Last week, I wrote a post about my “circle of sanity” – the way we organize our homeschool materials to make it easy throughout the day. At the end of that post, I promised I would also show you our checklist system, so here it is!
Homeschool Checklist Systems:
I have tried a number of checklist systems. One year, I used an app that did work pretty well, but was quickly discontinued. There are also a couple of computer-based scheduling programs I have utilized in the past. These scheduling systems always presented a headache if our schedule changed, if we skipped a day of school, if I decided to slow a kid down in a subject, etc. They make it look so easy to adjust things, but it sucked up a lot of my time just managing the thing that was supposed to make managing easier. So I always ended up coming back to this one. It is easy to manage, less writing for me, no work at all to adjust course, easy for record keeping, and kid and mom-friendly.
The first part of the system consists of a one-page checklist for each student. I list the subject topics (like “Math”, and the particular task (like “Problem Sets” or “Timed Tests”, etc.) as separate bullet points. Next to that I have a blank line for them to write which lesson they are on. Since they do all of their subjects daily, the checklist never changes. If you have subjects that are only done on certain days, I just write the day of the week in parenthesis next to it [i.e. Picture Study (Wednesday)]. The only thing that changes each day is the number or name of the lesson they are working on and the date. They fill out the chapter or lesson as we move on. If I want them to repeat a lesson, we just repeat the same lesson the next day and write the same lesson number. Super-simple.
Some of my kids decorate their homeschool checklists, others don’t fill in the lesson or number, but only mark the box. I don’t really care how they use it because it is only to for them. Instead, my master checklist keeps track of where each kid is at. So to work at it’s best, the student checklist has to be paired with Mom’s checklist below….
Mom’s homeschool checklist is the same as theirs, but it has each school-age kid on one sheet (I have four in school right now), so I have one page with four columns customized to match my kiddos’ lists. The kid completes an item on his/her checklist, and “hands it in” to the “turn-in” area. I examine, initial, and sticker it, mark it off my checklist and put it back in their tub for them. They aren’t done with their day until everything has passed through my hands and made it onto my checklist! Its so much easier than trying to remember!
Mom’s checklist also doubles as a record of our school year. I have a completed page for every day of school, so it is easy to show what our school year was comprised of.
My Checklist Binder:
I keep my homeschool checklists in a three-ring binder. Inside that binder are six page dividers. I put a printed copy of a calendar at the front of my binder so I can write events and important dates. The next tab is for all of my checklists – I only print about 20 at a time in case I need to modify them for some reason (same with the kids checklist). My oldest child is so used to the checklist system, she asks me to add things she wants to do daily to her list now! After the tab with the checklist, I have a tab with each student’s name on it. I keep a few things under each of these:
- A blank worksheet to track what books they have read (history books, science books, library books for fun)
- A list of the history and literature books I want them to read this school year – no dates, we just move to the next one when the last one is finished
- Kid-specific lists – some of the kids have a spelling curriculum that has Mom dictate a sentence each week. I put a copy of that sheet in this section so I can locate it easily for that kid.
My three-ring binder goes in a drawer right under my check-in station, so it is easy to tidy up at the end of the day.
A Few Tips:
- Only put on the checklist the things you are actually planning to have your student accomplish regularly. If you start having them skip things here or there, they will start trying to get out of them every day. Most things on our lists don’t actually take very long. I have found in the past, that if I consistently make them do everything, there is less complaining and they actually get done faster, since the wrestling over wanting to do something, or trying to get out of it, is eliminated.
- Practice consistency and personal responsibility. I don’t remind the kids of the items that are due (see my point about reminding kids to do things here). Instead, I simply state that their school list is not complete in my record book, or that there are still a few items they are missing. This forces them to use their checklist and figure out what they are missing. They will learn quickly to use the resource you have provided, and it will require less management from you in the long run. This is easy to say and hard to do – as moms, we are hard-wired for reminders. Break that habit. It only frustrates both you and the child in the end.
No system is perfect, but this one requires very little from me and is extremely effective for our family. I hope you find it useful too!
You can Download an editable FREE COPY of all of the Checklists below:
Mom’s Checklists (Select the one you need below):
I hope you enjoy these free resources, and that they help make your homeschool day easier! Don’t forget to read the original post about the organization of your items HERE.