I’ve been using Mondays to clear out my mailbox. This week’s topic: assignment charts for students (especially those who are homeschooling).
Question: Got any assignment charts I can use?
I have been trying to come up with a new homeschool chart for my kids’ actual school subjects… thought you might have something fabulous!! What are your favorite places to research new homeschool ideas??
Answer: I’ve got lots of options. Try as many as you like!
“Fabulous” is a tall order, but there are a variety of printable charts I’ve used over our many years of homeschooling, depending on a given child’s age, temperament, courseload, and what seemed to work best under the circumstances at the time. I’ll try to link blank versions of several you can use (along with a few samples of how I filled them out) below.
Some are fancy. Some are bare bones. All have been helpful at one time or other over the decades we’ve been schooling our kids at home. So take your pick, with my blessings and best wishes!
Simple Chart for Younger Kids
For my little ones, I print a simple chart for them to mark as they do their daily chores and lessons. I eventually laminated this chart, so they could use the same copy week after week. We posted it on a large bulletin board where it served as a reminder of what they’d accomplished and what still needed to be done.
Simple Lesson Planner for Mom
Meanwhile, as my little ones check off their daily tasks for school, chores, and hygiene, I keep track of all the actual page and lesson numbers. In the early days of our homeschooling, I recorded everything by hand on this simple chart. I’d pencil in plans a semester at a time, then adjust assignments as we went to reflect the work we actually got done.
In the chart above, each of the squares in the monthly columns represent a week’s work. In the far left column, I’d list all the different subjects we were working on (and duplicate the list in each square) so that as you followed a particular subject down the column and across the page, you’d see the progress we made over the course of five months.
Of course, this entailed a lot of repetitive writing, so I eventually shifted to typing my lessons plans on a computer. Honestly, I think a straightforward list is hard to beat. Here is a sample of the ones I’ve used in the past to keep track of the subjects I teach directly (both one-on-one tutoring and multi-level instruction). I print it off the computer as-is, then fill in the lesson numbers by hand at the beginning of each week.
It helps to break down the assignments in such a way that I can check off each day’s work as I go (e.g., instead of writing “Lessons 1-5” I’ll write out “L1 L2 L3 L4 L5”). And by keeping digital copies, I can easily adjust them week to week. As we finish one book, I’ll remove that title from my weekly plan and replace it with the next on my reading list.
Simple Weekly Assignment Chart for Kids
As my children grew older and more independent, I started making more detailed weekly charts for them to follow. Just like the semester plans I made for myself, I wrote most of these weekly assignments by hand on a simple chart that looked like this:
As I started going digital with my semester lesson plans, I made similar lists for the older kids. These included 4-6 weeks of assignments at a time, which allowed those who were so inclined to work ahead if they wanted (this example is from several years ago… David will be graduating from UTTyler this spring). The kids’ lists contain only their personal assignments, both for the courses I teach them directly as well as for reading and other coursework they are responsible to do independently.
Pretty Weekly Assignment Charts
Currently, I use a fancier version of the simple charts above. You can glimpse those below. Interested? Then follow this link to download free printable copies of either or both. I hope these pretty weekly planning pages — one version for students and another for Mom — will make a necessary chore more enjoyable!
Editable High School Transcript
For a big-picture look at lesson planning, try my free editable high school transcript. The summer before my students start ninth grade, I sit down and pencil in all the courses they’ll need to take before graduation. I leave a few blank lines to keep track of electives and extra curricular activities as they come up. But this is a great tool to use in planning, and one you’ll be glad you filled out in advance when it comes time to apply for college. (Just follow this link to download your free transcript template.)
The Other Half of the Question
You have the chart, but now how do you decide what to put on them? Or, as Ginger put it, where do I go to research new ideas for homeschooling?
Honestly, I guess I try not to worry about that too much. Once I’ve found a curriculum that works for us, I’ve tended to stick with it (We’ve been using Saxon Math and Apologia Science) for decades now. As long as what I have is working, I just keep using it and don’t worry that there may be something bigger, better, or brighter elsewhere (I don’t believe there is, anyway).
You could drive yourself crazy and possibly bankrupt with too much second-guessing and switching methods mid-stream. If I encounter an area in which the method I’ve picked does not get the results I want (like I had with spelling a few years back), then I ask other homeschool moms what they use (one of whom recommended Sequential Spelling, which has been WONDERFUL), or scour the homeschool section at our local Christian bookstore, or browse through the exhibit hall at our next annual homeschool convention.
That said, word-of-mouth is a powerful endorsement, and if I hear very many people talking about a new idea, I will usually investigate. I also enjoy thumbing through issues of THIS OLD SCHOOLHOUSE and PRACTICAL HOMESCHOOLING. I often spend as much time reading the ads as I do the articles. And I also like to check out the latest offerings at Timberdoodle Company and to the reading lists at Sonlight Curriculum to stay abreast of what’s new or to replace consumable products like workbooks and art kits.
Hope that helps. Thanks for writing!