This year Jonah and I have been doing a better job than in the past when it comes to intentional homeschooling.
I've always loved setting goals and planning the strategy for going after them. What I doesn't come naturally for me is the follow-through. I'm not a big fan of routine or repetition, and that appears to be a necessary component of staying on course.
This year, our biggest help has been:
The Purple Folder is on my desk, and in it are the pieces of paper to which I can refer to quickly assess whether we are staying on track to reach the goals we've set for 10th grade, or if we've lost something in the shuffle that needs to be revisited.
This isn't the same thing as lesson plans. These are the year-long looks at 10th grade.
Jonah's book list is in here; if I look at The Purple Folder once a month and notice no new books on his list, I know we need to update the list before we forget what he's read in recent weeks.
His checklist for writing assignments is in here, too. I know that I want him to write a minimum of:
- 8 short papers (mostly creative),
- 6 essays,
- 1 ten-page research paper, and
- 2 five-page research papers before 10th grade is over.
Again, once a month is enough to remind me to record assignments he's completed for co-op or day-school classes that also fulfill the writing assignments I've set as his goal. It also keeps us from putting off too long a big writing project that should not be rushed; it allows me to schedule the ten-pager at a time when many other things are moving at a slower-than-usual pace.
The Purple Folder also contains Career Exploration ideas that we are pursuing little by little. Right now Jonah's interested in investigating Culinary Arts, and we have a list of people in the field to meet with for pointers, restaurants to offer free help as he shadows over Christmas break, and colleges to look into. There are other careers on the list that we will explore after we've spent some time whetting his appetite in the kitchen!
Jonah likes the new system this year.
He couldn't care less that it's The Purple Folder that's keeping us on track. All he cares about is that I nag him less with stress-filled questions like, "How many classics do you have on your book list so far?" and "You did a paper for Mrs. Tillman in World History and Philosophy, right? Can we count it for anything for your writing?"
Basically, he likes the system because it's working for me, and a less worried homeschool Mom is a more delightful homeschool Mom. There are lots of things to stay on top of when you are homeschooling, especially homeschooling high school.
What techniques have you found helpful for lowering your stress and creating intentional growth toward your homeschool goals for this year?
...don't skip it!
This is an often-overlooked area that is vitally important for our high-schoolers. Click here to download the FREE Career Exploration questionnaire and view excerpts from Vicki Tillman's one-of-a-kind workbook. $6.99 buys a lot of guidance and equipping for the Career Exploration path!