Thursday, October 13, 2011

Learning Journal

Since I always have trouble with planning and recordkeeping (doing it ends up taking up more time than I want to spend) I decided that a good shortcut was to snap a picture of whatever I want to read that day.
Then I can just note what I got to and what I didn't.

In the stack was A Treasury of Saints and Martyrs, Tales from Shakespeare, Founders of Freedom, and Galen and the Gateway to Medicine.  

I actually didn't get around to Founders or the treasury, but instead we read St Patrick's Summer (up to Cain and Abel) and more of LIttle Britches

This looks a little bit silly, but I have been trying to add some memorizing to the Afternoon Time so I put down these visual reminders:

  • ASL cards
  • Spelling Rules
  • Catechism
  • Prayers
We just went over them for a few minutes while we were getting ready for the readings.  Yesterday we did Latin and grammar.   I thought that if we just spent a few minutes a day talking about these things and going over them, it wouldn't harm at any rate.  We used to do this sort of thing with my older set of kids, but I had gotten out of the habit. 

Just one more timeline picture for now....

This is a bit too cluttered, but when I added the gel pen marking to it, it looked a little better.   Honestly, I don't know HOW people fit information into normal timeline books.  I suppose that is what short-circuited me in the past.   

I suppose I am just documenting this so that you can see a person who prefers living in her head trying to tackle hands-on logistics.    If I can do it, seriously, anyone can.

A few days ago I was doing one of those midnight researching tours of the internet on the topic of handwriting.   Handwriting is a distinct weak side of our homeschool.   I found some links -- and thought a little -- and realized that if I consult my intuition, Italics is the way to go.  For these reasons:

1.  I was very interested in calligraphy as a teen and found italics one of the most attractive "easy" scripts to use.
2.  I got the Portland Getty-Dubay books when my older kids were homeschooling.   They all used them a bit... but most notably, my son Brendan who could only write in capitals up to age 12 (I told you handwriting is a weak point around here) started using one of the italics books at that time and now has easily the most beautiful, legible writing in the family.

Then I found Penny Gardner's playlist on YouTube.  I had found her Charlotte Mason site in the past... and looked at her Beautiful Handwriting for Children resource, but moved on because K12 and Aidan's OT use Handwriting without Tears. 

This time I thought about it, and decided that I know from my experience that italics "works" even with children who struggle with writing, and that I like it, and that I could use the Penny Gardner videos (very basic, no bells and whistles, but show how to form the letters) for my kids if they get frustrated with mom teaching them (which has happened in the past).

I like her emphasis on very short lessons (3-5 minutes at the beginning), and the habit of perfection, and her focus on the fact that even older learners benefit from learning italics, because even if you learned to write a different way, italics is an easy form of calligraphy.  

So we are working on that.   I am practicing it too, so that I can write models for my children for copywork if I want to.   (though there are some free Jarman fonts that are somewhat similar to italics, and you can also buy Startwrite).

I am all about homeschooling details these days.... looking back on past years, I see that October and November are always big planning and doing months.  Then Thanksgiving usually means a change of pace into holiday preparation mode, and January means noticing what is no longer working and dealing with that.... which lasts through February.  We'll see if it's that way, this year.   


  1. Hi Willa,

    Photographing your reading books? What a great idea.

    Something similar: When we've finished reading a book, the kids photocopy its cover and file it away as record keeping.

  2. My husband is beginning to learn how to program apps for iPhone and iPad, and wants ideas. I've been trying to figure out what would be ideal for planning/recordkeeping. Photos is something I hadn't considered.

    It's helpful to see how real timelines and such work out, because it is hard for me to not get discouraged when the real timeline isn't as pretty and orderly as the Ideal timeline vision in my head. :)

    We do italics. I love Penny Gardener's videos! She can repeat herself over and over "start at the ceiling line" without ever losing her cool. :)

  3. I love the idea of photographing the books they're reading -- often this information slips away while I wait to get around to writing it all down. I'll keep that in mind, esp. for all the movies my oldest child watches ("Film Studies Curriculum")

    Somehow I happened across an adorable photo of your dog Frodo from 2009. Is he still alive? Great minds and all that ... my kids have a lizard named Samwise Gamgee. :)

  4. Frodo died last winter. He is missed but he was getting very feeble and incontinent, so we were expecting it.

    I have been using your Film Studies Curriculum idea! Kieron and I seem to use movies and games to discuss almost everything. Remarkable how many classic themes come up in modern movies! I never quite realized it before.


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!