This is going to be a bit of a random post so bear with me! I’m going to talk about 3 separate things in this post. 1) Our free calendar printable and homeschool planning pages 2) A free end of year questionnaire for students and parents and 3) a random chat about our Homeschool Writing Workshop.
Free Calendar, Homeschool Planning Pages and Homeschool Supply List:
First, as many of you know, I use a 3-ring notebook to keep our life organized. I enjoy making my own calendar pages and have been doing this for ages. I needed to add a few things onto the calendar and added in a couple more months. Below you’ll find our free fall and winter calendar pages. Plus, that file also has a lot of our homeschooling planning pages and our homeschool supply checklist. Feel free to download and print out any pages that will be useful.
End of Year Questionnaire for Students and Parents:
Also, over on FB I was scheduling out some posts and accidentally hit “post” on our end of year questionnaire earlier today. I thought it might be a bit early (being mid-May), but left it up anyway. Much to my surprise, quite a number of people said it was useful… And, since I know quite a number of you don’t use FB, I thought I would post the links here too.
This was a set of reflection questions I made for my kids a couple of years ago. I wanted to know what stood out for them…
- What was their favorite project?
- What was their funniest homeschool moments?
- and questions like that…
You’ll find this FREE printable here: End of Year Student Questionnaire Hope someone can use it!
There is also one that I made for parents —
- what went well?
- what didn’t?
- what supplies we need to top up on before next year, etc.
You’ll find the Parent’s Reflection Questionnaire here:
You might also enjoy this post: Was Your Homeschool Year a Success? 20 Questions to Consider
And if you’re planning for next year, you might enjoy this post: 10 Steps to Take When Planning a New School Year
Hope someone can use these! ~Liesl
Homeschool Writing Workshop
Changing topics–to our homeschool writing workshop. Someone who has been following our blog for quite some time asked:
Are you still doing a homeschool writing workshop? Yes, we are. It still works brilliantly for all three of my kids.
Will I keep doing a writing workshop next year or opt for a more formal writing program? Ouch — tough question!! I just don’t know. I have the Cover Story DVD and book set, but I’m not sure if I will use that or not. I’m on the fence and will have to spend more time this summer thinking (HARD!) about it.
Why? The thing is, for the past two years the Writing Workshop model has been fabulous for our family. My once reluctant writer (my son) now *really* enjoys writing. The kids have more autonomy over what (and how much) they write. And the thing is, my kids often ask to spend *more* time writing because they are so into it.
This year, ED (age 8) wrote some really long stories on the computer. And DD… well she fills notebook after notebook with her writing!
I sort of am leaning towards — if it’s not broken don’t fix it!!
Almost everyone I know (homeschoolers, that is) use IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing). I’m not really tempted by that, but my friends speak highly of it (if you want to look into that for your family).
I also feel like there are some other types of writing we need to work on — research papers and essay writing for one thing. We’ve done a bit each year, but I always worry — are we doing enough?!!! ACK! But as far as creating a love of writing, well our Homeschool Writing Workshop seems to be doing its magic still.
Now, many of you might be scratching your head and saying — WAIT!! What’s this Homeschool Writing Workshop? Where can I find it?!! Don’t rush to google it… the writing workshop is more of a routine and an atmosphere. This post explains really well why it works for us: Writing Workshop Rules!
And I wrote a whole series of posts of how we got started with the writing workshop model, how it transformed writing in our homeschool, creating the writing workshop space… and then I have spent the last couple of years sharing some of the mini-lessons and discussions we’ve had on character, plot, setting, atmosphere, point of view and more. (We use children’s literature for these mini-lessons as we explore these devices.)
I’ll let you pick and choose what seems of interest:
Do you want to learn more about starting your own Homeschool Writing Workshop? Here are some posts that might be of interest:
- Creating a Writing Workshop Post #1 – This is the post that started this giant series (of more than 30 posts!!) off! Why we got started with the Homeschool Writing Workshop
- Creating a Homeschool Writing Workshop – Post #2: Creating a Writing Workshop Area and Materials to Have on Hand
- Creating a Writing Workshop Post #3: This post is about Mini-Lessons during writing time, mentor texts and includes reviews of 8 or 9 writing books that you might find helpful.
- Writing Resource Pack: This is a post about the 30-page pack I made for our writing workshop. Reference pages on the 6 +1 Wri ting Traits, Mini-Lessons, the types of writing, creating a powerful beginning, techniques for ending a story/paper, and so forth. (These writing resources are free to download.)
- Writing Workshop: Dr. Seuss Style: The kids and I had fun writing in the style of Dr. Seuss!
- Biography Research Paper Resource Pack
- Practical Pointers for Working with a Reluctant Writer (or any Writer)
- Writing Activity to Spark Kids’ Imagination!
- 40 Journal Writing Prompts (Free Printable)
- Animal Portfolio Project: writing, art and geography activities that go with any animals… With many activities to choose from. Writing activities include both fiction and non-fiction suggestions such as
- Write a speech or a letter to the president on why your animal needs protection in the wild.
- Menu: Create a humorous menu at a restaurant where your animals would like to eat.
- WWII Portfolio Project
- Writing Workshop: What We’re Doing for Writing this Fall
- Writing Workshop Rules! Why the Writing Workshop continues to work so well in our homeschool.
- Writing Workshop Discussion Questions: Last spring I had the kids think about some fundamental questions about writing and we had a wonderful discussion about writing in general. We went over lots of literary terms like similes, onomatopoeia, allusion, idioms… I go into more detail at that blog post and you can grab the free printable there:
Mini-Lessons to Use in a Writing Workshop:
- What makes a good book or story?
- Make your story come alive with details and description.
- Creating Interesting Characters
- Story Openings: Set the mood or feeling of your story
- Gathering story ideas from your own life
- Alliteration and more
- MiniLesson – Describing in Detai- – Additing Details Exercise - Fun Activity!(Don’t miss this one, the kids LOVED this activity!!)
- Writing Workshop: Conflict in Literature (Man vs. Man, Man vs. Self, etc)
- Writing Workshop Mini-Lesson: Rules for Writing and the Story Writing Process
- Writing Workshop Mini-Lesson: Rules for Writing and the Story Writing Process — Have your kids read the Plot Chicken? We started our Writing Workshop this year off with this book. What a great buk, buk!! In fact, I liked it so much that I created a chicken writing rules printable to go along with the book!
- Writing Scary Stories – A Writing Workshop Mini-Lesson
- Literary Analysis: Using Depth and Complexity Icons with Children’s Literature
See, now wasn’t that a random collection of thoughts for this Sunday evening?!! If you made it to the bottom of this post — well, congratulations! And thank you. I hope you found something of use!