Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Working with HST + and TOG

I actually have something to share to help all my new friends at TLT who use Tapestry of Grace and Homeschool Tracker +. Since A1 will be starting in 9th grade this fall I knew I needed something to help me print out her transcript when she graduates. She wants to go to law school so college is definetly on her list of things to do.

I found Homeschool Tracker and looked over the free edition and the plus edition. I was using the free edition for a little while to see how I liked it. It was fairly easy to get started and move around, but it didn't offer all that I needed so I purchased the upgrade.

The scheduling of Tapestry of Grace with HST+ has come up quite frequently lately as we are all busy trying to get ready for the new school year. After reading the manuel, yes, I purchased it separate, that is just how I am wired, I got started playing around. I figured it out! The transcript is going to look great after 4 years.

Here is where to start:

  1. Make sure you enter all of the student information under the Maintenance tab then click student tab. Click edit and fill out all the correct information for all of the tabs. Save.
  2. Enter your Subjects next. This is the list I came up with for R level and D level students. I am only listing TOG information in these instructions.
  • Enrichment
  • Government
  • History
  • History of Fine Arts
  • Honors English I
  • Language Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Social Studies
  • Theological Studies
3. Enter your Courses next. Subject is listed first below. (Lists the code given all in in R1 or D1 for level and year of TOG)
  • Enrichment: Enrichment(ER1)-Activities: Group Discussion, In-Class, Reading Assignment
  • Government: Ancient Government Studies(AGOVR1)-Activities: Discussion Questions, Group Discussion, Reading Assignment
  • History: Ancient World History(D1)-Activities: Discussion Question work, Group Discussion, Reading Assignment, Test, Time Line work
  • History: Honors History: Ancient World(HHAWR1)-Discussion Question work, Geography Work, Group Discussion, Group Project, Reading Assignment, Test, Time Line work, Vocabulary
  • History of Fine Arts: Fine Arts D level(FA D1)-Activities: In-Class, Project, Reading Assignment
  • History of Fine Arts: History of Fine Arts: Ancient World(FA R1)-Activities: In-Class, Project, Reading Assignment
  • Honors English I: Ancient Literature(AL R1)-Activities: See your Y1 Loom in the Grading Year 1 Rhetoric-Level Literature section for activities and different ways to grade this section of Honors English
  • Honors English I: Composition I (COMP1)-Activities: Dictation, In-Class, Writing Assignment
  • Honors English I: Grammar Studies(GRAMR1)-all activities needed to complete whatever program you are using.
  • Honors English I: SAT Prep/Vocab(SATPREP)-Activities-As needed to complete whatever program you are using.
  • Language Arts: Grammar Studies D1(GD1)-Activities-As needed to complete whatever program you are using.
  • Language Arts: Literature D1(LIT D1)-Activities: Discussion Question work, Group Discussion, Reading Assignment, Test, Vocabulary Assignments
  • Language Arts: Spelling/Vocab(SPV D1)-Activities: Any that you need to complete whatever program you are using
  • Language Arts: Writing D1(WRIT D1)-Activities: Dictation, In-Class, Writing Assignment
  • Philosophy: History of Philosophy:The Ancient World (WV R1)-Activities; Discussion Questions, Group Discussion, Reading Assignment
  • Social Studies: Geography-Ancient World D1(GEOAWD1)-Activities: Map Work, Narration/Notebook, Projects
  • Theological Studies: Bible Survey/History of the Early Church (CH R1)-Activities: Discussion Questions, Group Discussion, Reading assignment, Test, Time Line Work
  • Theological Studies: Church History-D1 (CH D1)-Activities: Discussion Questions, Group Discussion, Reading Assignment, Time Line Work
Because I wanted the kids to take possession of their year and their work, we sat down and hashed out a schedule for each of them for the week. The kids also were willing to do a half-day on Saturdays which shortens our school year. I then entered this into the Year/Term under the Maintenance tab and LP Schedule under the Teacher Tab. I realized that I had also just cut the 36 weeks down to 34 and then after taking out vacation/holidays 32 weeks. They were willing to combine weeks full up. We really like summer vacation. When doing the LP Schedule, each child had their own color, a color when they were one-on-one with me and a color for group discussion time. I also wanted them to decide how to break up their assignments and schedule to take responsibility for their things, so when posting in the Lesson Planner I do it a little differently.

In the Lesson Planner I first make a separate Lesson Plan for TOG YR1 Rhetoric, TOG YR1 Dialect, Level 7 Writing Aids, Level 9 Writing Aids, I also put separately all of the other subjects by students. This is so that I can re-use A1 plans when A2 gets to 9th grade-less work in two years-yeah. Start entering information.

This is where is gets a little tricky.

I follow my Reading Assignments sheets for that specific week and add the assignments. I make sure the correct lesson plan is listed then choose the Subject, Course, Activity, Resource. Then come the numbers. These are very important. After playing around and messing it up a few times this is what I came up with. I want all of these to post on one day for each week, the day we plan, which happens to be Saturday. This part is done differently for subjects that you plan out for them totally, like I did the Math this year. I will explain that on a different post.

For the sequence number-this will correspond with the week number you are doing for TOG. Mine will look funny after 4, because we are combining week 4 & 5 so I will skip to 6 and go from there.

The order number-this is how it is grouped in the students assignment page, both printed and on your screen. I use the following order numbers to keep things together.
  • Social Studies-0
  • History-1
  • Government-2
  • Literature-3
  • Theology-4
  • Philosophy-5
  • History of Fine Arts-6
  • Writing Aids-7
  • Enrichment-8
The Group Number is where I list what week it is. W1 for week 1 and so on.

I type in the actual reading pages assignment or project assignment if it is short.

Topic is where I type in the Topic of the week we are studing in TOG.

If I have a lot to assign or I am working on the writing schedule, I always put that in the directions box. This prints on the student assignment sheet directly under that assignment and is highlighted in gray.

The # of Days is left at 1 so that it doesn't spread the assignment due date out. This is handled differently for the Math assignments that I did.

I found it easier to submit the assignments a week at a time because I could select the whole view and submit at once. I do allow for reschedule. So far I have up to weeks 4 & 5, our combined weeks entered.

When submitting, I select what I want to submit. Remember you can use shift or control to select more than one assignment at a time. Click on the submit button. Select the date you want the assignment to show on the assignment grid. Since our planning day is part of our 1/2 day Saturday schedule I always click on the Saturday date and advance through the year that way. Next you will choose your student for the appropriate lesson plan. On the day options I choose the "use the following days and times" then proceed to click off the check marks for every day except Saturday when we plan. It will pull up all the assignments and you can double check they are correct and click submit. They are now on your students assignment page.

The headings across my student's assignment page are in the following order: Date Given(this is also lifted in area above the bar that runs across the page-it groups things by this so there is not one long list of assignments for you to look through, but you can see what was given for a specific day), Course Title, Activity, Resource, Page/Lesson/Chapter, Topic, Possible Points, Earned Points, Grade, Done, Date Due, Date Completed, Directions.

When you print this page for your students you have a choice of using the Date Given, Date Due, Date Completed, Subject. You can print off then what works best for you. All TOG assignments if entered the way I described should have the same given and due date. The kids take this paper, leaving my planning binder alone so I know where it always is(we sometimes...have problems getting things put back in the correct spot).

As you enter the grades the transcript will form. Your Honors English Class will list out the subjects and will also give the heading of Honors English heading. It looks great!

I am sorry that this is so long, but I wanted to give you as many details as I could. I haven't figured out how to post the pdf files I have saved for examples, when I do I will enter them. The pictures that I took also seemed out of focus and too far away to see anything.

I am excited to help with this for anyone who is wondering how I was able to get this to work together.

Happy planning.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Planning for the New Year

Planning for the new year is underway a lot later than I had planned, but apparently with the events that came up, this was God's timing for it. I have gotten wonderful ideas and support from the wonderful ladies at our TOG support list. Not just for planning, but for laughter to my day.

My perfectionist tendencies were rearing their ugly head. I had envisioned all study questions reformatted and printed out. Cool covers made using my scrap booking items and all items put together ready to hand out. Now with school starting in 6 weeks I won't have time to do all that I had envisioned. God's way of taming me was the time factor and a sweet lady from my support group with a different way of making the workbooks. Her last statement was BE FREE. It was a breath of fresh air. Now instead I am using my page protected questions placed in their 3 ring binders with paper behind to write notes on. When I asked A2 if that was okay, because of course in my excitement I had said I would make him a workbook where it would be reformatted and done up cool, he was so sweet. He said, "Sure Mom, besides the time you said you would now save, which isn't as big a deal as all the paper you'll save and the ink." Bless his sweet heart. We have been reading a lot of books this summer on going green. Something we are finding that we do fairly well at anyway. A1 wasn't apprised of the new format because her work was going to be done this way anyway for her high school(Rhetoric level for classic home schoolers).

I have been working slowly but surely on getting HST + figured out and planning done there so that A1 will have a beautiful transcript for college. I haven't put in any fake grades yet to test the transcript option, but when I finish a section of a few assignments I will. If that isn't it then I will head back to the drawing board. The Math for both kids is all in and planned out with the topics typed. Our resource list is entered for the first 9 week unit of Year 1 with Tapestry of Grace.

I am in the process of getting them on my blog roll so you can meet these awesome ladies and see how sweet they are. Currently on my blog roll is my dear, sweet, crazy friend who happens to be my awesome, crazy Christian yoga teacher. We have a wonderful time in devotions before each class and she is awesome at tying our devotions into what we are doing for the day. We know when she prays for us to have a really fun time with our class today we are in deep trouble and probably going to be tired and sore the next day.

Have a great day everyone and thanks for seeing what lessons we are learning today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How We Started on Our Home School Journey

It has always been there, in the back of our minds, home schooling. From the time A1 was little and getting ready to start kindergarten she had asked even then. I just thought that we would clash too much as we are so much a like, top that with her strong will, building our "Barn", a 3 year-old A2, my part-time job and it just wasn't a good time.

Flash forward about 4-5 years. The question was asked again by A1. We prayed some more, did some research and still felt it wasn't the right time for us to do this.

Flash forward to January 2006 and you would find us busy with life as usual. My husband was in Hawaii for his job, the kids were dealing with school and situations there that were not the best(think bullying and fighting back), volleyball and swimming. I was holding down the fort and running everyone to their designated places.

As I prepared our tax return for the year I was very pleasantly surprised to see we were getting back a very nice amount. Visions of finally finishing the kitchen the way we wanted to were solidifying in my head and the process to put this into place was underway after checking the return twice.

God, however, had other plans for that return that I had no idea about. As the end of February came to a close a very dear friend of mine from work died. While reeling from that loss, a week later I was let go from my job as an orthodontic tech of 9 1/2 years due to "scheduling changes". I had never been "let go" from any job in my 39 years. It was quite a shock after it sank in.

My life verse has been Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will set your paths straight." I now knew what that extra money was for. I will not say that through the following months that I was perfect about "acknowledging Him" and that my faith was rock solid every day. There were some days of questions and doubt, but He has been faithful and kept us on the right path despite my short comings. We serve an awesome God.

We quickly stopped the kitchen plans, filed for unemployment-that in and of itself is so hard, finished out the school year with the kids. As summer advanced and thoughts of school would cross the kids minds and ours, they asked quite a few times about home schooling. Andy and I set down and prayed and talked about it. We had pretty well decided that this is the way we were headed by the 2nd week in August, but thought we would ask the kids.

A1 responded that she could get done with school earlier and get her law degree before turning 30 and be one her journey to the ultimate goal of Supreme Court. On days where she was being every bit 14 and strong-willed, I wasn't sure if she would live to make it to college, but when she does she will be an awesome attorney and judge however far God takes her. She wanted me to check on two things first. One the college she wanted to attend for graduate and undergraduate work to be sure she could still get in-no problem. Second she wanted to play volleyball-enter local home school volleyball team. She is all in.

A2 responded in a totally boy fashion who is tired of being bullied and picked on for too many years. He said he would be able to eat whenever he wanted and no one would pick on him any more.

So 4 days before having to register for the new school year, we went in and pulled the kids out. I had immediately order Math and we stopped at a book fair for a text book type curriculum that was in town the same day we were leaving for vacation.

The rest they say is history.

God took awesome care of us. The kids learned a lot. A2 skipped a grade coming home and A1 picked up some things she said that she didn't get at public school. Best of all they learned and are continuing to learn to get along and enjoy each other.

God has sent us down a different path this fall for school-all new curriculum and schedules. I hope you will join us as we learn His story through History using Tapestry of Grace.