On my week without children, because they spent this week at camp in Georgia, I decided to tackle planning the school year. Over the years, I have tried different planners and even made my own. This year, some homeschooling moms told me about a digital conference which, so far, has been worth every penny.
One of the workshops dealt with planning your entire school year in Excel. I tried to do what she wanted us to do, but it just never seemed right. What if Lesson 46 does not get done in math one day? Well, you put it on the right side and move it to the next week. Then, you build in make up days. It just seemed too difficult.
The other thing that did not work for me was how fiddly Excel is. The presenter offered some free forms and logs, but they all got changed by the time I opened my Excel file. Then, I had to mess with cell formatting and that’s just not something I enjoy.
Last but not least, when I got it to look well on the screen, it did not print out well. I felt pretty discouraged and went and vacuumed my car. They say that when you scrub or clean, creativity starts flowing.
Light Bulb Moment
It turned out, there was yet another workshop about planning, this time with Trello.com, and only one week at a time. I gave it a try and it was a better fit for me. Why do you need to have the entire year planned out anyway? This is not public school where the principal wants the teacher to have everything in writing so they know what lesson they will be on during week 32 of instruction.
I am excited to try Trello this year. We were already using it for Science Olympiad assignments, but I still had to learn a few more buttons around there. It’s very intuitive and user friendly though.
As I said, you do not have to plan the entire year. Each child has a master schedule (board). The lists (or headings) are the days of the week, plus another list for “weekly assignments.” Under each list, you build the cards – one per subject. They can be moved around and color coded.
You can add checklists on each card. Your child can come and check them off when she is done. This will give you a clear visual of what still needs to happen that day.
Trello to the rescue
At the end of the week, if everything has been done, you can close that board and be done. It goes into an archive. You can reopen it and look at it in case you need to check if something has been done.
If certain things have not been done, then you add them to the next week’s workload. Every time you copy a board, you can choose to keep both the lists and the cards, or just the lists.
Just to be clear, you can copy any board (just one click) and customize each week’s workload. You can give it a name like “Johnny, August 12-19.” That way, it is different from the master board for the child, which would be “Johnny, 5th grade.” Of course, you can pick whatever name helps you remember exactly what that board is for.
I worked in Trello last year with my son, for Science Olympiad. It was very helpful. We will see how it works for the overall homeschool.
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