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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Homeschool Planning - part two

3 ways to plan for order in YOUR homeschool:
a 3-part series :) 
{part two}

photo by typofi @
photo by typofi
For our family, and for me as their teacher planning ahead makes all the difference in how smoothly our school days go.  When we all know what is happening and what is about to happen, everything goes MUCH better.

In the last post I wrote about how having a regular HPD (Homeschool Planning Day) throughout the year seriously eases the amount of brain strain on mom.  The yearly planning days are like getting your plates up and spinning.  The weekly preview planning is what you do to keep those plates spinning!

For me, the whole weekly planning is really just a preview.  To have a preview, I have to have a plan already worked out to view!  So, this is very dependent on having my schedule and all the assignments already worked out during my regular HPDs.  Many however, don't have really detailed plans, that's okay too!  A weekly plan ahead time can still avail much! It will just involve more time each week to plan out assignments and gather materials.  (See notes below)

After you've had your homeschool planning day:
In order to have a really productive WPD, you'll need to have the following:
  1. A plan of some sort of what you're kids will be learning the coming week.  (AO has all the readings for each year broken up into weekly reading assignments - HERE is the schedule for Year 5.  This is what I base my plans on.)  I print off a weekly sheet that has all the kids' assignments for the week plotted out. See a sample of this here.
Once you have a plan broken up into weekly segments, WPD is a breeze: only 15-30 minutes a week.
  1. Look over the subjects that need some extra help, or supplies to be used...  For me this includes:
  • MEP math (make sure I have all the pages printed and manipulatives gathered)... in this case when one of my kids is struggling, it really helps to look over the lesson ahead and figure out how I'm going to explain something.
  • Astronomy (check to make sure I have all the project materials within easy reach)
  • Backyard Scientist (gather this week's experiment stuff)
  • Book of Centuries (make sure all the timeline figures are printed off and ready)
  1. Gather up the materials (or make a list to be bought the next day).
  2. Pray about the coming week (this is an excellent moment to put this on your schedule)  Pray for character issues, academic struggle areas and for your own attitude.

If you haven't had an opportunity to have a homeschool planning day, but you still want to have a weekly plan, here are a few suggestions that might help you:
  1. Make a list of all the subjects you'd like to have your kids cover in a week.  Include everything you can think of, starting with the main subjects.
  2. Determine how much time each thing should take & then break each subject into daily bite-size chunks keeping in mind the age of your kids.  
  3. OR determine first how much time each day you will spend on a subject and THEN plot out how much you expect you can cover...
  4. Print off a checklist so your kids can check off their daily assignments.
Now, as is normal, we have days when things do NOT go according to plan or schedule no matter how much we'd like them to.  That's OKAY!  There are actually weeks that we are off schedule sometimes.  If we get all down or stressed about it, we'll never get back to an orderly state.  The schedule is there to serve us.  Not for us to serve the schedule.  For helter-skelter days (or weeks), I've put together a daily list of things that I want to accomplish each day.  See the sample HERE.  That way, I can see which things I most want to accomplish in the time available quite apart from the disrupted schedule.
    So, did any of this strike a chord with you?  How do you plan?  Did you learn anything helpful?  Do you have any tips I ought to add in here?  Please leave a comment!

    Posts in this series:

    1. Yearly Homeschool Planning Day(s) - part one
    2. Weekly Planning - part two... You are here :)
    3. Yearly Book Ordering - last post

    (photo of spinning plates courtesy of, online coloring sheet site)

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