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Online Homeschool Assignments: 10 Easy Steps to Creating a Week’s Work

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Does creating online homeschool assignments seem overwhelming? I have broken it down to make it simple.

Online Homeschool Assignments
  1. Create guided notes.
    1. Open your textbook to the section you want to cover.
    2. Open a blank document. I use MS Word.
    3. Read through the textbook as if you, a skilled student, were taking notes. Create blank note pages customized to the material, hitting vocabulary, concepts, and diagrams. 
  2. Create a slide deck.
    1. Open up presentation creation software. I use MS PowerPoint. Go through the notes, and make sure that you hit every keyword, concept list, diagram, etc in your presentation. 
    2. Use no more than five words per line, and no more than five lines per slide. 
    3. Use an image on every slide–if every student has the textbook, then you may use images from the textbook. Otherwise, if you charge for your services, you might end up spending some time searching for copyright-free images, or drawing your own. I often use photos I’ve taken for other reasons–a photo of my newborn when discussing reflex behaviors, for example.
  3. Do some research for your lecture notes. You should only spend three minutes on each slide, so make them count. Remember that students can hear and understand lectures far above their reading levels. Do not just copy and paste from the textbook–give them enhanced, detailed information. I have favorite encyclopedias, textbooks grade levels above, professional journal subscriptions, etc.
  4. Create written discussion questions for asynchronous interaction based on key concepts from the notes pages. I make the initial response to me due on Mondays, and responses to two other students due on Wednesdays. 
    1. I use a rubric to grade it (self-totaling, of course, that auto-populates to the gradebook), and I’m harsh. 
    2. Every response requires two parts: 
      1. they must say something in response that’s distinctive enough for me to read it and know what they’re responding to “I also went camping in the Rockies” and 
      2. they have to bring in new information/disagree politely/ask a question “Did you know that the Rockies have an outbreak of Lyme Disease?” 
    3. I also offer curated choices here: they can watch a video, read an online article, or do a small hands-on project. I don’t care which, because it’s mostly about keeping their attention on the class and reviewing concepts. 
  5. Select 4-6 carefully curated videos (always, always watch the whole thing, make sure they’re from reputable sources, etc) and/or websites for extra reinforcement of key concepts from the notes pages for students to watch/read, or not, as they choose.
  6. Designate a sketch to label. If you don’t already have a sketch for your students to label, make one. Use the overarching concept for the week.
  7. Create a weekly assessment. It’s often but not always a short (10 +/- questions) multiple-choice and/or matching quiz based on that week’s concepts from the notes pages. Autograding is your friend here. Google Forms that auto-populate to a spreadsheet are an easy way to do this.
  8. Create a list of weekly assignments. My assignment list looks like this, and the only thing that varies each week is the specific vocabulary, pages to read, and weekly assessment
    1. attend lecture
    2. answer discussion questions
    3. respond to two other students
    4. add vocabulary ____, _____, ____ to your memory work
    5. read the textbook chapter ____, section ______ and take notes using the notes sheet
    6. read pgs. ___ from your other book 
    7. label this week’s sketch
    8. complete the quiz
  9. Create a daily calendar and slot the online homeschool assignments and lecture into them. Typically, the only thing I assign on Fridays is the assessment. No homework over the weekend–they need downtime too, and this way I can grade on the weekend.
  10. Email parents and students about missing assignments, or any failing grades from last week.

1 thought on “Online Homeschool Assignments: 10 Easy Steps to Creating a Week’s Work”

  1. Pingback: Online Homeschool Class Design 101 | Homeschool Boss

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