All done with Assignment #2? Are your kids reading more? Are you? Are you having fun? Here’s what’s next:
Assignment #3: Teacher’s Planner
Today, Moms, we are going to capture all those “I should do this for my child” ideas that flit through our minds, especially as we are teaching our children, and notice that certain things need work. We are going to lasso them right out of our thoughts and corral them into a “Teacher’s Planner”! And once they are written down, our mental space will begin to free up and we won’t feel so overwhelmed or “busy in our head” all the time. Homeschooling will feel easier to manage.
Okay—ready? Just go search for an old 3 ring binder. I know you have one hanging around somewhere. Mine said “First American Title Company” on it for years, until I got fancy and actually bought one! But for many years, it was my old “First American Title Company” notebook and my kids recognized it and it had a prominent place in our home. I decorated it with stickers once, and it really was a standard piece of equipment in my homeschool. If you can locate some page divider type things with tabs, add those to the binder along with some lined paper. (If you can’t find them, put them on your shopping list for next time you go to the store, and just keep going with what you’ve got.) Label each divider with a child’s name, starting with the oldest one you homeschool and keep at it until all your children are named on a divider. The last divider says “Ideas”. (This is not referring to the idea about having another baby whose name would go on the divider.)
Now, the very next “I should” that floats into your brain, you snatch up your Teacher’s Planner and you flip to the child it pertains to and you jot it right down. If it is a general idea that you’d like to try with all your children, it goes in the “Ideas” section.
As you rotate from child to child, working with them and checking over their school work, you are going to see things that formerly kept your mind too busy with “I should’s”. When you are correcting your dear 5-year-old son’s journal entry and you see that he is reversing his “b’s”, then you just open to his name divider in your Teacher’s Planner and you jot down: “b” reversal. If you vocalize all the “shoulds” to your child, he will get discouraged and school won’t be much fun for him. Just say a kind word of praise for his effort and know that you are going to work on this problem in home school tomorrow by writing “b’s” up on the chalkboard and getting him to trace them (or some other activity). You will see many things that need correcting, no doubt, as your son is a work in progress! Focus on the most obvious needs. Jot them down and free up your mental space so you can use your creative brain to devise a way to help him learn to correct his mistakes.
If you are reading Johnny Tremain aloud to your children, and they ask what Boston harbor is like, rather than stop reading and go dig through your disorganized pile of outdated maps (as you lose the train of thought and the flow of the story), you flip right open to the “Ideas” section of your Teacher’s Planner, and you write down: map of New England. And keep reading.
Now, when you have a little time later in the day, when the children are all involved playing, you open your Teacher’s Planner and glance through the pages. You will be surprised at what you read—at least I am! I would definitely have forgotten all about the little things I jotted down. They don’t seem very big or important, and planning for them is minor. When tomorrow comes, you have the map stuck up on the wall, and you can talk about Boston harbor. Before you set your dear son off to writing again, you have him come to the chalkboard and practice “b’s” with you, writing over your traced letters. Now he will be more successful writing them, and you didn’t even have to say one corrective word to him!
The beauty of your Teacher’s Planner is that it frees brain space. We don’t have to try to remember all the “should be doing” thoughts that run amuck in our brains. We can eliminate the corrective tones that come out of our mouths.
Remember, homeschooling is a work in progress. Don’t give in to that overwhelmed feeling and get discouraged. You can do it! You learn by practicing. Practice tomorrow with your own Teacher’s Planner. You’ll be surprised what a small amount of organization can do to help you feel in control!
Ready now for Assignment #4? Keep going!