I don’t know if it is due to the start of the holiday season, or if my pace of life has just slowed down to a place where I can spend a few minutes gathering my thoughts while I doodle.....whatever the cause, the outcome is that I can feel my creative juices flowing.
My little notebook, which started off this fall as a place where I would jot down a few things for the girls to do each day has morphed into something that is not only a record of our work but a place where I like to return to throughout the day to capture what really takes place during the hours we spend together.
I do not plan a full day of “lessons”. I take a look at our calendar and examine how much time we will be inside our home vs. the time required to travel to and from outside lessons. Then I reflect on what I want to see accomplished, such as math, or science, or reading. I jot down two or three things. Just enough to build momentum. My journal looks very different at the end of the day than it did when we gathered at the table to have breakfast and review our schedule. I have come to realize, that if I put down what I want and leave room for creativity, the day fills up with many things such as reading, piano practice, writing, and even unplanned physics lessons involving gear ratios and torque (related to our electronics class).
So many parents struggle with record keeping. I have been one of them. I have used teacher planning books, printed checklists from excel, schedule apps, and even no daily plans. This is what I have settled on and this is what works for us.
When I was teaching, teachers would walk the halls carrying their sketchbooks. At meetings, the conference table would be filled with sketchbooks, and littered with magic markers and colored pencils. This was before the age of electronics. Now I am sure laptops or iPads would be the recording device of choice, but back then we were committed to exploring ourselves artistically, and our notebooks held not only our notes but also our reflections on those notes and how they applied to the children we taught in our classrooms. I still have those notebooks filled with anecdotal snippets of who was reading what and the highlights of our reading conferences. They contain sketches of my classroom, notes from parent/teacher conferences, references to what we were studying and book list after book list.
It has taken me three years to apply this to my homeschool. My notebook is becoming a place to jot down not only what we accomplish in a day but a place for a quick lesson, a place to keep lists of what resources we want to take out from the library or watch on Netflix. It is a place that they girls want to work in too, taking part in the illustrations. Just like my old teaching notebooks, this one is a place that I can come to, spend some time coloring, drawing, reflecting and I feel very in control of what is happening in and out of our home.