Thursday, January 04, 2007

To Plan or Not to Plan

I was inspired by a post over at Dawn's place recently... to set up a filing system and use it to plan out the year ahead.
Of course, inspiration is one thing, actually doing it, is quite another.
See... I like to plan, but I don't always know where to begin.
But then you see a post like this one, and you wonder HOW someone got to be so organised!
So I started out with the basics. I told DH that I needed a filing system. Now I was envisioning something like Dawn's plastic box when I did this, but we ended up with a filing cabinet as DH ALSO wanted to set up a filing system.
So in went the hanging files, organised by month.
Into each file went about 4 folders, and into the folders will go the little tips and tricks I pull off of the web and print out (in their respective monthly areas!).
And then I got stuck. How do I get from there to Dawn's bulletin board? And what *is* the bulletin board anyway?
So off I go to ask the trusty ladies of the 4 Real Message Boards. Surely they will know?
Back in my corner, I sit and think about planning.
I have planned things out before, but it never really goes according to plan. See... there is this thing called my SON, who likes to throw a spanner in the works, a wrench in all my plans.
You see, I might plan out a nice long visit with the Romans, while DS decides that the only Roman worth knowing is Julius Caesar, and that Asterix is a much better alternative. O.K. The Asterix was my fault... I introduced him to it!
Then it comes to me... perhaps if I plan SMALL, it will help. So, I start with a checklist... this is what I will plan each week.

Homeschool Planner Guide


Sit down with calendar and note important dates:

  • Saints
  • Composers
  • Artists
  • Poets
  • Authors
  • Presidents


Special dates (2 weeks ahead to order any library books)

English Literature Stories to Read
Read Alouds
Daily poems and memory Poem
Artist Study Picture
Composer Study Selection

Science Project
History/Geography Project/Craft
Bible Pages and Related Craft
English literature pages and related Craft
Copywork for the week

Latin Lesson
Math Lesson
Copywork for the week
Maps/Colouring Pages
Memory Poem
Weekly Poems to Read Aloud

Artist and Composer Study Stuff
Relevant Library Books

Library books 2 weeks in advance.

Simple enough, right? A small list that will help me plan weekly... that way I can keep on top of the changes that occur almost WHEN they occur. If, for instance, we have a tough week and don't get all the math planned done, then I can adapt this way.

Next, I make a list of WHAT to plan:

2 pages per day

1 lesson per week

1 Bible verse per week
Part of the Memory Poem for the week.

1 Fairy (or tall) tale
1 Narration
1 Craft

HISTORY: (American and English/World)
1 Chapter from Book
1 Narration
1 Craft
Notes in Chronology book (also re: art and music)
Follow Up Books

3 Pages from the Hunt Book
1 Narration from Hunt
1 Bible Story from Golden
1 Narration/Craft

Feeder, Tree or Square observations daily
Nature journal- record observations, weather, drawing weekly

Study Picture
Craft related to picture
Read about Artist
Change Picture every 6 weeks.

Listen to music selection
Craft related to music/composer
Read about composer
Change Music every 2-4 weeks

1-2 Chapters of Living Geography Books
Mapwork for history/living geography/music/art

Read about saints whose anniversaries occur this week.
Activity or food related to feast/holiday

So far, so good. And then I implement the whole deal.
Actually, it went surprisingly well... I had to make changes, of course, it wouldn't be real life if I didn't... instead of the Little Mermaid story I had planned, I ended up reading the Steadfast Tin Soldier... our 20 minute mathematics lesson morphed into an hour :o

As ever, the 4real ladies came through... with ideas, suggestions and explanations of their own methods... of which I will shamelessly steal ideas ;)!!

I DO have a daily 'timetable' or schedule, which I try to stick to. Most days it works as written. Then there are days, like today, when I adapt... I got everything accomplished, but not in the time I wanted it done... apparently the view out of the window is FAR more interesting than mathematics!

The schedule is simple... lessons 20 minutes long, except for the 'focus' lesson of the day. It is very similar to my 'start of term' schedule, just simplified and rearranged a little!

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