Saturday, January 9, 2010

OneNote Experiment Part I

The week is over and the verdict is in: it was a 50% success rate (yes perceptive reader, I'm trying to think of it as a cup half full!).

First, I realize it's not a good idea to expect any system to work the week after a delightful 2-week holiday LOL, more so when we've been unschooling so much for the past 2-3 months. Second, I fell (again) into the trap of trying to do too much and actually ended up leaving out the one thing we've always had the most success with...reading aloud for literature. Third, I spent too much time tweaking here and there throughout the week for me to even remember what my initial plan looked like! Fourth, I had to decide mid-week to mix up our Math activities with some Singapore Math for extra thinking and problem-solving challenge and that knocked some other stuff askew. Fifth, I tell myself this each time but still forget...I must not try to fix what's not broken.

What is still clear is that the One Note platform clearly works better for us than using a cart or files or folders or anything else. All assigned texts are stowed away in a single drawer and can be accessed easily at any time. And the screen offers the both of us a very clear view of what's next and gives DS more control over what he wants to do.

We had a much better Thursday and Friday. Monday was close to disastrous. Tuesday was here and there. So thinking back about what I might have done right for Thursday and Friday, here's the plan for next week:

Latest look (passwords blacked out)
  1. No more individual pages for Monday, Tuesday, etc. Everything is on one page.

  2. I've decided to put the time slots back in but with lots of wiggle room. For e.g. even if we do something for only 20 minutes, I've planned it as a 30-minute slot. It feels a lot more relaxed.

  3. I've designed boxes of the same color for the resource that best fits a particular time slot. So for example, if I need to switch Singapore Math with another resource for the morning, it's an easy copy and paste and quick resize from Powerpoint.
  4. I've not cut down on what's assigned but have inserted more choice. Kiddo, for e.g., may choose Latin over EPGY Math if that's what he feels like doing at the moment. But he is still visually made aware that EPGY Math is due that week.
  5. We're done for the day by 1.30pm (in theory anyway) so that we have at least a half hour to get outdoors or do something active in the garage and then, he has the entire rest of the day free 3 days a week. And partially free on the one day that he has music and martial arts.
  6. For days when things are particularly going badly, there's a menu of fun activities to choose from at the bottom of the schedule.
Here's hoping for a more positive Part II :)


  1. I like the column headings that give room for choice. I've been reading your posts for a while, always enjoyable.

    I also seem to mix scheduled learning with periods of unschooling, and am still trying to be comfortable with my own eclectic style, when many people around me seem more polarised one way or the other. Bits of each seem right to me.

    I wonder how you came to decide on your current balance of methods?

    Thanks. Maybe I'll try and write a post to work through an answer to this for myself too.

  2. I'll be watching how you use OneNote with interest. I'm still quite happy that unschooling suits us at this point in time, but its always good to see what else can be done.

  3. Hi Butterfly! Thanks for your comment! That was sweet! I headed over to your place just now...what a nice blog you have!

    Well I wouldn't say I've achieved any balance yet...things are always ebbing and flowing around here. Lots of trial and error and trying not to feel guilty about pulling from SOoooo many resources helps me stay a little more sane, I guess :)

  4. Hey Kerrie! I'm in my beginning of the semester mode right now...just you wait till the semester ends, I have a feeling One Note will be happily forgotten by then LOL. But on a happy 'note', we did have some success today (Day One of Experiment Week Part 2)


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