If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent way too much time trying to make digital homeschool planners work for you, when they just don’t!
That’s why I created the Easiest Homeschool Record System Ever that you can easily customize for your kids. I still think it’s a great way to keep homeschool records. But something happened that made me create a form that I think is even more MOTIVATING for kids (and for parent teachers, too).
I call it the Quarter Checklist, but you may call it a lifesaver!
Here’s how I came up with the idea. We were nearing the end of the school year. Some of my kids were behind in some subjects and were close to being finished with others. I really wanted them to be done with their independent work before we went on our family vacation. So I asked them what lesson they were on in each subject. I then made them a checklist of lessons to complete to be done with the school year. Here’s what happened.
- My daughter became obsessed with finishing her school work, even begging to stay home from scrapbooking so she could work.
- My son began working through multiple math lessons a day.
- My older son spent hours finishing up his history reading.
All without any nagging on my part! That’s when I got to thinking.
How could I motivate the kids to work this way all year long?
I thought about what made that list so effective and here’s what I realized:
- It was a closed list. My kids knew that if they finished the list, they didn’t have to keep working.
- It was a short list. Unlike the list in their regular planners, the list seemed very doable.
- It offered a reward. Not only were we going on vacation when they finished, but the kids worked for the reward of having free time.
- I could do this during the school year too!
So I created a school quarter checklist for next school year.
The great news is I created one for you, too. Here’s how it works:
Make a list of each subject your child will do independently. Label one column with that subject. For example LOF for Life of Fred Math. You may need more than one sheet per child, depending on the number of subjects. If you end up with multiple sheets, note the page numbers at the top of the forms. Don’t have something next to each checkbox? Even better! Your child will feel like they have very little to do!
For each subject, determine how many total lessons s/he will complete in a year. Divide that number by four.
List the lesson or page numbers for the first quarter next to each check box on the form. If your children’s handwriting is neat enough, you can have them complete these forms themselves. If that isn’t a sanity saver! (If you run out of room for that subject, circle NEXT PAGE; otherwise circle YOU’RE DONE!)
Write the date the quarter officially ends in front of the year and plan a reward. We love to go out for breakfast. If your student finishes before that date, s/he enjoys the reward of no independent work (even if family subjects and classes continue through the quarter).
Store your completed checklists on clipboards. There’s something about a clipboard that’s so motivating! I love these Dexas clipboard cases that have space for notebooks and pencils and have a carrying handle. Don’t you? There is a color for every student.
Even if your child has multiple pages to work with, the perception will be that their lessons are very, very doable! Because that’s the case, your student is likely to be extra motivated. One tip: only plan one quarter at a time. Life happens!
How to Use the Quarter Checklist as a Teacher
I know I’m not the only one who gets discouraged when I get behind on my school plans. Using the Quarter Checklist, I think I can not only stay on schedule, but even get ahead. Here’s why:
The kids will be motivated to move through lessons quickly so we can get done with ALL of our schooling ahead of schedule.
I will be motivated to finish all the lessons because I’m working with a closed list.
I can use the form to show them how we’re doing after taking a sick day or free day to motivate them to spend extra time with me on subject.