Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

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quiverfull
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:08 pm
Location: NH

Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by quiverfull » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:45 pm

Hello Ladies,

I struggle EVERY year with checking my older children's work. Fortunately, they are great kids and still diligent with their school. However, I would love to figure out how to keep on top of everyone, and not just my younger students. I know they would love to have feedback from me, and I wouldn't feel so guilty all the time :( Working on school till 5pm is not an option, this is one tired mama by then. I've been looking for some kind of planner that I can use, but I don't even know how that would look. I can't really transfer everything from the guides into a planner. That would seem to be a lot of extra work. But the way my brain works, I need to be able to look at everything in one place. Maybe there isn't really a solution, and I should just keep plugging along the best I can? I don't know. I'm thinking about next year (and the rest of this one) and, once again, trying to find an answer to this dilemma. We're going on our 15th year of homeschooling. I can't do as much as I once could. I have to work within my limitations. I've been Googling and looking on YouTube channels for someone who has experienced this and can give me some advice. I haven't had any luck so far... I thought maybe one of you might have some words of wisdom for me :) Thanks for letting me ramble :)

Renee
Wife for 28 years….Mom to 9~
Four graduated, five still in school. 26, 23, 22, 19, 17, 15, 13, 9, 8


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StephanieU
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Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by StephanieU » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:59 pm

Have you tried a check list? It can be a sheet per day or a sheet per child (one sheet each week/unit). Laminate it so your can reuse it. Then check things off as you do it with them or check their work.
Mom to 4
DD (12) MtMM (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, RtR, and Rev2Rev)
DS (10) CtC (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, and Preparing plus some of LHTH)
DD (8) Preparing (completed LHTH, LHFHG, Beyond, and Bigger)
DS (4) LHTH

momtofive
Posts: 284
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:26 pm

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by momtofive » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:52 pm

I completely understand where you're coming from. ;) Once my fifth little student joined the group, there was officially a lot to remember and juggle each day. I simply can't keep it all straight without a little help. I've read about how other moms use their guidebook as a plan book and check things off as they go. I believe Julie shared that she uses different colors for each of her kids when she checks off the assignments in the guides, which helps to keep things organized. ;) I'm old fashioned I guess, and it's hard for me to write in my guides, and with five kids using them, I have decided to utilize a couple other ideas for tracking lessons.

Several years ago, I started making my kids checklists like Stephanie mentioned, which were laminated and the kids knew what they had to do each day and could easily check it off. At the end of the day we wiped it clean and it was ready for the next day. After a couple years of doing this system, I decided to make a few changes. I made each of my kids a plan book of sorts. It's basically a table made in Microsoft Word in which I can create a grid of boxes and fill in their lessons. I have their subjects going down the left side, and Day 1, Day 2, and so on, going across the top. I print these out and can then just fill in their lessons very easily. For their HOD subjects, I just list Unit 1/Day 1, and then they can check them off next to History, or Science, etc. They know that they just open up their guidebooks and complete the assignments in the guide for that day. For math, I can just write in the lesson number, or test they should complete next. You can easily customize this however you like, and make it as simple or complex as you prefer it to be. I try to keep it simple. :D Each one page contains a week of lessons, and I print 35 and then spiral bind them into a little book for each child. This can also be accomplished by using a simple spiral notebook, if that's easier. You could fill it in as you go day by day, or devote time to fill it in on the weekends. I usually take a few days in the summer to get these ready to go. We aren't rigid with it, if we get off track, which inevitably happens each year. We just check off assignments as we get them done, and pick up where we left off when we return to it. The beauty of this method, is that it helps my older kids especially to know what they need to do each day, and they can easily set off to do independent work, knowing what needs to be completed. The things we do together I don't list on their pages, to help keep it simple for them to see their responsibilities for the day.

To keep *me* on track, I make a copy of my kids plan book pages, and bind all of them into one spiral bound book for myself. I can add things to my pages that we do together in our meeting times. I put a sticky tab in each child's section with their name on it, and can easily turn to their section and cross off things as I check them. Then I can know what I've checked, and for whom, at any given time. With five kids, and five different sets of lessons, it's the way I've been able to keep on top of things and stay on track. ;)

Editing to add: This is certainly not necessary to do Heart of Dakota successfully. We do this because we've found it works for *us*, but each family needs to seek out the best way to use HOD in their own homes. The meat of our day is in our HOD guides, but the plan books do help me to know what we've done and what's left to do. Blessings! ;)
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!

quiverfull
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:08 pm
Location: NH

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by quiverfull » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:13 pm

StephanieU wrote:Have you tried a check list? It can be a sheet per day or a sheet per child (one sheet each week/unit). Laminate it so your can reuse it. Then check things off as you do it with them or check their work.
Yes, I am really good at making charts, lists, and schedules :). I think my weakness is in the ability to follow through with them. I don't have a lot of stamina after around 2pm.
Wife for 28 years….Mom to 9~
Four graduated, five still in school. 26, 23, 22, 19, 17, 15, 13, 9, 8


Used/Using
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WG
MTMM
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quiverfull
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:08 pm
Location: NH

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by quiverfull » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:25 pm

momtofive wrote:I completely understand where you're coming from. ;) Once my fifth little student joined the group, there was officially a lot to remember and juggle each day. I simply can't keep it all straight without a little help. I've read about how other moms use their guidebook as a plan book and check things off as they go. I believe Julie shared that she uses different colors for each of her kids when she checks off the assignments in the guides, which helps to keep things organized. ;) I'm old fashioned I guess, and it's hard for me to write in my guides, and with five kids using them, I have decided to utilize a couple other ideas for tracking lessons.

Several years ago, I started making my kids checklists like Stephanie mentioned, which were laminated and the kids knew what they had to do each day and could easily check it off. At the end of the day we wiped it clean and it was ready for the next day. After a couple years of doing this system, I decided to make a few changes. I made each of my kids a plan book of sorts. It's basically a table made in Microsoft Word in which I can create a grid of boxes and fill in their lessons. I have their subjects going down the left side, and Day 1, Day 2, and so on, going across the top. I print these out and can then just fill in their lessons very easily. For their HOD subjects, I just list Unit 1/Day 1, and then they can check them off next to History, or Science, etc. They know that they just open up their guidebooks and complete the assignments in the guide for that day. For math, I can just write in the lesson number, or test they should complete next. You can easily customize this however you like, and make it as simple or complex as you prefer it to be. I try to keep it simple. :D Each one page contains a week of lessons, and I print 35 and then spiral bind them into a little book for each child. This can also be accomplished by using a simple spiral notebook, if that's easier. You could fill it in as you go day by day, or devote time to fill it in on the weekends. I usually take a few days in the summer to get these ready to go. We aren't rigid with it, if we get off track, which inevitably happens each year. We just check off assignments as we get them done, and pick up where we left off when we return to it. The beauty of this method, is that it helps my older kids especially to know what they need to do each day, and they can easily set off to do independent work, knowing what needs to be completed. The things we do together I don't list on their pages, to help keep it simple for them to see their responsibilities for the day.

To keep *me* on track, I make a copy of my kids plan book pages, and bind all of them into one spiral bound book for myself. I can add things to my pages that we do together in our meeting times. I put a sticky tab in each child's section with their name on it, and can easily turn to their section and cross off things as I check them. Then I can know what I've checked, and for whom, at any given time. With five kids, and five different sets of lessons, it's the way I've been able to keep on top of things and stay on track. ;)

Editing to add: This is certainly not necessary to do Heart of Dakota successfully. We do this because we've found it works for *us*, but each family needs to seek out the best way to use HOD in their own homes. The meat of our day is in our HOD guides, but the plan books do help me to know what we've done and what's left to do. Blessings! ;)
Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement.
I was talking with a friend today who struggles with the same thing, and I came to the conclusion that the real problem in all of this is me! I can get a schedule on paper that works fine, but I am unable to follow through because of my fatigue issues. I don't really know what the answer is, but I am going to keep seeking the Lord for His wisdom. :)
Wife for 28 years….Mom to 9~
Four graduated, five still in school. 26, 23, 22, 19, 17, 15, 13, 9, 8


Used/Using
WH
WG
MTMM
Rev2Rev
CtC
Preparing
LHFHG

momtofive
Posts: 284
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:26 pm

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by momtofive » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:05 pm

[/quote]Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement.
I was talking with a friend today who struggles with the same thing, and I came to the conclusion that the real problem in all of this is me! I can get a schedule on paper that works fine, but I am unable to follow through because of my fatigue issues. I don't really know what the answer is, but I am going to keep seeking the Lord for His wisdom. :)
[/quote]

I can see how it would make it a lot harder when you're dealing with fatigue. One thing to remember is that there is only so much you can get done in a day. Try to scale down other things that take away from what you need to accomplish each day and focus on those top priority items. I have a hard time not scheduling too many other things because they look so good. One thing about HOD that's been such a blessing is that everything we need is scheduled already, and that the kids become more independent as they move up the guides. Stick to what you know will actually, feasibly get done each day. You'll start to feel more at peace, and joyful in your schooling. ;) Some seasons are just tougher than others, and fatigue definitely makes things tough. I'll be praying the Lord supplies you with wisdom, and relief from the fatigue. Blessings! :)
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!

quiverfull
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:08 pm
Location: NH

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by quiverfull » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:07 am

Thank you for your prayers, Lisa. I am trusting that the Lord will multiply my feeble efforts. :)
Wife for 28 years….Mom to 9~
Four graduated, five still in school. 26, 23, 22, 19, 17, 15, 13, 9, 8


Used/Using
WH
WG
MTMM
Rev2Rev
CtC
Preparing
LHFHG

MelInKansas
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by MelInKansas » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:55 pm

Oh mama. Grace and peace to you friend! I completely understand this struggle because I share it - and I only have one who does a lot of work on her own at this point. Unfortunately my daughter is one who gets lazy if she's not checked up on regularly. Just recently I went over her past 2 weeks of writing assignments and found.... she hadn't done any of them. She earned an extra writing assignment for that, plus having to catch up within 2-3 days. And I had to check it every day after that. Of course. But I feel like you do - the problem is me and part of the reason she's not doing as well as she could and should is because I am not following through on my part of the deal. I am so thankful that my time needed to spend with her each day is limited, because otherwise schooling all of them would not work very well.

Here's what helps me - and I don't have fatigue problems, just ADD, stressed out with outside commitments (my DH and I had a heart to heart and that is going to CHANGE in the coming school year), and also stressed out from a lot of single parenting time because of his two jobs.

1) Pray and find grace
2) Make sure I have an appointment time with her earlier in the day at least 1-2 times a week. How I work this is, I do school with my 5YO, then my 7YO, and then its' either the 10YO or the 12YO. Most often the 10YO because she's the one who is ready to work with me by 10:00. Between breaks, diaper changes, snack, etc I can only fit in one of the older children before lunch (12:30). But whoever that is is the one who gets more of my focus and attention. Because I'm also done by 2. Sometimes I do school after 2 but I can't plan on much time or energy after that. But when my 12YO is the one I do earlier in the day, I go through every box in the guide, even the ones she was supposed to do by herself, and ask her about them, and look at her student notebooking pages and narrations. Ask her about what she learned. Discuss with her. This brings life to both of us and isn't a "chore" like grading. But I also (after doing the few things I have to do with her, start grammar, read devotional, storytime, listen to oral narrations, dictation) then will sit and grade things at that time. Again since it's earlier in the day I have more energy and will follow through. My husband also grades the math, which is a big one and really does need to be done regularly. He does math at night with them - that's what my older 2 do after the younger ones go to bed. I kind of hate losing that time with him and making it school time, but it works and their math is going along so much better than it was before he took it over.
3) Do you have two older ones that you could team up to do some of the more laborious and mundane grading tasks for each other like math or grammar? Those are very cut and dried and anyone could grade it. They could come to you after grading and let you know how the student did. I guess it might be hard having a younger one grade an older's work but there's an answer key. If they could each do it for each other in a spirit of love I think that could really work out well.
4) I made laminated task lists. They do help my oldest. She LOVES a checklist and an order to do things in, so the boxes in the book really weren't quite structured enough to help her. My 2nd still checks things off in the guide. The only problem is that with some of the rotating things I didn't quite get the checklist right for all weeks, and I had to make one for each day of the unit, so they each have a Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 checklist. I liked that I was able to add music practice, AWANA, and typing (math facts for the 2nd) to the list and so those become as second nature as the guide work. But I do still have to check in the guide.

I hope any of these ideas could be helpful or encouraging. But just know your kids are learning and growing through this as well, and whatever you don't do, or don't feel you do right, isn't holding them back. God has it in His hand.
Melissa
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DS5 - LHFHG
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven

MelInKansas
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by MelInKansas » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:31 pm

With the ages and number of your kids, I would amend my suggestion (which was really just a description of what I do) and say maybe you could plan for once a week a longer meeting time with the older ones. Because I assume that you, like me, don't struggle with grading little ones' work because there's so much less to grade and you're doing it all with them. Part of that meeting time is grading and giving them their feedback while they do an independent task. And again, maybe they can grade each others' work. It requires a lot of management, this whole dealing with growing up kids and older kids. You are doing more than I am! But God supplies. He always supplies what we need.
Melissa
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DS5 - LHFHG
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven

quiverfull
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:08 pm
Location: NH

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by quiverfull » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:28 am

Thank you, Melissa, for giving me some great ideas :) I am still seeking the Lord for wisdom. I am asking God to change my heart, and give me the motivation I need to keep going. I used to always get excited and at least have hope that I would "do better" next year etc. But after so many years falling short of my goals, I don't really have that anymore. I know the problem lies with me. I just don't know how to fix it.

I am so thankful for HOD, because even when I can't do all I think I should, I can see my kids are still learning. It truly does "Guide" them in their education. Even though I know it would be better if I could interact with them more, it is still so much better than the days when I tried to pull things all together on my own.

Thank you, Ladies, for all of your kind and encouraging words :).

Renee
Wife for 28 years….Mom to 9~
Four graduated, five still in school. 26, 23, 22, 19, 17, 15, 13, 9, 8


Used/Using
WH
WG
MTMM
Rev2Rev
CtC
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MelInKansas
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by MelInKansas » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:53 am

I agree! HOD has provided some much needed structure for us, and at least the outline of good expectations and habits. I can't do it all and I can't do anything perfectly and somehow God still works and they still learn so in the end, I think it will be a wonderful blessing to have homeschooled and to use HOD.

And even for those who don't have HOD to pull them together, and I might look at them and judge because they "aren't doing much school." (Which I know it is not my place to judge, but of course sometimes I still do). Their kids are still learning and growing and by God's grace He will get them where He wants them to go. We are so hard on ourselves and we often forget it is God's work and we are just one agent in that work.

I am going to try to use a gradebook this year and we will see if that helps me or frustrates me. My husband is determined that my daughter needs to be graded on more work and needs a more concrete reminder of how she is doing in various areas (as we see with her that often her "underperformance" is based not on not understanding or not being capable, but really on laziness).
Melissa
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DS5 - LHFHG
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven

quiverfull
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:08 pm
Location: NH

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by quiverfull » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:04 am

Melissa,

A friend sent me an article yesterday, and it really made me think. I saw a lot of myself in it. I don't know if I'm allowed to post it here, so I will pm it to you if you would like. :)

Renee
Wife for 28 years….Mom to 9~
Four graduated, five still in school. 26, 23, 22, 19, 17, 15, 13, 9, 8


Used/Using
WH
WG
MTMM
Rev2Rev
CtC
Preparing
LHFHG

mtmom9107
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:48 pm

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by mtmom9107 » Mon May 15, 2017 9:21 am

momtofive wrote:I completely understand where you're coming from. ;) Once my fifth little student joined the group, there was officially a lot to remember and juggle each day. I simply can't keep it all straight without a little help. I've read about how other moms use their guidebook as a plan book and check things off as they go. I believe Julie shared that she uses different colors for each of her kids when she checks off the assignments in the guides, which helps to keep things organized. ;) I'm old fashioned I guess, and it's hard for me to write in my guides, and with five kids using them, I have decided to utilize a couple other ideas for tracking lessons.

Several years ago, I started making my kids checklists like Stephanie mentioned, which were laminated and the kids knew what they had to do each day and could easily check it off. At the end of the day we wiped it clean and it was ready for the next day. After a couple years of doing this system, I decided to make a few changes. I made each of my kids a plan book of sorts. It's basically a table made in Microsoft Word in which I can create a grid of boxes and fill in their lessons. I have their subjects going down the left side, and Day 1, Day 2, and so on, going across the top. I print these out and can then just fill in their lessons very easily. For their HOD subjects, I just list Unit 1/Day 1, and then they can check them off next to History, or Science, etc. They know that they just open up their guidebooks and complete the assignments in the guide for that day. For math, I can just write in the lesson number, or test they should complete next. You can easily customize this however you like, and make it as simple or complex as you prefer it to be. I try to keep it simple. :D Each one page contains a week of lessons, and I print 35 and then spiral bind them into a little book for each child. This can also be accomplished by using a simple spiral notebook, if that's easier. You could fill it in as you go day by day, or devote time to fill it in on the weekends. I usually take a few days in the summer to get these ready to go. We aren't rigid with it, if we get off track, which inevitably happens each year. We just check off assignments as we get them done, and pick up where we left off when we return to it. The beauty of this method, is that it helps my older kids especially to know what they need to do each day, and they can easily set off to do independent work, knowing what needs to be completed. The things we do together I don't list on their pages, to help keep it simple for them to see their responsibilities for the day.

To keep *me* on track, I make a copy of my kids plan book pages, and bind all of them into one spiral bound book for myself. I can add things to my pages that we do together in our meeting times. I put a sticky tab in each child's section with their name on it, and can easily turn to their section and cross off things as I check them. Then I can know what I've checked, and for whom, at any given time. With five kids, and five different sets of lessons, it's the way I've been able to keep on top of things and stay on track. ;)

Editing to add: This is certainly not necessary to do Heart of Dakota successfully. We do this because we've found it works for *us*, but each family needs to seek out the best way to use HOD in their own homes. The meat of our day is in our HOD guides, but the plan books do help me to know what we've done and what's left to do. Blessings! ;)
Wow, all of this speaks to me hugely! This fall we will be starting HOD for the first time and using Bigger, LHFHG and LHTH (LHTH will be used only like 2x per week, depending on how it goes). Though I will be working out of the guides primarily, I have been contemplating how to keep it all straight. I will be adding in Song School Latin 2, and a different math and was wondering where/how to get that in paper with the HOD stuff, and not use a ton and a half of sticky notes in the guide. Plus have a record in case anyone were ever to ask us to prove what we did for school. This sounds so perfect. Would you care to share some pictures? If not that's okay. I wouldn't copy your stuff, just use the visual to get started creating my own. Thank you again for sharing this idea!

momtofive
Posts: 284
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:26 pm

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by momtofive » Mon May 15, 2017 12:08 pm

mtmom9107 wrote:Wow, all of this speaks to me hugely! This fall we will be starting HOD for the first time and using Bigger, LHFHG and LHTH (LHTH will be used only like 2x per week, depending on how it goes). Though I will be working out of the guides primarily, I have been contemplating how to keep it all straight. I will be adding in Song School Latin 2, and a different math and was wondering where/how to get that in paper with the HOD stuff, and not use a ton and a half of sticky notes in the guide. Plus have a record in case anyone were ever to ask us to prove what we did for school. This sounds so perfect. Would you care to share some pictures? If not that's okay. I wouldn't copy your stuff, just use the visual to get started creating my own. Thank you again for sharing this idea!
You're welcome! ;) My pages have personal information on them so I can't link a picture, I'm sorry. :oops: The sky's the limit though, as you play around with making a table on Word, or a laminated checklist, you can customize it to be as much or little as you'd like. I just needed a basic list of what each child needed to cover/accomplish each day, and have something to check off showing what was done. It's a small thing that helps me to stay on top of what's getting completed (or not! :wink: ), each day. I'm very visual, so this worked for me. I'm sure the more you think on it, you'll come up with a good plan for your family! Best wishes! :wink:
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!

Murph
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2020 3:02 pm

Re: Struggling checking their work...suggestions?

Post by Murph » Sun May 10, 2020 4:05 pm

Renee,

Your original post describes me perfectly. I also have 9 children, 1 at WSU, 2 at a community college, and a fourth who will attend college this fall. Which leaves me with 5 to educate at home. I also run out of gas by 2 PM, to the point of having to take a nap some days. I have always struggled with grading my older kids' work and am forever dealing with guilt. I'm wondering how you are doing now and if you have discovered something that works for you?

Thank you,
Linda

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