Monday, August 23, 2010
The teacher's motto here at MLLA is and always has been, "Next year will be better." With that in mind I, the main teacher of MLLA, am always thinking of a better way to organize and get things done. This year is no different.
When the principal suggested the use of Family Fun Reward Days as motivation for getting our school work done, we stumbled upon something that really works for our family. Not that we're always successful, but it does give all of us motivation, incentive, and the stick-to-itiveness we all (read the teachers) needed.
So I dutifully printed off five blank copies of the current month and proceeded to write what should be accomplished during that month on each one. It became very repetitive and redundant. And some of the children were less likely to actually do the work or mark it off each day, so it got messy and teacher, principal, and student became less agreeable with each other.
I decided that didn't work as well as I would like and I would like the children to have more responsibility with writing down their work. So in talking with the teacher of St. Joseph's Academy I came up with an idea that we're trying for this year.
On the computer I made tables for each child. There are 6 columns. The first column is the child's name and the next five are the days of the week we do school. There is space underneath the days for the children to write the date of the day. The number of rows varies with each child because each row lists a subject the child is studying this year. I even included a row for the instrument(s) the child needs to practice.
I was able to copy two tables on one side of a page for each child. I then photo-copied them front to back for a total of 4 tables per page which equals 4 weeks of school. I printed nine of these pages and put them into plastic three-pronged folders, a different color for each child so it is easy to quickly see whose is whose.
Now instead of me spending a big chunk of time at the beginning of each month writing down what each child should finish that month, each child will write down daily what was actually done when it was completed. For the row listing their instrument they are to write down the number of minutes they practiced that day.
So far we've done two weeks and so far it is going like I hoped. I am trying to train myself to check their folder each day at lunch and then at supper. This way I hope to keep them and myself on track and we don't get to far behind and feel overwhelmed.
One good thing happened last week. Due to gifts of vegetables that I needed to can, Hannah working several days, and appointments at the eye doctor and dentist we didn't get as much bookwork done like we would have had we been home. But we could write those things down which we did, list the appointments that kept us away and now this week each child knows where to start.
I hope this works as the year progresses, but if not, "Next year will be better."