Last week I decided that my previous methods of lesson planning and scheduling were not working.
Being that we are eclectic homeschoolers a problem began to emerge. I would plan and then have to show the children how to get to a website or pull a worksheet from somewhere else in the house. This would not be a problem if I had one or even two children, but with five (and two of them under age five), I needed a more independent system. A system especially for the oldies, to keep them focused and on task.
While trying to register my daughter for Khanacademy.org I came across Google Apps for Education and got really excited, only to be let down once again. Google does not allow homeschool to use Google Apps for Eduation. After reading through what they had to offer anyway, I wondered if I could still make the Apps useful in my homeschool for my children. After tinkering around, I figured out how to use Google Calendar.
(4 day view)
Here's how I did it:
First, I gave each child their own calendar on my Google Calendar, and assigned each of them a color. ( *click the little arrow next to my calendar and then click create new calendar, make a name for your calendar and click create new calendar at the top of the page)
Next, I went into Google and created each of them a Gmail account and a password (which only the oldest knows because I saved the passwords into the computer by checking remeber me).
I then shared the individual calendars I made on my Google Calendar with each individual Gmail address. Now it is easy for them to see personally what they need to do at any time of the day.
Step 2: From the settings menu click share this calendar and enter your child's email. Make sure you have it set so they can't modify/edit the calendar)
Then, I added an entry for each subject I wanted them to complete at that time, checking the box if it was a repeat activity.I wrote in each child's main lessons and I am able to go in and change the lessons if I need to. For example if on Monday, Z has pg 13-16 for history, I can go into the calendar and change the page numbers for Tuesday without recreating the posts. I added links for the websites and notes for the activities. I added reminders to some entries as well. I added things we do together such as nature walks, fieldtrips and other activities to a general calendar.
This is an example of what my daughter sees when she logs into her calendar. She can only see her work, which is in purple. If she clicks on one of the purple boxes shown above then she will get the screen shown below.
Last, I used the task list to help me remember lesson preparations and gather materials.
One great advantage to using Google Calendar is that my plans are accessible wherever I am. If we are at the library, at basketball practice, or even out of state I have access to all my childrens work. I can add links to the websites we need and they can click the link instead of using favorites or writing down long URL's to type in. The directions for the lesson and the links are together on the calendar. I can also attach documents to the calender entry. I am able to record each child's lessons on the calendar. They are able to view the agenda for the day, week or month from the calendar. Best of all, they don't need my help and can move along through the day without me.
Is anyone else using Google Calendar for homeschool planning, if so how? Is it similar to this or something totally different? How about an easier way, let me know . I am always tweaking a system and trying to learn more!