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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Homeschool Planning - Part one

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

photo by typofi @
original photo by typofi

3. Yearly Book Ordering - last post

Peace and order are some of my key words for 2010! In that mindset let's talk about planning for peace and order in the homeschool. Making time to schedule the above occasions to plan, has made planning not only a breeze but a real JOY instead of a constant sense of worry or guilt.  Surely you know what I mean by worry and guilt?  The worry that I'm not doing enough and the guilt of knowing that I haven't done things as well as I could have?

Taking at least one day a year to really plan has totally revolutionized my feeling about homeschool (If I can, I'll gladly use 3 days! 1 HPD per term*).  It helps SO much to get the majority of things worked out ahead of time so that I don't have a huge list of unfinished and undefined tasks hanging over my head.  Separate time a couple of weeks before the new school year will begin (or whenever it happens to be best for you) to complete the following steps or obviously adjust them to fit your personal needs.

Step One:  Brainstorm a list of all the homeschooling areas that need attention.
  1. Subjects I'd like to introduce into our homeschool that we've never done before
  2. Areas that I want to improve
  3. Curriculum that has got to go and will need a replacement.
  4. Behavior issues
  5. Plan for Preschoolers
  6. Scheduling issues
  7. Etc, etc.
Step Two: The hard part.
Figure out how to make a homeschool planning day a reality.  Things do not run well without you, but you can let things slide for a day or two while you get things oiled and primed for the year.  When can you get away and who can help?  A weekend when dad's home?  A babysitter?  Grandma?  Plan for a WHOLE day out.  Either that, or 2-3 mornings in a row... You'll need it!  Whether it's the coffee or the actual planning time... :)

Step Three: Gather your materials.
For instance one HPD, I needed to hash out my home schedule, so I needed my brainstorm sheets and my laptop.  This last HPD, I actually needed to plot out the weekly readings from the books on the booklist and for a couple substitutions I'd made, so I took the actual books with me (it was a big and heavy bag!).  I also needed to work out this term's composer study so I took a couple CDs to browse through... but, you get the point.

Step Four: Go
Decide ahead of time to be ultra-efficient.  Don't get distracted!  Do the things on your list in order of priority.  Don't call home, and if you have to sneak back for something, do NOT get caught! (I recommend eating out even though it costs more... it is more efficient use of time and in future years you can budget this meal into the yearly homeschool budget.)  Don't go home unless absolutely necessary!

photo by lusi @
photo by lusi

Some planning forms: These help me immensely, and are just to give you an idea of perhaps where you'd like to begin

Teacher Planning (pdf) - This is basically an outline of planning steps I take for each school year.
Daily List (pdf) - This list outlines what subjects are covered each day.  This is vital for those days that we are totally running helter-skelter and can't get back to the schedule.  This helps me reorientate in order to get everything done.
Week 15 (pdf) - This is last week's schedule/list of individual assignments for each day.  Each boy now gets a copy of this as they are becoming more responsible for their own studies.  This is my big task on my homeschool planning days to get this detailed schedule worked out.  One day a term of planning and it's pretty much ALL done for 3 months.  This is my homeschool brain... I've finally gotten it down to a fine science**.

*Ambleside Online is a FREE online curriculum guide, based on Charlotte Mason's methods and philosophy as outlined in her Original Homeschooling Series.  Learning is based on a balanced view of education, using hands-on life experience and observation, living books when a real-life experience can't be provided and including such enriching subjects as nature study, artist & composer studies, foreign language (learned to actually be spoken). Download an informational brochure here.

The AO schoolyear is separated into 3 terms, Term 1: Sept-Nov, Term 2: Jan-March, Term 3 April-June.  However, this information is to be taken as a loose guide as many have differing starting dates or as in our case, school year round.  However, the Artist & Composer, Nature, Folksong, and Hymn studies are all scheduled according to the terms, for those of us who enjoy the camaraderie of learning along with other AOers and sharing resources.  Also, handy-dandy schedules are available that split up the booklist readings into terms of 12 weeks, for a grand total of 36 weeks/school year.  This is what I refer to as 'Term' in my blog, materials, etc.

**If a post on how to schedule would be helpful, please let me know.  I'm assuming anyone who reads this blog (anyone?) already would have some idea of scheduling.  But, I didn't know anything before I knew it... so you never know ;)

Some helpful links:

Charlotte Mason's List of Attainments for a child of 6 and of 12 years old

Posts in this series:


Martine said...

Thanks for this post Amy! I am now doing sort of a brainstorm/planning combi, mostly in the evenings. I think it's working out! I plan to go to The Netherlands with my schedule and booklist ready...

Teresa said...

Hi Amy, I like to do scheduling but have only come to my system by gleaning from other hs moms. So please post how you schedule.

I've just started reading your blog but have you ever read Linda Fay's blog at Higher Up and Further In? She is the one who really helped me when I was floundering.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for posting. I needed to read this because it's time to re-org for next term and I feel brain dead... :-P

Trisha said...

Just discovered this Amy, and it's so great. I'm truly one who needs everything set before me step by step. Thanks for the hard work that obviously went in to posting this. :)

Gehr said...

Hi Amy,

I can't get the pdf links above to work.  Could you help me with this?

Thanks so much!!

amyinperu said...

@3070885a5ef32d5c22f196f30f675695:disqus, they're now fixed! :)

Shona said...

I am learning so much from your blog. Thank you for taking the trouble. I guess I am having a three- yearly plan as we prepare to return to turkey taking all our books with us. No wonder I feel so overwhelmed with decisions. Just wondering if you have a new link to your week 15 PDF as it is down? I have not given the boys their own schedules previously but thought this might help.

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