Friday, July 26, 2013

Term 3 Notebook

Another term is upon us & I find that term 3 tends to be our calmest term of the year. We've found our groove & the schedule that works best for us this year. There's no more last minute books or items arriving that we still have to figure out how to best use. The holidays {all be them fun} that plague our normal schedule at the start of the year are over & done with. We're far enough into our books that the boys can see their accomplishments & feel some sort of accomplishment. The changes or alterations that often get made at the start of the year are in place & things are now moving along like a well oiled machine.

This is extremely evident in my term 3 notebook. Remember how in term 2 I had to switch to a 3-ring binder because I was trying to balance so many things? A couple of science themes, a couple of main themes, notes, paper, and so much more. While the notebook was helpful in regards to storing everything I needed it was rather cumbersome in dragging around not to mention how much room it could take up on the table.

I was delighted to go back to my old trusty purple notebook this term which is nothing more then a cheap refillable Marbig A4 notebook that has a pocket on the front. I tend to stop up on those notebooks at the start of the year when they are on special. I pick up a couple with pockets & even more without,  & they never go to waste.

Last term I started making my own schedule for each week. I'm not going to lie here, at first it seemed silly & pointless, not to mention it took a good chunk of time. But the first week I did it nothing got forgotten & everything was in one place. The second week was even quicker to put together because I was able to just adjust a few things on my page & print it back out. By the end of the term I was able to have one ready to print out in a fraction of the time it took me when I started.

It also means my notebook isn't splitting at the seams! I simply adjust our schedule each week, entering in what I hope for each person to accomplish. I can fit it all on one, two sided, piece of paper, but I generally just print it on two separate papers so I can have them laying flat in front of me when I open the notebook. Each person is colour coded, thing done together have their own colour, & so on.

I adjust the week on the top, leave the date empty so I can fill it after I print it out, & change the weeks on the bottom so I knew which week we are in within our term. This is helpful for when a child asks when our next break is coming up, or knowing if I need to adjust work loads based on goals that need to be met during a term.

When I created the page from the very start I made sure I entered listed things in the pattern we like to accomplish school in. Meaning, that generally we start our day with Bible & read alouds & end with seat work. Generally when I waver from that schedule our days are a bit crazy. Oddly enough, though, our more calm Term 3 start has been the absolute opposite, & that's okay too.

At the end of the week I staple the pages together & slip them into a clear page protector which is filed in my file box. I doubt I need to do that, but I tend to be a little over cautious when it comes to keeping track of what we did incase I need to present that when our home evaluator comes.

Behind that I also keep:

Our Sonlight Timeline Schedule & timeline pieces. I don't normally need that schedule, but as we're not following SL as written this year it helps me remember to use them & know when to have the kids colour them in to fit on their timeline.

I also keep our Children Around The World schedule in there. While I don't need to look at it daily, or even weekly, thanks to the nifty planning sheet{s} I made up that are in the front of the book, I do like having the originals there. They are mostly for reference. If I open a book up & see that the page numbers are wrong I can quickly flip to my schedule & find the right pages. Discussion questions are on the original schedule as well as the Cultural Gathering ideas which really help round out the studies for us. I just keep a moveable tab on the week we are currently on. I don't bother to empty the notebook until the end of term, so the tab allows me to quickly find the week we're on if I need to.

After those I have Jayden's Animal Habitats schedule. In Term 2 I put those plans directly on my homemade schedule, but this term I decided not to. In term 2 we were using the theme in am ore full-on way, but when he decided to join in on the CAW theme we decided to go back to using it as a proper science theme. This was an easy switch as we own both the science & full themes. I also think making the switch has caused a deeper enjoyment for him with this particular theme. Because I don't have these written directly on my homemade planner page I simply keep a tab on the current week for this & flip to it when it's our time to work on his science theme. Thanks to the fact that these are page protectors I slip things into it also allows me to hold his lovely animal squares to his growth chart there.

Then I slipped in the kids World Travel Diary pages. While you can easily print out the entire book at one time, I just print out the pages we need for each week on the weekend prior & then stick them in my notebook. There's no fumbling looking for the right pages or wondering which order they go in. There's no excess unfinished pages in the kids notebooks. It's quick, simply, & organised. I also store their world flags there. Those are all on one page & they need one flag each week to glue into their book. Despite their own notebooks having pockets they always seem to spill out & be found upon the floor. That drives me batty. So instead I keep them in my notebook & they are allowed to fish them out if they need them.

I also have some plans a few friends & I made together for getting our kids together this term & doing some fun things. It has all the nitty gritty information, dates, & places we are meeting. I do transfer that information to the calendar, but generally not until each month pops up. Plus, you only show up 1 week early to a Dr's appointment & 1 week late to a field trip before you find yourself triple checking dates & times before heading out.

Lastly, I've got some Handwriting Without Tears paper in the back, all though Jayden is pretty certain it should just be called "tears paper". Not that he cries when it comes to writing or handwriting, but it's still not his favourite subject. I like to keep some in my notebook because it never fails that when I send a child off to retrieve some it takes them twice as long as it should. So by keeping some at hand I can just grab it out, assign the lesson & move on. Quick & simple.

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