There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re homeschooling multiple kids. Chores, reading, math, writing, and various other activities all require some kind of accountability.
If we think our kids don’t need accountability, we’re going to have a sad wakeup call eventually. They do need it.
If we don’t care enough to check up on them and the quality and consistency of their work – regularly – they will not care enough to do it.
And then the problem is not their work ethic, but ours. If we want them to care, we are the ones who must care.
That starts with keeping track of what each person is supposed to be doing. We can’t check up on work we aren’t tracking, and the easier it is to track, the easier it is to check.
Last year we solidified our kids’ weekly school checklists on Trello. It works for us well after some adapting and learning and practice. But it turns out that it’s too much clicking to be useful for me to track everyone readily.
Our Trello checklists make a Monday Meeting check smooth and thorough, but the middle-of-the-day “Did you turn in all your work?” check is a little more difficult.
I realized that I needed an at-a-glance summary on paper I could pull out and run through quickly – did I hear 4 sets of piano practicing? are the right number of math pages turned in? did we do handwriting?
This is no special, beautifully designed list. It’s a table with a row for each student and a column for each day. It has 7-point-font lists in each square for what needs to be done. It’s merely a quick reference, and it’s helped my sanity tremendously.
No more groping through mental lists that stall and crash more often than Instagram on my iPhone 4. I don’t have to stare blankly at the child proclaiming he’s done thinking, “Hm. But…what about…that one thing…are you sure you did everything?” Nope. Now I glance over and say, “So, you finished your math page? Turned it in? Practiced piano? Practiced your spelling words? Did your Latin? Read to your sister?”
8 out of 10 reports that school is finished are false alarms.
This simple little list helps me make sure those false alarms don’t turn into alarming levels of uncompleted work.
Mostly, it sits on my clipboard and reminds me that yes, I do need to check on each of these items, every day, if I’m doing my job.
It’s way easier to catch up on missed work – whatever the excuse or non-excuse for it – when it’s caught early than when it’s been months since I’ve actually asked probing questions.
Ask me how I know. I know from both sides of that experience – homeschool student and homeschool mom – and neither is good. The finding out and carrying through is hard, but persisting in the habit of not doing assigned work is worse.
So I check, and a simple little table is my mental crutch.
Here’s a walk-through, show-and-tell video of my very-not-fancy at-a-glance weekly work reference:
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