Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Organization Tool - Spreadsheets!

I'm so pleased with this tool. Just using slash marks I can track what we've done and what we need to do at a glance without worrying about rescheduling my lesson plans if we're off a week or two in a subject. Click on the link to see it bigger.

2011-2012 Assignments Example

How I use it: Each row is a week of school. I include a row for vacation / holiday time. In the date column, I'm also tracking what weeks we have Monday co-ops (orange=co-op). Theoretically I have 36 rows. Each column is a subject. "Seton" is this child's grammar book. I decided that I'd like her to do 5 pages per week. So I list the lesson numbers.

As she completes a lesson, I put a slash mark through it (mine are diagonal -- yours can be any direction you like). So, if she/we get the flu and we're off for 2 weeks, I know right where we left off. In a workbook it doesn't seem like I'd need this kind of tracking, but it also keeps me accountable for grading (it's happened that in March I think "it's been a while since I've graded grammar" and I pick up the book to realize I haven't graded since October, so I have no idea what she's learned and what she hasn't. I usually make up for it in the final months of school cramming what she missed *blech*.)

Math-U-See is done at the child's pace, so, as she completes a worksheet, I put a slash through a, b, c, d, e, f (the numbering for the worksheets in that chapter). When she get 100% on a worksheet (a-f) she can move onto the test, so I circle the (T). Once she passes the test, I put a slash through (T) and move onto the next chapter. It doesn't matter which week we're actually in when they get to an assignment. For example, we could be in week 5 by the date, but she could be working on chapter 7 in Math. It's a math curriculum for mastery, so she may stay on one chapter for a month and cruise through others.

I can also see at a glance if we've accidentally skipped spelling for 2 weeks when I thought it had only been a week while we caught up in science. The form itself reminds me that at the beginning of the year I really wanted her to write a paper per week in either history or literature and now that her wrist is healed, 6 weeks later, it's time to get back to it.

With this system I can daily track math and grammar while I only need to test on Vocabulary weekly. When something is strung out over multiple weeks (like history units), I can accommodate that. At the end of the year I can see what we skipped from my original plan and decide that summer fun is more important, or I'm desperate to read that literature book to them.

If I wanted to make it a page longer, I could add blank rows under each week and track grades with this sheet.

I developed this originally for my high schooler, but I keep a copy and give one to each child in 6th grade on up so they can fill out their student planner.

It doesn't seem like brain surgery -- but this has been GREAT for me! I've made them for 2 other families this fall. (it's too fun to keep to yourself!) You might have to make yourself a legend so you remember what your own abbreviations mean, but .... that's O.K.

(Did everyone know about a tool like this all these years and just not TELL me???)


  1. Great organization tip! I always love charts! Hope all is well with you and your family. I just nominated your blog for the Stylish Blogger Award. See my blog entry October 10 for details on accepting. God bless you! Alecia

  2. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. This looks awesome. I tried to download it to use as a template.
    It seems one has to join "Squib" or "Squid"?
    I tried to do that but it everything just disappeared.
    Is it just a regular excel doc and you use slash marks (or strike-throughs)?

    1. Yes! I've also been putting a color (like dark grey) behind as we progress. You can either put slash marks on the paper you printed out or in the digital document!