[Today Miss Pleasant is 3! 

From her birthday party last Saturday, courtesy a guest. My camera is broken. *sob*

 and now back to the post..]

I mentioned our school schedules and checklists. We used this method of keeping track last year with good results, and I tweaked it a bit for this year’s use.

While I have customized these for our family, I did not invent  them outright. Other wonderful Ambleside Online users graciously upload their schedules and such (to various yahoo groups, but I hear there is an AO forum coming soon!!), and I have found some that work for us.

I keep both the schedule and checklist clipped to a clipboard (checklist on top – math pages, penmanship and other things below). Big Sister keeps track of her own (with oversight) and I manage Li’l Artist’s.

Here is the checklist, (the first half of) the first term of Big Sister’s 2012-2013 school year:

Year 4 Term 1 checklist (first 6 weeks)

There is a section for daily work – every day has its own box to check off. The weekly work is divided among the weekdays, with a few things showing up twice (latin, hymn, folksong to reinforce it the next day), and if all goes well, after the first week then all of the subjects under the headings “1” will be marked off (as well as five of the little boxes in each subject in the daily section). A “K” next to the selection means that the book can be found on the Kindle. A “C” means the computer will be required, and an “N” is a reminder to narrate in one fashion or another. The little asterisk delineates things that will need Mama’s assistance, at least the first time or two (or every time, as needed).

In addition, the checklist goes hand-in-hand with a schedule, which tells you exactly what you should be reading in, for example, Robinson Crusoe.

Year 4, Term 1 Schedule, all 12 weeks (first page).

Some areas are blank, either because there is no reading scheduled for that week, I haven’t decided what we’re doing yet, or I want them to write in what we do (as with bible and nature study).

Year 4 Term 1 schedule, page 2.

Some of this is standard Year 4 readings – the chapters in the history and literature, etc – and they were already in the schedule when I downloaded it.

Year 4, Term 1 Schedule, page 3.

Other subjects are scheduled in rotation, so (if you choose) you are doing the same hymn, the same folksong, the same Shakespeare play and Plutarch’s life at the same time as the rest of the Ambleside users. This is handy because if you have multiple children, you can all enjoy the same piece of art, the same symphony, the same Shakespeare, as opposed to trying to fit each student to a different piece of music, etc. Also, the Ambleside advisory will have updated links for the current term’s selections, and other industrious users might put together a grooveshark or youtube playlist for the composer’s works.

Year 4 Term 1 Schedule, page 4.

I usually set my printer to print 2 pages on one – so these are half-size and arranged on a portrait-oriented (i.e. tall, not wide as these screenshots show) paper. Big Sister’s main schedule then takes up the front and back of a single sheet. These can be marked off too, if you like, and occasionally I go through and make sure she is caught up on everything. If not, I use a colored pen to circle the chapters and other things she needs to catch up.

Year 4 Term 1 Schedule, page 5. The Free Reading list.

While not exactly a ‘schedule,’ the free reads are included, with the instruction to choose so many per term, and whether a book is term-specific (that is, it corresponds with some of the history being studied, etc). These are crossed off as they are read (the weekly headings aren’t relevant for this page).

I set these all up –  checklists and schedules for all 3 terms, for both girls – at the beginning of the school year. This gets me in trouble sometimes (I had to rework the artists – AO’s advisory changed from a Renoir/Rodin term to Renoir just after I completed them), but it’s better than sitting down after Thanksgiving or New Year’s, ready for Term 2 and having NO plan whatsoever (which is what would happen)! It was several evenings’ worth of work, but well worth it in the end.

There are a lot of other schedules and checklists people have come up with, but this is what I’ve found works best for us. If you have a favorite system that works, share it with me in the comments!