As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

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Carrie
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As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by Carrie » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:32 pm

Ladies,

As we move into writing formal high school level guides, I have been endlessly pondering what format the guide should take at this level. :D After exploring options for almost 6 months now, I had pretty much decided to continue on with the format in which the guides are currently written for many reasons. A few are that I love the daily plan and have truly enjoyed seeing my kiddos bloom with the independence and the taking ownership of their own learning that the design of the guide has fostered in them. As a planner, I have been thrilled to have all instructions needed for each area easily accessible in the box where the assignment is given. I have enjoyed having the box format for a place to note any content warnings and issues directly by the readings as they are assigned. I like seeing the boxes as I think through the balance in a day and feel they make sure I do not overload the child with too much. The key idea in each box is really good for me to keep my pulse on what the child is doing in every subject every day. The daily plan forces me not to skip over things and to teach only what is meant to be done within a day each day. :D It keeps me from jumping around, going ahead, or slipping back. It keeps me steadily moving forward. :D Yet, I don't feel confined to be on Day 1 on Monday. :wink:

Yet, as I'm sketching out the guide's plans, I wonder whether it would be wise to make a move to a weekly grid of some sort at this point in time? I have used weekly grids in the past, with my oldest son who did Sonlight for multiple years, so I am familiar with the pitfalls of the weekly grid type of plan. I worry that if I planned in a weekly grid, students would skip around and lump days of a subject together and leave other subjects to do in a clump at week's end. I am concerned that a weekly grid would make it really easy to skip important things in the grid and that the unity or ties among various "boxes" or assignments would be lost. I fear that both child and teacher would be prone to skip accompanying notes, as they would be on a different page. This would quickly turn the plans into a reading list only type of plan. I fear that without the key idea, I could feel lost as to what is being covered where. I wonder if I would feel pushed to complete a week within a week. These are all things that happened to me in the past when I used a weekly grid format. :wink:

Yet, I wonder how important the key idea is at this level? I wonder whether less is more at this level? I wonder if seeing a week at a time may have its benefits? I wonder how kiddos coming up through HOD would transition to a weekly grid? I wonder if I could write well in this format, which would seem very down-sized from what I am used to writing up until now? :D

I know that many are passionate about a weekly grid format and others are equally passionate about the daily format. :D I have used both through the years in various times and grades. During my public school teaching days I switched from one format to another depending on the year. Rather than debate what format each family prefers overall, I'd love to have a discussion about what you think in regards to high school mainly. There are pros and cons to both formats of plans, and I'm interested in your thoughts. I know you'll share your thoughts graciously, as you are wonderful women. So, I'd love to hear you think out loud, as you help me dialogue through this a bit. :D

Blessings,
Carrie

TrueGRIT
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by TrueGRIT » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:16 pm

Carrie,

Just as food for thought, how would the idea of a brief weekly overview in front with the daily pages (w/ boxes :) ) work?

We didn't have HOD when my mom was teaching us - but our work was on a weekly 'grid' that I liked looking at at the beginning, and end, of the week.
But, I much preferred working off the daily assignment schedule I made myself!
It made it easier to check in with my teacher (Mom +math/science tutor) to have a weekly, but since by that age I was independent as possible, daily had a benefit.

Like I said - just a thought- it may be more work for no real benefit.
I will pray God guides you in the best decision.-
I would like to continue with HOD. :D

Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Mikki
Mikki
Ds 12- tutoring
Ds 9- Preparing
Dd 7 - Beyond and ER's
Ds 2- LHTH (sort of)

Mom2Monkeys
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by Mom2Monkeys » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:50 pm

I was tjinking exactly the same thing as yhe post above! Love that idea. Inalso would love the key ideanthere for parents but it often gives answers for the independent child, which i noticed most in science. I am a big picture gal, but i enjoy the current format more than a weekly grid for daily instruction. I do like less words, and more list type direction within the daily boxes though, instead of paragraph. Easy to make sure yiu do each amd every step, and much easier for mom to chevk at a glance.
~~Tamara~~
Enjoying HOD since 2008

DD15 long-time HODie finding her own new path
DS12 PHFHG {dysgraphia, APD, SID}
DS9 PHFHG
DS6 LHFHG
DD new nursling

mamanlait
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by mamanlait » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:12 pm

I much prefer a daily grid to a weekly one and my oldest has really taken ownership this year with her guide thanks to the well organized, carefully designed layout. I'm very thankful for Key Ideas in history and science but rarely read them in other areas. A layout idea that might give more space would be check boxes for math without suggested choices in order to add another check box for foreign language at the high school level.

To answer your question, we love the layout! :D I found myself reading and checking boxes horizontally with a weekly grid sheet in the past (with SL & MFW). I am more consistent in accomplishing a days work when I must turn the page. Wow, that's pathetic but true. I am so thankful for HOD. I would be panicking without it as we enter junior high. I cannot thank you enough for sharing your schedule with us! What a blessing!
Currently:
dd 16 AH1 -bits & pieces (previously used Bigger, Preparing, CtC, RtR, Rev, MMtM, WG, WH)
dd 12 REV (previously used LHTH, LHfHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, & RtR)

LynnH
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by LynnH » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:33 pm

I also prefer the daily plan. Weekly grids completely overwhelm me. If it was in weekly grid format I am sure I would end up entering it all in to homeschool tracker as daily plans. I know my current high schooler prefers daily plans. She is taking college classes with just weekly due dates and she breaks all of those things up into daily chunks. As for the key ideas I lean on those a lot to figure out if ds is understanding things and I sometimes have him read those first so he gets a head start on the content of the reading.
Mom to:
dd 22 college graduate and employed as an Intervention Specialist
ds 18 US2, Loved Preparing, CTC , RTR , Rev to Rev, MTMM ,WG, WH and US1
http://www.graceandfur.blogspot.com/

school4princesses
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by school4princesses » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:50 pm

In thinking about my objectives for high school, one of the most important ones is to set my kids up for success in college, should they choose that route. In college, they will not be given a list of daily assignments. Truth be told, they won't be given a list of weekly ones either with any specifics. They will be given a syllabus of topics (and perhaps chapters) covered each week that they will be responsible to know on a test. It will be up to them to figure out how to get to that point. That is why I strongly believe it necessary to have these guides written with that goal in mind, and why it may be necessary to have something separate for the parent and the student. I like the idea of having a blank grid with all of the various subjects on one side and the days of the week along the top. This could be photo copied for each unit. Then each unit could have each subject listed in a box, with the total page numbers to read and questions to answer written in. It would be up to the student, with the parent's help, to decide how to break these down through the week. It might not seem as convenient for me as a teacher, but it's not about my convenience. It's about my child's ability to learn how to be an independent learner. HOD's guides are very convenient and well organized. But in the real world, not everybody is that way. Our kids need to learn how to take something and organize it themselves.

As for the main idea, it is definitely helpful for the busy parent to have that information - especially when they are running more than one, or two, or three guides. :wink: But it doesn't need to be there for the student, as part of what they need to learn to do at this age is to find the main idea for themselves. In college, the main ideas will not be given to them. The reality in homeschooling is that there are some days when we don't get to a subject for one reason or another, and we end up doubling up on another day. For some students, doing all their math pages on one day and not having to face it for the rest of the week is the only way to get through. For others, they prefer to do all their history reading on the first day of the week because it is their favorite subject and they are excited to dig in. This would allow for them to make those decisions for themselves and experiment with what works and what doesn't. Perhaps, for the benefit of those who really don't want to or cannot for some reason help their student learn to schedule themselves, there could be a suggested daily schedule listed in the back of the guide, or even on a secure website (to save on the production cost.)

I'm anxious to hear what is decided, and excited to see what HOD's high school offerings are going to be.
Jennifer
DD 16 (in a performing arts charter school)
DD 14 (WH)
DD 10 (CTC)
DD 7 (BHFHG)

mamas4bugs
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by mamas4bugs » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:43 pm

I asked my going-to-be-9th-grader what his thoughts were, and his initial reaction was, "Please don't change the guides!" :) My initial thought is about the same. We love, love, love the format now.

I do like the idea of the previous posters, however, of maybe having a weekly overview added to each week.
Living the adventure, blessed to be schooling 3:
Cub 15 MTMM with extentions
Crawdad 11 Preparing
Taz 6 her own interesting mix

Have used and loved: LHTH, LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, RTR
http://ourhomeschooltravelingzoo.blogspot.com/

countrymom
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by countrymom » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:43 am

As I ponder this, I have to split the years up. I would say for 9th and 10th, same format but add a sketchy weekly outline so they can begin to learn how to plan. I would not do away with the boxes in the first two years for all the reasons you mentioned. There is so much growth that still occurs in those four years I don't think you can lump them together. I would be especially concerned about children working the younger end of the guide. My job as the parent/teacher would be to train my child on how to organize his or her day in those first two years. As much as I love the guides as is, I tend to agree with the pp in terms of our children learning how to organize and manage their work and time. For 11th and 12th I do believe a weekly schedule would probably be the best idea for the child.

Edited to add: I realize the flaw to my plan is the fact that not all kiddos will go all the way through the guides due to the various age ranges of the guides.
In the few minutes since my original post I was thinking of my own situation. Twelve years ago I took a job I really wasn't sure I could do. I am the program coordinator for an occupational program at a community college and I also teach almost all of the didactic courses within the program. When I was debating taking the job I felt so insecure, but I kept thinking of my experience when I went through my occupational program. It was a very well structured/organized program. I didn't just know what my instructor/coordinator had done to make it that way - I experienced it as a student. I kept telling myself that I could do this because I had seen and experienced the roadmap. I think this will hold true for our HOD students. They have seen and experienced the roadmap and will be able to apply it to life.
Countrymom
Wife to J
Big J - LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, R2R, Rev to Rev, Modern Missions, beginning parts of World Geography
Little J - LHTH, LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, working in CTC

LynnH
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by LynnH » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:05 am

Countrymom you said what I have been thinking since my first post. I think by following the daily grid for so many years that once the students get to college they will have had such a good example of how to plan their days that it will actually be fairly easy. My dd who was in ps for 9th grade where they had daily schedules and then has spent 10th, 11th and 12th at home with daily schedules has had no issue transferring over to the syllabus style of dual enrollment college classes.
Mom to:
dd 22 college graduate and employed as an Intervention Specialist
ds 18 US2, Loved Preparing, CTC , RTR , Rev to Rev, MTMM ,WG, WH and US1
http://www.graceandfur.blogspot.com/

mamanlait
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by mamanlait » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:31 am

Lynn, My dd has layed out her work like your dd in a daily format (like HOD's grid) in order to organize her online foreign language class this year. It is given to the students in a syllabus form. I think the organization of her thoughts using the daily grid with HOD has allowed her to succeed in scheduling her activities for this class. She has a scheduling framework.

At some point, there will be a jump in organizational skills needed for scheduling more classes. Everyone child will make that jump at different times and on different levels but I love the organization of HOD as our anchor curriculum and that is why it gets done at my house when other curricula in the past did not and I'm so thankful!
Currently:
dd 16 AH1 -bits & pieces (previously used Bigger, Preparing, CtC, RtR, Rev, MMtM, WG, WH)
dd 12 REV (previously used LHTH, LHfHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, & RtR)

momtofive
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by momtofive » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:32 am

First I want to say thank you to Carrie, who is so thoughtful to ask all of us what we think to help her make the HOD guides the best they can be! Thanks, Carrie! :wink:

Secondly, I, too, also LOVE the setup of the guides, as do my children. I think with only a weekly grid format, we'd be flipping around a lot to find all the notes and directions for each assignment, causing us to possibly miss important information. It would also be very tempting to rush ahead in some areas and miss out on the connections made along the way. This is something that I feel is very unique with HOD! :D I do like the idea, however, of including a weekly format page, followed then by the usual daily boxes for each day of the unit. You'd have the best of both worlds: an easy to read checklist for parents to go through and "check off" their childrens work each day/week, and then it would be followed by the "classic" HOD guide pages, which give such a beautiful layout to the students day. So I guess, keeping the same format that you've always used, but adding in a weekly grid page at the beginning of each unit, would give a lot of organizational and record keeping help, too.

**This would probably add a lot of extra work to writing the guides, but if there was a way to include a list of things that need to be printed off or copied (like a list of maps used through the year from a map cd for example) that would also be a really valuable resource! Maybe just a list added to the appendix. I spent a lot of time going through the RTR guide getting all of my son's maps printed out that he'd need through the year, and I still spend a lot of time going back to print out more, because he needs some that I apparently missed! :oops: Anyway, just a thought! :wink:

It's so very exciting to think of the first high school guide in the works right now! Thank you so much, Carrie for your careful thought and consideration to every detail of the guides! May God richly bless your work! :D
Lisa ~ Gal. 2:20, Prov. 3:5-6
Mom to five great blessings :)
Ds20 - Graduated from HOD!
Ds18 - Graduated from HOD!
Dd16 - US1
Dd14 - WG
Dd12 - REV

Loving HOD since 2010!

annaz
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by annaz » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:05 am

I feel the Key Ideas are extremely useful for us mom's who can't always read the information. But I don't think the kids need to see them. With that said, I would like to see "student pages" that contain everything except for the key ideas and any TM info for the kids. They can work off of their sheets and they can be sold loose so we can bind them how we'd like. I prefer the daily lessons, but I also like the overview of a week that perhaps didn't contain all the needed info, just weekly overview. That tells me what I'm in for all week. For me those two things are optimal! They could be options to buy.

And not high school solely, student pages I think are a benefit when guides start having independent work. Remember, Carrie, that you sort of are "one up" on us, having been able to read these books that we haven't been able to do.
Married 1994
One DD 6/2000
One DH :)
One cat
One dog
Three horses :shock:

mom23
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by mom23 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:52 am

I like the idea of both a weekly outline, followed by the daily box format that we currently use. I love the daily boxes because we often don't get to run each week during a week-this week we're running Day 3, Day 4, Day 1...Weekly grids sometimes add frustration when I'm off schedule.

A part of me likes the idea of parents having a separate manual with a weekly grid/key idea and a student manual following the daily schedule we currently use. I also know, though, that due to finances I'd probably end up not ordering a separate teacher's manual. I greatly appreciate all that your company does to keep these items affordable for us! With that in mind, combining the two things would probably be cheaper to produce and sell than two separate guides.

If it comes down to having to choose between the two grids, and not including both in a guide I'd definitely want to keep the daily format with separate boxes for subjects. It makes it very easy to see what we're doing each day, to organize what we need to complete an assignment, and to organize my day between helping 4 children and scheduling breaks.
Becky, married to my preacher-man and raising:
DD 12-7th grade public school
DS 10-Preparing
DS 8-Beyond
DS 3-Just doin' his thing

Carrie
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by Carrie » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:20 am

Ladies,

I am enjoying this dialogue, and so I'll plan to pop-in and out as you all share. My poor hubby and sister have listened endlessly to me as I ponder so many of the options that you are coming up with too! :D So, I'm glad that I'm not alone in my musings. :wink:

As we're talking, I thought I'd share my thoughts on a few things mentioned too, which will help all of us as we ponder together. :D When thinking of having both a weekly grid followed by a daily plan, there are some definite hang-ups in this area (some of which have already been mentioned). One is that the weekly grid, due to space, would contain mainly page numbers and references to see further notes in the daily plans. At that point though, comes the real barrier. :wink: A weekly grid followed by 8 pages of daily plans would make it very difficult for kiddos to find the "further notes" part needed for their assignment. This would likely lead to frustration, much flipping of pages, and often to skipping the further notes and just following the weekly grid. It wouldn't be long before the plan would just be a reading plan off the weekly grid with most of the daily notes ignored. :wink: In contrast, a weekly grid followed by just further notes for the week and not pages of daily plans would be streamlined, making the finding of the notes easier and the use of the weekly grid more functional. At that point though, the daily plans would no longer be there to follow. In the end, the fact is that I would have to write the guide differently depending on whether we go with a weekly plan or a daily plan. :D

In thinking through the idea that kiddos need to be planning some of their own material and breaking down some of their own tasks, I find that idea fascinating. We have talked about this at our house quite a bit over the last months, really thinking of "when" that is appropriate in a student's life. :D While I agree that it is wise to look toward college, and real-life for that matter, where kiddos will have to break down their own tasks into daily chunks; it is also good to keep in mind that high school is not college but rather should be high school. This is because the high school years have an important role to play in a student's academic preparation and path. High school is a challenging academic time subject matter-wise, with much content to be learned and much critical thinking to foster, not to mention a very important time for cementing a child's faith and developing a deep and personal relationship with our Lord and Savior! :D

My own high school junior has a very academically full day right now and is also balancing working a job in our warehouse daily while still striving to have some family time too (not to mention having any free time that might be left over for his own pursuits). So, how much burden should a child have at this level of planning what he or she must accomplish in each subject area each day? I have to admit in turning my eyes toward the public high school and also toward the Christian high school, I see that students at that level are still going to daily classes, still have daily teaching, and still having daily assignments and daily guidance in what must be accomplished each day. :D I believe that this is because the rigor of what is being learned by the student is hard enough without adding the task of planning what he/she should do each day to the child's plate. :D

As a parent, I believe not having a handle on what your child is learning each day is one of the quickest ways to derail a high school experience, as you can very quickly lose track of what your child is doing and lose the teacher's role in facilitating the child's learning. Remember that even in college the students are going to class each day (or watching online), taking notes from lectures, interacting with other students, doing group projects, all of which are designed and detailed by the instructor. The student is not left on his own to schedule or pursue his own course of study even at that level. :wink: So, in allowing a child to schedule his own course of study in a homeschool high school setting, I believe we'd be asking the child to do something that is not even truly done at the college level. Additionally, a schedule that is child-driven would cause the teacher to lose his/her opportunity to teach in any organized fashion and place the teacher at the mercy of the child's whim in scheduling. :wink: This might work if you had one child, but in many families this would result in little teaching and interaction taking place with the student. I have to guard against this with my own oldest son.

I do think learning to schedule and manage one's own time is an important skill and one that the HOD guides work more toward helping a child learn than the child who is in a typical school setting. This is because with the design of the guide, the HOD child can work toward completing subjects much more independently than a typical school child, and in doing so the HOD child learns to manage his/her time well and his/her day well. In doing projects such as those in DITHR, he/she also learns to manage a project broken up over a week's time, so there are some of those experiences as well. :D In looking toward high school, the balance of teaching and independence will continue to be a delicate one!

In thinking through the possibilities of having both Teacher Guide and student sheets, I'll share that the thought is not a new one for us. :D The main concern that keeps coming to mind with this type of plan is the amount of redundancy that there would be between Teacher Guide and student sheets in information. Or, if there was not redundancy, then the problem becomes matching one with the other as you are trying to teach and for me in deciding what information should go where. :wink: This is the very reason that well-known publishers like Rod and Staff or BJU Press have gone to having the Teacher's Guide include the reduced student pages right inside the Teacher's Guide, with the Teacher's Notes surrounding the student pages. :D I have found so often though, even with the Teacher's Guides like this that they contain information I wish the student pages had, as it leaves it up to me to share the information that really the student should just have access to in his/her own book. :D

Deciding what information to put where becomes a huge part of the planning at the point that there is a separate Teacher's Guide and Student Book! We went that route with DITHR, so I know the difficulties of writing that type of plan. It worked well for one subject, but for "all" subjects it would be an entirely different matter. Plus, you'd be surprised how many people forego the DITHR Teacher's Guide and try to just use the Student Books alone. That would be a disaster for families in trying to make high school go well! In looking toward high school, we will have also some academic subject areas scheduled that already have Teacher Guide and Student Book (like Rod and Staff, the sciences, math, reading, etc.), so to have our main guide's plans in that format would really add to the confusion more than help at that point. :wink:

I am enjoying your thoughts, as I have had many of the same thoughts. I will continue to think on what you've shared so far and look forward to much more dialogue. :D

P.S. For the poster who mentioned the maps, we use the Map Trek CD designed for HOD completely (with the exception of one or two maps). So, you would save yourself much time by just printing the entire thing and placing it in a 3-ring binder. Or, if you'd rather just print all the Student Maps and have the student refer to the Teacher Maps on the CD (to save on colored ink), you could do that instead (but there will be a few Teacher Maps you'll have to print to use too). Just plan to use each CD in its entirety by the end of the guide, and you'll be set! :D

Blessings,
Carrie

momtofive
Posts: 284
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Re: As we move into high school, the design of the guides...

Post by momtofive » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:56 am

Thanks for the map tips, Carrie! That's good to know, as it saves time in the end, and possibly wear and tear on the cd! :wink:

I also wanted to mention that when I suggested the possibility of doing a weekly grid, followed by the normal daily boxes in the guides, I was assuming that the weekly grid format would be primarily for the teacher's resource and not so much for the student to follow. Kind of a place to look ahead through the week, check things off as they are checked, and possibly even use these as a form for recording time spent or other information in regards to record keeping. Maybe this could even be made into a copyable resource included within the appendix of the guidebook. Like a 36 page section for the teacher to use or copy off for each student.

I usually make a teacher plan book each year that has pages to check off each subject as I check them with the student each day. It really helps me to have a running list on paper of what's left to do, or has been accomplished that day/week. Having multiple guides going at our house, I find this is a necessary resource to me, to keep everything straight and accomplished each day! :wink:

Thanks so much for your thoroughness in planning out this aspect of the next guide! :D
Lisa ~ Gal. 2:20, Prov. 3:5-6
Mom to five great blessings :)
Ds20 - Graduated from HOD!
Ds18 - Graduated from HOD!
Dd16 - US1
Dd14 - WG
Dd12 - REV

Loving HOD since 2010!

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