Saturday, March 22, 2014

Work Plans and Journals, Part 3 - Accountability

*This is being posted a little later than expected! There has been so much going on here, and I have a handful of posts just floating around in my head and in draft, and will be spending some time catching up on what we have been doing!

                         Accountability and Work Journals

I knew that when we began to use work journals, there would come a day when more accountability with the older three would need to be put in place. *In my opinion* it isn't enough to just expect them to get everything done you want them to do every day, when sometimes, that just won't happen. There needs to be some underlying direction to make sure that the necessary basics get completed each day/week. After about a week of getting good practice recording their work in the journals, I brought BACK the small pocket chart I had planned on using, but am using it in a different way. 

Not to continually repeat myself all the time, but I must lead back to the articles that Jessica from Montessori Trails and Montessori Nuggets has written on work plans. In particular, in this case it was one she wrote on teaching the elementary child to do research at home. She says that the language used throughout the day, and your child's life, is very important in teaching them - it almost takes on an 'unschooling' approach. She speaks of using the correct vocabulary and conversation to teach all throughout the day. I decided to use a different vocabulary with the pocket chart, and a different approach to using it. One at a time, I sat with LM, Hoss, and Miss Priss and we went over our *Expectations*. I explained that I have expectations for their week. Example: I told Miss Priss I expect her to do a Math work at least 3 times a week. We only have school four days in the home, and a library day every week which does more than cover plenty of learning. I told her that she needs to decide which days she *expects* her self to do them. That way, she still has the freedom to choose what days she wants to work on them, but also teaches her to be accountable to both me (for the week's work) and herself (the day-to-day work). 

Here is a picture of our pocket chart, where it hangs from small hooks off the mantle in our living room:


There are only five rows, which will be plenty for the five children in our house. Currently we only need three of them for expectation cards. Here is a closer look: 


I  wrote the four school days - Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday - at the top of four blank index cards (4x6 size). Then I just gave them some simple expectations for the week - example: I told Hoss I expected Math three times a week, Grammar three times a week, Cursive handwriting three times, Spelling 3 times, Reading four times, and History two times a week. Then, one at a time, he decided which days he would assign each subject to. I told him that MY expectations were the weekly ones, but his expectations for himself were going to be the daily ones. He was to keep himself accountable for his daily choices, and if he didn't finish his expectations each day, they would automatically be *pre-journaled* for the next day, with a star beside them to show that it was something that needed done from a previous day. Then, if they don't get finished, or if the daily ones for the next day don't, it moves on in the same manner until Friday. By friday, if there are any leftover expectations, they MUST be completed, along with Friday's work. I explained that I expect all work complete by Friday, because I personally prefer to have nothing carry over to a new week. 

This is how we have brought accountability in to our days. I still want to work on showing them to be more specific in their journals, and it may lead to more specific expectation cards in the future, but I think we are on the right track!



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