Eclectic sounds so much nicer than Slacker.
You, Gentle Reader, may have noticed my little problem with following all the rules? My tendency to rebel in very small ways?
It carries through to education. As if simply home-schooling wasn’t enough, I also rebel in small ways against “certified” textbooks, and worksheets, and testing. I want my children to understand that learning is more than some building called “school,” that they can be passionate and engaged and totally off-kilter about things, and that’s okay.
However, my Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal fellow craves order, and demonstrable signs of progress, and paperwork. He likes charts, and things to check off, and stickers.
This is an entirely reasonable desire, and I can support that. However, knowing myself (and Himself!), setting out some grand tight schedule and tracking every moment for excellent time usage just isn’t going to hold up past the glorious planning stage.
It’s a constant balancing act: how do we make sure we’re covering the solid basics, allowing for personal exploration, and sticking to twaddle-free resources?
Here’s something that seems to be working for us; I’m flexible, and we can always change it as our needs change, so I don’t mind sharing:
It’s a School Diary Sheet, with space for each child on the page. On one side is a short list of planned topics to hit that day, a few skills to practice, that sort of thing. On the other side is empty space for noting the self-directed learning that happened today: books read, projects worked on or completed, outdoor adventures, leaves studied, chickens cuddled, topics of interest discussed with interesting people, life skills added, etc.
For us, it’s a good mix: we see demonstrable progress, not just with the planned academics, but also in the gradual ebb and flow of self-directed learning. Heck, we could even make bar graphs with this sort of data!
In areas that require more detailed record-keeping, this same sheet could be used to note time spent on each activity or topic; it has a built-in attendance tracker (very high tech line for dates at the top).
Please feel free to make copies for yourself or friends as needed!