When I started homeschooling, I set up an excel file with pages devoted to a few topics:
- My overall 12 year plan
- Year Overviews for each grade
- A Price Guide for each grade
My 12 year plan is fairly vague. I wrote down a general idea of what I want to cover in each subject each year, and what currculia I plan to use. This is based largely on what is presented in the Well Trained Mind. As I am exposed to other curriculia, I frequently go back into this file and change my plan, or add suggestions for things to check out when I get closer to that age. Having this general plan gives me conifdence in where I am headed and a little assurance that I am not going to forget anything.
On the year overviews, I have a column for each subject and have planned them out by week. I list the week number, what I plan to cover in each subject (i.e. Bible lessons 12-16, Math lessons 32-36, etc.) I also schedule our breaks on this chart. Then I print it out and put it in a page protector in my teacher notebook. I love to plan on the computer, but it is easier to keep track on paper. Each week, I highlight what we got done. This way, if we get ahead or behind, I go back into Excel, update the sheet and reprint.
I don’t worry about finishing a workbook or unit each year. For example, the Bible study we are doing is 104 lessons long and we are about to finish it. Even though I don’t plan to start Kindergarten till August, when we finish, I will just start up with Unit 2, since this is a subject I plan to do year round. So on our math schedule, we will end up doing just a little bit more than one grade level each year, since I plan to school for 44 weeks total instead of 36, which is what curriculum is generally written for. I think this gives me a little bit more freedom too, to take a week off if we need to.
I plan a four day schedule (Friday is reserved for field trips), schooling 36 weeks each “school year” and 8 weeks of “summer school.” This gives us 8 weeks off each year. I eventually plan to use Tapestry of Grace, which is divided into four quarters, each nine weeks long, so that is what I used as a basis for my weekly schedule. In between each quarter, I plan to take a week off for planning, and then take two weeks at the beginning of the summer and two weeks at the end. We also plan to do quite a bit of traveling while we are in Japan, so I may move those summer weeks around if I need to.
As far as our summer school is concerned, I plan to continue to do bible, math, and phonics (the basics) because I think reviewing at the beginning of the school year is kind of a waste of time. I really believe in year round school because I think students forget too much over the summer that has to be retaught in the fall. It is something I witnessed as a teacher and was the basis for my Master’s thesis. (And now I’ll climb off my soapbox and get back to the topic at hand…) The rest of our summer studies will be delight directed, probably unit studies that I will plan based on what Madison is interested in.
The other page in my excel file is a price guide. When I decide what curriculum I want to use, I add it to this list with the price as well as where I found it the cheapest. Then when I am ready to order, I just go down my list and buy it all at the same time. I also add other supplies I think we will need for the next school year, like oil pastels, board games, etc, and also memberships I want to purchase (like to the zoo or the aquarium). Then I have a comprehensive list to present to my husband. One thing I do think I will do for next year is add a homeschooling section to my budget so that when we run out of printer ink, finish an ETC book before the end of the school year and want to buy the next one, go on field trips, etc, I will have the money set aside to do that.
During the actual school year on a day to day basis, I use a weekly lesson plan book (the same as I used when I taught). This is where I write down what I plan to do each day in each subject and check it off when we have finished it. I have decided not to write out my schedule more than two weeks in advance because things can change. When I started using this book, I wrote out a schedule for nine weeks, then we got a little behind on reading lessons, and that is really annoying. I don’t want to rewrite everything, but I don’t like having to flip back a week to see what we should be doing for reading lessons. I guess I have learned my lesson. I plan to purchase a new one of these books each year.
In the front of the book, I have converted one of the grid sheets into an attendance chart by month where I record days we have school, field trips, and when we are out of town, as well as “professional education” days for me. I keep a running total of days we have had school on this chart.
So that is probably a good overview of how I plan. Hopefully it makes sense… I am sure the longer we homeschool, I more I will refine this process until it is a well oiled machine, but for now, I am very pleased with the system I have.
This post is part of a meme at Heart of the Matter Online. To read more posts about how to schedule, visit this link!