Updated July 2012: Our color-coded progress lists for the 2012-2013 school year can be accessed here or by clicking that button to the right. I used a new format that I like better in the 2012-2013 version, so if you like the progress lists you see in this post, be sure to check out my newer version. Happy planning!
I am a visual person. This school year, it has been helpful to have a quick visual guide that marks our progress through the year’s work. In the past, I have tried to use online tracking systems (like the CM Organizer at Simply Charlotte Mason), but have found that I prefer simple paper-and-pencil checklists. They work for me! And they’re simple, and simple is always always a bonus when it comes to homeschooling.
This year, I took each book we are using, broke them each down by chapter, and assembled progress checklists. As we plod through the year, I mark off the lessons we accomplish. This is a very satisfying practice for a Lover Of All Things Checklist, and it helps me feel productive, even on those crazy-running-around-stressed-did-we-even-get-anything-done-around-here weeks. You do know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
The lists are color-coded by trimester. My goal is to have everything in orange done by Halloween, everything in purple done by Valentine’s Day (that’s when baby girl is due), and everything in green done by the end of the school year (whenever that is- we’ll just keep going till it’s all done). The color-coding helps me see how far we are, at any given time, from reaching our goals.
Anything that’s not color-coded (Snap’s lists, for example) are in black because I’m not concerned with finishing a certain amount of work this year. In Snap’s instance, I just want him to progress a little further at his own pace. However far we get is however far we get.
I don’t have any of our literature selections, living history books, or saint stories on these lists. Instead, I keep track of these on a plain piece of blank notebook paper. I do that because I don’t plan out these selections ahead of time. I choose this reading based on what I can get at the library (and with saint stories, I’m never sure which ones we’ll touch on each year. We have a happy stack of saint books on the shelf, and I just record the individual saint stories as we read them).
This system of recording-as-we-go works best for me, and it allows me to throw in some good spontaneous reading that I stumble upon during the school year.
All of this record-keeping (the progress checklists and the record-as-we-go lists) are tucked into my teaching binder behind a tab labeled Progress. One of my very favorite parts of the week is flipping to that section and checking away all we accomplished.
I’m feeling very relaxed this year, because I’m seeing, every week, how much progress we’re making! And we’re making a lot! I think oftentimes, we homeschoolers don’t realize how very much we are getting to, simply because we aren’t very good at documenting it. This simple checklist format keeps me up-to-speed on where we are and where we need to go.
Feel free to nab these lists and tweak them for your own learning materials, if that would be helpful:
(And remember, you can see our weekly check-it-off lists here.)
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