Getting Started

I’m almost convinced I can start school on Monday.  I got my final curriculum book yesterday and my spreadsheets are all set up.  I am hesitantly feeling ready. 

We use Sonlight as our foundation for curriculum and lesson planning.  I don’t purchase the full grade package from them, because I’ve found that I can tailor things a little bit and spend a little less money if I do a little homework. I purchase used books at McKay’s, order cheaper copies on Amazon sometimes, and I check our local library for each book to see if we can borrow it for free.

If money weren’t an issue, and if my children were lovers of writing and I were a wiz at grammar, I would buy Sonlight’s full grade package for each child and we’d have a fun year of it.  I think it’s mostly that part where I’m not a wiz at grammar.  I feel completely exposed when I try to edit the work my kids do.  I don’t trust myself to catch all the run-on sentences and wrong verb tense.  I feel like Sonlight expects that from me, so I use BJU English and pretend I’m awesome.  Please don’t tell my kids this.  I’m trying to trick them.   The thing is, I have never understood why anyone would want to diagram a sentence.

It’s a sentence.

Just say it.

Why do you want part of it on diagonal lines falling off the bottom?  How does that help anyone?  I really don’t get it, but when my kids are doing it, I’m all in.

“Oh my STARS!  Look at that diagram!  You have diagrammed the poop outta that sentence!  I’m impressed!”

Diagram that.

Regardless, we love Sonlight for it’s thoughtfulness in leading families into reading, thinking and pursuing Godliness right where we are.  The reading material is interesting and I get caught up in it right alongside the boys.

The fact that they bring history and geography alongside the reading so that we are immersed in learning the culture and the background of the people and places we are being introduced to, is sort of wonderful.   We use Sonlight in these areas, plus Bible lessons, and it builds a wonderful lesson plan for us to add the other subjects to.

Here’s a glimpse of our schedule.

You probably can’t read that, and that’s fine, it’s showing four days of school beginning at 7:00 with Bible, and ending at 2:30.  That’s a long school day, but we do that so Friday’s are fun or even free.  We can go on field trips, practice what we’ve pondered, or we can relax and play a little.

“Why put that into a spreadsheet?” you may be asking, well because I can make it work with a grading system, that’s why.  Each of those little boxes has a place to pop in a number, which gets calculated in that last box on the end of each row.  That box will show a percentage grade for that week.

I have three spreadsheets working together.  One records the weekly grade, one records test grades and one calculates those results into a final semester grade.

So when Ivan answers his reader questions, I immediately write down a score, it becomes part of the weekly page, which immediately feeds the semester page.  When Aron finishes an English test, I grade it with the answer key, ask him to calculate his own percentage score, then we use a calculator to check our work, I record that grade on the test spreadsheet and it immediately becomes part of his total semester grade.

I’m still doing the daily grading of their work, but with the blank spreadsheet above, printed out for each week, I can write in the score quickly and record the results later at the computer.

When I do these spreadsheets in the summer, it gets me so excited to start school.

Let me know if you want me to e-mail you our spreadsheets for grading.  I would be happy to share.

2 thoughts on “Getting Started

  1. I so admire your planning. I’m currently flying by the seat of my pants which drives Chloe crazy. I always think that I’ll plan ahead but it’s always two months out & then I think I have plenty of time & then it sneaks up & clobbers me. I would love to have your plan though. I’d have to tweak it to fit us but it seems like a good place to start.

  2. I would love to send you my spreadsheets. I’m going to set Becky up this year with hers because she hates grading and this will make it much easier. Hers will have a GPA calculator too. I don’t need that yet for mine. I miss you and I want to talk to you. So expect a call someday soon. 🙂

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