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Posts Tagged ‘lesson plans’

Na No Wri Mo

October 25th, 2012

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Do you have an inner novelist just bursting to get out?

Or do you live with a hidden novelist?

November has become the National Novel Writing Month, and now is the time to let that little novelist out of hiding.

Here’s the original site for Na No Wri Mo (geared toward adults)

And, they have the event targeted toward kids in elementary school to high school as well.

This would fit in well with your homeschool curriculum and is perfect for this time of year before life gets nuts with the holidays, but fall sports have wrapped up and you need something to look forward to working on indoors with a hot cup of tea and fuzzy slippers.

The kids’ site has tons of resources and downloadable ebooks that will walk your kids through the process of writing their own novel in 30 days.

There’s information for educators, lesson plans, badges, forums, and tons of other cool stuff to get you motivated and help writers not throw in the towel half way through.

I have heard from many that gave it a try and couldn’t believe how many thousands of words their kids could write in a month when they just let the words fly and didn’t worry about anything but getting the story out. This year, we are going to give it a shot, at least some of us. Maybe even me. We’ll see.

Any Na No Wri Mo veterans out there? Anyone with a novel burning to get out?

Less than a week until the event begins, so now is the time to start thinking about where you are headed, dreaming up characters, and sketching some possible plots. Or, just wait until November 1 and just open your computer and see where your fingers lead you. Either way sign up so you can tally your wordcount and even if you don’t write a great novel, you can finish and say you did it.

Check out all their details and get ready to write.

Na No Wri Mo Young Writers Program: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/

Works for me Wednesday — Homeschool Tracker

February 7th, 2012

This year with the advent of high school for my oldest I really needed a method to keep  better track of, well, everything. Grades, attendance, transcripts, course materials, book lists, etc.

During the summer I got really serious about finding a workable method for record keeping and what I found was exactly what I needed, in Homeschool Tracker.

We first downloaded the free version to make sure that I liked it. Played with that for about 6 weeks of summer school and I knew it was a keeper, so we jumped in and bought the full version, and now I tell everyone I meet about my new brain.

Why I love it so much:

- Does way more than I ever need it to do. This is a good thing. Because, some day I might just get the urge to put all my homeschool books in one list or write out detailed lesson plans or have a weighted grading scale. But, for now, I can pick and choose the features that I choose to use, and the rest just sit there quietly until I decide to use them or not.

- Prepares my assignment sheets for me. At the beginning of the school year and again over Christmas break I put in a bunch of hours logging all their assignments for the months ahead. Yes, that was a monumental task. Think 5 kids times about 7 subjects each times about 200 days of school. Yeah, a little crazy, but the program makes it as easy as possible. Now, all I do is select all the students and print out the sheets two weeks at a time. I could print the whole year, but I like to do a couple at a time because invariably I change something over the course of a week or two and I would hate to have to hand-write all those changes. Each weekend, or Monday morning depending on how things go, I print out everyone’s sheets, punch holes in them and they put them in their binders. Then, as I come around to work with them individually we pull out the binder and know exactly what needs to get done today and all week.

- Easy to reschedule. Life happens, sometimes a little too often. Kids get sick, relatives drop in, an assignment takes longer than anticipated, a concept needs extra teaching, kids fly through what you thought would take a week, books get lost, and sometimes the teacher gets sick. With a few clicks you can reschedule all assignments for all the kids or pick and choose what subjects and what kids need some rescheduling.

- Grades are figured automatically. All I needed to do was each week spend about 20 minutes (for all 5 kids, if you have fewer in school this would be even quicker, it takes me less than 5 minutes per kid) putting in their grades for the week and I have report cards ready made at the end of each quarter to go get their rewards from Chuck E Cheese.

- Not just about grades. As I mentioned this program does way more, and you can use any or all of the following features: track attendance, keep a reading log, record assignments and grades, write lesson plans, track goals, record school info, catalog your home library,  and print reports for any or all of those things.

This program has surpassed my expectations for a record keeping program and made it so painless. Yes, it took a little bit to get the hang of it, but they have an online forum on their site that can answer all of your questions and then some. I also made some silly mistakes while learning and spent extra time fixing said mistakes and getting back on track. But, now it is such a huge time saver and I have all their records in one place, saved and backed up every five days without another thought.

Why you should definitely try the free demo first:

- I will readily admit, there is a huge learning curve with this one. There are so many features, and it is a little old school in its on screen presentation, but it can do anything you want it to, you just need to learn how to work it.

- I’m sure it’s not for everyone. Although for me it was love at first download, it might not float your boat. So, check it out, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. It is amazing!

I can’t say enough about how much I have enjoyed using Homeschool Tracker Plus. I am thrilled to pieces with this program.  You can check out the basic edition for free, and you can try the plus edition for $5 for 30 days. If you do decide to buy, pleas use my referral code: U33EH and I’ll get a little bonus for referring you. :) Hope it is a help to you as much as it was for me.

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