Friday, January 17, 2014

Setting Up Winter Promise Notebooks

After we finished unpacking around here it was time to dive headfirst right into getting school set up for the coming year. We, here in Tassie, start back in February. Considering it's all ready the middle of January, shockingly enough, there was no time to waste!

Morgan is entering 7th grade, which around here means highschool. To continue him forward on the road to working independently I knew we'd need to keep the schedules, notebooking pages, & worksheets he'll be using this year very organised so he could easily find what  he needed to keep moving.

We often bind up our Winter Promise Themes, but that can also mean, at times, flipping around & flagging various areas that need to be referred to from time to time. While this doesn't bother me as long as I've remembered to flag things with different coloured post-it flags, I knew this would be harder for Morgan to keep up with. So instead I went to the office shop & picked up a gigantic notebook & 200 page protectors. And I'm not talking the flimsy ones either, I'm talking the ones that clearly stated heavy duty on them!

Then I piled everything up in front of me by subject & stared filling those page protectors up! It wasn't too bad considering the guys wanted to watch a movie anyway. And, filling up shiny new page protectors is something I enjoy anyway, I'm weird like that. By the time I was done just about everything he needs is inside that great big notebook!

I don't always print out covers from our digital products, but this time I did. I also printed out a few tips, helps, & other bits of information I might want to refer back to over the year. If we need more room in the notebook for anything I can always remove them & put them in my own binder.

I included all the planning ahead pages in regards to upcoming activities this year. Last year I presented the page to Morgan & he was on the lookout all year long for the items he'd need for projects. This will be flagged with a post-it tab so he can refer to it & tick things off as he goes. We have a cupboard in the kitchen where he puts the supplies he needs, & heaven help the person who recycles the cornflake boxes instead of putting them in there. He takes his supply list very seriously. Behind that page is also the list of activities for the year ahead, we'll go through it this weekend & highlight the ones we'll chose to do, or rather the ones he feels he can do on his own.

In most themes, Winter Promise includes a list of DVDs & when they'll be needed. Unfortunately, we've yet to find a single one with our video club, a local video store, or even at our library! That hasn't stopped us from scouring the list & looking! I'm debating purchasing a few this year or seeing if Netflix might have them.

Most of Morgan's spines this year are available in at least one audio form. This is wonderful for him because his eyes still tire quickly, not to mention we're still waiting on his new glasses to arrive! One of his main spines this year is Mystery Of History Volume I, which MOH sells as cds or MP3s. They also have a free pdf printable of the lessons & track numbers directly on their website. I printed out what we needed & loaded them into the notebook. While we have the MP3's & they'll go on the ipod touch, I know sometimes we both need the visual!

Now we're getting into the meat of his notebook, meaning now we've hit the actual lesson plans, schedules, notebooking pages, & more. Each week with Quest For Ancients there's a lovely cover page like this giving us an idea of what the week is about. There are questions that I can ask about the history books he'll have read for the week, all though I often don't need questions for him. He generally comes & narrates his lessons all most word for word. 

After his intro page I've got our Sonlight Science Schedule. Now that probably sounds a little weird, but this year for science Morgan is using Apologia General Science. Sonlight has done the work for me breaking it down into bite sized bits each day. It was worth the $15 to have it done for me! Everything is on the schedule, from what he needs to listen to all the way down to which supplies we need next week. 

Next is his LA schedule. This year we're using Winter Promise's programme, this is the first time we've used a true grammar programme so it should be interesting. Despite the amount of information on the page he'll only be using a portion of it. Behind each schedule is a Writing Mission, or rather behind each schedule is the accompanying Writing Mission if possible. Some missions carry over a couple of weeks & some weeks have none. 

I've also thrown the workbook style pages in that same page protector, just facing the other way. At the end of the year he can bind up the pages or we'll put them in an envelope in the file box. Either way the pages he needs for each week are located right behind the schedule so all he'll need to do is pull them right out & keep moving. We picked this particular course because the entire thing is written as though you are on a space mission, so everything is referred to in space jargon, he's going to love that!

Next up are his Adventure Quest pages & Make Your Own Notebooking pages. Yes, these come before the schedule, but you'll understand why in a minute. They are all in one page protector. He won't need each page each day, it's scheduled when to use which page & he'll just pull out the one he needs, use it, & then file it in his Timeline Notebook. Pretty simple! Some of those pages are pretty full & may end up having a paperclip or bull clip on them to be sure we don't lose anything, but I'm not overly worried about it. The idea is for this giant notebook to lay open to the week he's on & not move from that location.

Then we're finally at the history schedule for the year. This one tells him what to read when, which websites to visit, which books he's reading, & how much. Notebooking pages needed for the week & so on. It's all pretty straightforward because you simply run your finger down Day 1 or whatever day of the week you happen to be on.

Another unique thing about the curriculum is that Winter Promise offers an Independent Study Guide page. This is a schedule set up directly to/for the student. If you purchase the pre-printed ones you're given permission to run copies for your immediate family. If you purchase the digital ones you can now type directly on them if you want! That really got me excited, all though I won't be using that awesomeness this year. Instead I have this page laying right next to the main schedule so Morgan can view both. He will be doing this theme largely on his own & thus he'll need to see both schedules at the same time. Most of the information on it is the same, but not all of it.

We have 36 weeks set up like that, as the Winter Promise curriculum is made for 36 weeks or 144 days. So once we're through all the weekly schedules I've slipped in the eReading Schedule. While I don't have the ebooks, this was part of the LA package, & allows me to see at a glance when which books are meant to be read. It also includes a lovely page I can type into what books to read when if the schedule provided doesn't quite fit our needs, perhaps one can't get all the books, etc.

Then we have the great Timeline Section. There's often a game of some sort {or two} included in the Guides for use with the information you've learned during the year. This year it's a timeline style game, I'm pretty that's what's in the other history themes we've used too. There's instructions, cards, & boards to use for the whole thing. I've printed out the instructions for us because we're debating slipping the cards into our Memory Box as another way to remember what happened when. We're also looking at turning them into a Wall Timeline, but we'll see what happens..

We're using the HSITW Creation To Christ timeline figures this year. We now own the cd of all the time line figures I decided it would be wise to print out the list of which figures are where should we not be able to quickly spot on. There's also a list for the additional 80 Bonus figures included on the Cd. Not sure if that's a new addition or not, but it excited me.

Finally in the back of the notebook are all the timeline pieces we printed out. I printed them all on sticker paper, it makes it so easy to simply cut out & stick down in their notebooks. I've used a plastic envelope that fits in a 3-ring binder. I didn't want them in an open page protector where they'd eventually spill out, the envelope velcro shut & this way when we start cutting them out it's okay if you throw the loose ones back in. He can also remove it from the back of the notebook & move it to the week he's on if he needs to.

In the front of the notebook I have a main list of all the supplies we'll need for science. Most of the items are things we'd generally have on hand, but there are a couple we'll have to make an effort to hunt down before they are needed. Keeping it at the front means he'll mention it to me daily so I don't forget to keep on looking & gathering.

So what's not in the notebook? His math book, the literature he'll use with the guide, Writing With Skill,  & his science book & notebook. These items are always at home in his backpack except the literature which sits in his book box on the shelf. I also didn't include the GreenLeaf Press Bible reading schedule, I debated putting it in there, but opted out for a variety of reasons. The biggest being we'll probably read it together as a family in the morning anyway. Thus the schedule will land in our morning basket.


Shelly L. said...

Beautiful! Your organization is inspiring!

reader19 said...

Way to go! You excel at organization and description! Thanks for spelling it all out; it was interesting to see the pages and instructions.

none said...

I love this post! I'm so happy I found your blog. Your organization skills are awesome. I'm totally digging some of your posts!!