Monday, June 30, 2008

Individualized Home Instruction Plan

So I help to lead a homeschool group, but I had a panic moment a few days ago. My quarterly report for my girls was due, oh, right then, and my letter of intent (letting the school district know I plan to do this again next year) was due in a few days, and I had nothing ready. We had done the school work, no problems there, but the record keeping and reporting was another matter. I dragged out the calendar and lists and got things together relatively quickly, phew!! And then, well, I was in the zone, so I dragged out stuff for next year too. In New York state we have to hand in an IHIP (Individualized Home Instruction Plan) each year by August 15th, after we send it that letter of intent (July 1st), summarizing our plan for the next academic year, sort of a syllabus for each child you are homeschooling. You have to list off the required subjects and then how each one will be addressed. Luckily my girls are only two years apart, so we are able to do a few subjects together, Bible (we use Calvary Chapel’s free through the Bible curriculum), History (we use Ambleside Online’s free booklists), and Science (we like Apologia but are doing science as part of a co-op this year). We also do Literature together (sounds good, but it just really means we sit and read good books as a family). Even though I am personally anti-workbook, the kids like ‘em, so they have workbooks for Math and Language Arts (we use Alpha Omega for both). Besides that all, we fill in the blanks with field trips, reading, educational stuff from TV, and a few other co-op classes. Done!!!

I’ve mentioned to people before that this part of the homeschooling deal isn’t too bad – I enjoy planning it out and even teaching it all. The tricky part for me is the day in and day out living life right in front of and with your kids. It’s a good thing, but a hard thing. Because you are together so much, well, you can drive each other a bit batty. And it’s easy to get caught up in the lists of to-do’s and forget why it is that you’re doing this. It’s easy to neglect character development for the times table, and how goofy is that?!? So perhaps this year I need to write an IHIP for myself, and leave spots for me to back up, slow down and refocus, to make sure that I’m not getting off track. Not a bad plan :).

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