambleside Online? Tanglewood? Something else?  My own plan?

Everything had advantages and disadvantages.  And I admit - my decision on what to do kind of surprised me.

I think we are back to AO!  Yes, I hate "This Country of Ours" (which several of the CM programs use.) - and I don't like the AO Advisory's response to criticisms of this book.  BUT, that said.... as we are doing Canadian History instead.... we weren't even going to use the book.

So now, having worked this out.... I'm trying to figure out more of the implementation details for the family.  I won't have time to do all the readings to both Delta and Echo (not to mention some good readings for Foxtrot and Golf) - so we will need to use a few audiobooks as well.

I need Delta to be able to be more independent - which is something I think will work well with him.  So I need some organization which allows that... which is where I'm stuck right now.  Here are the options I'm looking at...

  • planner along the lines of 
  • workboxes
  • daily printouts from the SCM Organizer [SCMO] (which we already use)
  • a "weekly printout" (daily printout, with various items showing upcoming assignments) from SCMO
  • another paper schedule - I saw one I liked that had 3 weeks on a (2 sided) page!
  • having Delta mark things off on the computer - either with SCMO or Skedtrak, or another similar
And again, there are advantages and disadvantages of each option.

  • planner like from UR the Mom - I'm not sure how to go about doing the recommended goal setting when using a scheduled program like AO....  and (like all the options) - I need to have the AO schedule in some format for Delta to reference....   This does allow the most independence, including decision making (if I don't schedule each day.)  I like a lot of the ideas of this - just trying to figure out how to make it work for us.
  • workboxes - this worked well for us our first year of AO, and I really like the idea of it.  I also think this might work the best for Echo at this stage.  It allows for independence - but not decision making. The problem is the space it takes.... even the various variations.  We did workbox folders for part of our other AO year - it worked ok (not quite as well) - and it had the advantage of portability....   This really is a big space question.
  • Daily printouts from SCMO - we have done this in the past too - there is an issue about the amount of paper that ends up being used... 2 or 3 pages per person per day isn't uncommon!
  • "Weekly printout" from SCMO - the SCMO isn't setup to do this - but you can get 3 more assignments to show up by opening up the next assignments - so that is almost a weeks worth for most things.  Less paper than Daily printouts - still more than I really want...
  • The 3week mini-term schedule.  I liked this - it used 3 different colours - 1 for each week - and you setup all the assignments for the 3 weeks.  But it would take a lot of editing, as I have to make it for each mini-term.  (I'm sure the first takes the longest).  It just seems like a lot of work that I shouldn't have to do....
  • Using the computer for Delta to see what is available, as well as to mark it off.  This would be great as I already have everything in SCMO - but some of the things I have done to put in the AO schedule - makes sense to me, but wouldn't to him.... plus there isn't a student login - so he could, in theory, mess something up in the schedule.   I looked at Skedtrak (which is free) that has student logins - but then.... I'll have to duplicate the work I do already in SCMO... and I think I had tried it and found it a little less convenient that SCMO....
I am also a little "scared" of the upcoming year, with 2 different levels of AO - especially since Echo is complaining about doing a couple of little subjects of school each day - and they are so used to "light school"...  I'm worried about juggling the need for my help, and the overall time that might be needed.  I guess we will see how it goes.


  1. I'm already working on next years plans as well. We started with AO this past year, but life went crazy and we went to light schooling as well. I'm trying to finish up AO1 with my 10 and 8 year olds. I'm hoping to start them with AO2 in the fall and my dd6 in either .5 or AO1, not sure yet! It takes me longer to put our year together to since I have to Canadianize it, but your plans are a huge help. Thanks!

    1. Oh, I as going to post more specific plans for Cdn AO for Year 1 and Year 2 right away! There are some modifications from what I had up here before for Year 1... and more details for Year 2.

      Since you may need the Year 2 info quicker, maybe I'll do that one first!

    2. Thanks! Your plans look great. :) I'm going to a huge library sale in a few weeks and I hope I can find some great Canadian history books.

    3. Let me know if you find any really good ones!

      btw - for the biographies, I just went to the library, and found a few that looked about the right length and difficulty, read through them, and picked a few (that would be for Year 1 I guess....) - Most of my plan is based on what I can find here.

  2. Oh I forgot to ask, if you have looked at Homeschool Tracker? There is a free version and a Pro version. But I know it has lists you can print off for students and there are plans already made for some of the AO years in the schedule group.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I did look at the free version of Homeschool Tracker a long time ago - I found that it was a lot of work to keep things updated, especially if we missed things. (I know I could push the assignments to later.... in the SCMO, you don't do anything if you didn't do something, and it will just come up the next day....) Did it have lists to print for the students that were for a whole week, and not just a day?

    I am pretty sure to use the pre-made plans, you need the Pro version...

    1. Yes to use the lesson plan feature you need the pro version. The basic uses only just the weekly or assignment grid, I can't remember which one. The lessons don't auto adjust if you don't mark them as compleated. But you just select the assignment and tell it to reschedule. It will move the lesson and the lessons that follow it for you. I like that because, I don't always get time to login and mark the lessons compleated the day we do them.

      Yes you can print the students full week as well.

      They have an online version now to, but I haven't tried it. I loved the look of the SCMO, but I haven't tried it either.

    2. Thanks - it is good to know that they have a week option as well. I'm still trying to figure out how best to get the information to my kids on what to do... printing a list from SCMO is the easiest/least work - but so much paper!

  4. So glad you're back to AO. I had a look at your Canadianised plans and they look great. Very doable. As you know, we Australianise. It works well for us.

    1. Thanks Jeanne - I used ideas from your post on Australianizing AO to help me make sure that our new plans were doable - like trying hard not to put something in without taking something else out.

      The Year 1 plan will be posted sometime tomorrow...