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Topic: Need to organize my life--Please Help!

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Subject: Need to organize my life--Please Help!
Date Posted: 11/19/2007 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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Ok, i have tried using Excel to keep me organized as to what, when, where, goals, etc. but it is just not working....I have sheets and sheets and files and files, and nothing is working so far.  I need something for me that I can use to set up the actual Plans/Goals/materials/supplies/books/links, etc. all in one spot , but be flexible enough so that I can kinda goal out like "Handwriting->Goals->Ideas/Information->Materials->" etc.  Then maybe a spot where it all comes together somehow.  I have looked at using my Works Task manager...not sure if that will work.  Did see "Office 2007 One Note" and really liked the layout of it........But can't afford $100 for it :)  Can anyone else please help with suggestions to get me more organized?  Help!  I sit every day, seems like all day long, just trying to get a format to work for me to keep me on track with taking care of "it all" (work, school, baby, chores, errands, etc.) 

Any suggestions would be great!

Date Posted: 11/19/2007 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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Here's my suggestion...

Even your POST made my head spin. Calm down. =) What are your objectives here? WHY do you need it all neatly formatted? State requirement, or personal preference? I'd caution you against tying yourself down to rigid ideals and schedules. Homeschooling doesn't need that. Make a chart of your day, with every hour listed at the top, and block off times for each item. Mayeb you think you have to lock everything down to a science because there aren't enough hours in the day BECAUSE you spend too much time trying to organize. =)

I keep mine printed out in a 3-ring binder. Every month has a divider. Every month has goals, lesson plans, attendance, sample work, materials used, etc. Every page is in a page protector. I can see it all and touch it and tweek it as needed.

Date Posted: 11/19/2007 2:18 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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LOL....I know...Right now you are right, I spend too much time organizing :)  I think what I started out in the post looking for was something that I could use better than excel to help me outline my goals for school better than what I have right now...... Not EVERY goal for the WHOLE year, just things as they come to me and I see work needed there, then a place behind that for my ideas, materials, website links I find, books I want to order, etc. for each area.  I have read around, looked around, for a guideline of sorts to make sure (I guess giving myself reassurance) that son is getting what he needs to be getting and I am doing it ?right?.  I FINALLY went to my state website and looked at what 2nd graders across the state are supposed to be "learning/developing into" this year..and after doing this, it took a LOT of stress off me cause I saw there that a lot of that stuff comes with natural development of the child, not so much with the actual TEACHING of something.  And I also learned, that NO I don't have to make him a Grammar scholar in 2nd grade! LOL  However, there are still some areas there that we still need to work on....handwriting, storywriting, small amount of geography.....  I am getting more and more back to MY style of teaching him, but of course I needs notes for myself on the things I see we need to do as well as things he is interested in and wants to learn about and an organized place to stick it all instead of jumping here and there.  As far as being able to actually "schedule" a specified time for each thing in our day......that way doesn't fit for us.....I have a "calendar" of sorts listed out in Excel whichs lists out for me what I all I need to accomplish that day, and most of the time we get it all in...but not always.  I thought I might be more comfortable with a sort of notebooking system to use for his schooling area which organizes lesson plans, materials, etc., but I don't want it in a "papered" notebook where he can read it yet, because if he picked up and read things he needed work on, I think this might only serve to deteriote is already fragile ego at this point.  So I want to have it where I can see it, but present to him in his own way.......That's why the need for an "electronic" notebook....Just something I can outline lesson plans, field trips, etc. in...nothing for grade record keeping or attendance (already have an online system that I use for that).  As I said, something along the lines of the Microsoft One Note 2007 would be ideal.

Thanks :)

Date Posted: 11/20/2007 1:04 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2007
Posts: 237
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You can find a lot of forms at the Donna Young website. www.donnayoung.org

Also at this site. http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/gettingorganized/planner.php

There are several computer based tracking program that have free trials. One of them is here: http://www.homeschoolminder.com/index.html

For general organizational skills, many people have been helped by Flylady. http://www.flylady.net/

Don't get so caught up in trying to find the "Perfect" system that you lose the joy in the journey, and in learning to see life and all of its wonders through your son's eyes!!

Enjoy!

Date Posted: 11/20/2007 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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My head is spinning reading what you are looking to do. I'm not judging you. I want to be clear I don't have any system like you have.

 At the start of the year (when I'm planning), I write out the long term goals in Word in a list type format. For example, Math, I know I'm using Math-U-See curriculum. My goal is to get through that grade that year. I go to the MUS site and copy and paste the scope and sequence for that year into my document. Voila. It looks so lovely and comprehensive.

At the end of the year I go back and edit, say we ended up moving on to the next book or we didn't finish it, I tweak it to show work actually accomplished. I also edit and add in stuff that my kids did that wasn't on the original plan.

For some things like history I just write "using Story of the World Volume 3". Then at the end of the year for a nice summary I can copy out the chapter titles and round out with the years covered (it is a chronological history program).

I have never mixed ideas with lists of suggested resources mixed with goals and progress. I hope you find something that works for you! :)

Date Posted: 11/20/2007 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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Thanks Christine & I have for now.   I think when I wrote that I was putting entirely too much pressure on myself, like Michelle said.  Since then, I have just opened up the old Excel again, and am using it to brainstorm.  I went to my state website, pulled the list off of what he is supposed to know by the end of this year...just to give me something to start by.  Once I went there, I wasn't near as nervous any more.  I had people all around telling me things like "oh you'll spend a whole month on the water cycle alone" and "for english, you must get him to do stories, know the 8 parts of speech, cover this cover that cover this cover that" until yes my OWN head was spinning when I first wrote this! LOL  Now I am a lot more relaxed to see that he is not "behind" like I thought he was.....With the way people were telling me, I thought Man! I am gonna cause him to be completely illiterate!!! LOL  But I got to talk to my homeschooling friends and that always helps a whole lot :)  I have my spreadsheet setting up now where I have a page for each subject, so I can list goals, projects, plans, etc. on each page, as well as a page for unit studies (we are getting ready to do Birds right now).  He responds more to unit studies and I was kinda lost as to exactly how to get everything to fit into that, but once I started just laying it out, it all just fell into place :)  I also use Math-U-See (I love it! don't you?)  I'm getting over the pressure of "get it all and get it all NOW!"  Even today, I just enjoyed the journey of just being with him, and with that he learned a lot more today than he has in a while, and we never cracked a book or i never had a lesson plan one for it!  It just happened :) 

I have Story of the World also, and am keeping it onhand for possible future use at this point in time.  I thought we were ready for it, but I think we will learn a little more about the world first thru birds, then go from there.

I have looked at tons of notebooking systems out there on the market, but none look like that they work for me that well right now.

I thought I could find some type of digital notebook, but thru all my yammering at the top, I just left people dazed and confused as to EXACTLY what it was that I was wanting more info on :)  So,my friends, if any of you out there have info on digital notebooking systems (Besides Evernote, because I already have it and it is too "straight down" laid out for me.  I would appreciate any links/ideas :)

Date Posted: 11/20/2007 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2006
Posts: 1,620
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Have you looked into Google Notebook?  I don't know if it will have everything that you want or not, but it is free.

Date Posted: 11/20/2007 10:58 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 43
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Hi,I use the homeschool tracker and you can download the basic one for free  it works well for  me  and I just print out everything out when I have to do my son's evaluation at the end of the year .I also have a file for each month with his work in it .Here is the link to the homeschool tracker if your interested  http://homeschooltracker.com/tracker_basic.aspx

Date Posted: 11/22/2007 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2006
Posts: 126
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I second homeschool tracker.  I use the plus version, which will allow you to keep goals, make journal entries, and many other things.  The Basic version is free and the Plus version runs very inexpensive at $35 (I think) and you get lifetime support and updates.  The Gentiles (the program creators) are extremely sweet, and you can't get better support.

Dawn