Saturday, March 08, 2008

Reassurance for a Perfectionist

All of you who know me will understand this.

I love Homeschool Tracker.

I have been working with it for a little over a week now, and it is so reassuring to see the little portions of hours add up for each girl. When I begin to feel like we aren't getting things accomplished, I can just go to the "time spent" report and see that we are working hard, regardless of how far down the list we get.

I am always subconsciously worried about whether we are doing enough, whether we are gypping the kids by homeschooling them, especially since they are so far apart in age and abilities (three years' difference any way you measure it). Teaching three different levels has made me feel, even when we work hard all day, that if we don't finish the list we haven't done enough. We are still in Term One for two of the three Ambleside Years the kids are working through, and that has been weighing heavily on my mind, even though I know that AO is an intense program. Now I can see that the load may still need to be adjusted down for two of the girls, at least.

I started using Homeschool Tracker Basic (the freebie-- I can't believe they offer Basic for free, this is truly a blessing) as a way of getting my feet wet for serious recordkeeping-- I'm thinking of the need for transcripts for college, and decided to allow myself a year or two to explore, flounder and finally arrive at our way of doing things. At this point I am only tracking lessons, not grades or points, although I do plan to record Triss' Apologia and math scores beginning this week. I will probably record those scores alone for the next year at least. I am not in a hurry to learn to assign grades to her literature, history or writing studies-- Apologia and math are more objective and easier to score.

Initially, I worked for several hours to get everything loaded, but now it takes only a few minutes to mark assignments completed and print out the next day's assignments. I am excited to see how long it will take me to load up the new week's assignments, because I now have templates in place.

I will probably move up to the Plus program in the next two years. I don't know anything yet about lesson plans, or rearranging subjects and assignments for high school purposes. But at this point, these precious reports reassure this "anxious pendulum" that we are "doing enough".

(This post begs the question, "what is my definition of 'enough'?" Perhaps I will post about that next.)


Tootles Time said...

I started using Homeschool Tracker last spring and I love it! I bought the full version so I could enter lesson plans and it helps me to remember to do things that sometimes went by the wayside. I print out a checklist for the boys and they work through it during the week.

In HIM, Pam

Katie said...

I'm printing our checklists by the day. I like that the undone work from the previous day can be made to show up on the assignment sheet the next day. But we are going through a lot of paper and ink!

I don't know if my younger two would be able to keep track of a weekly assignment sheet at this point. My oldest could handle it, I think.

I'm still using the binder-and-checklist lesson plan method at this point-- all on paper. I figure I'll continue this way at least until the new school year.

At almost the end of another week, I still love it. I just entered Triss' math scores for the last couple of weeks and the program calculated her total average for me. Cool.