Planning the Year & Homeschooling Day-to-Day

No two days ever look the same in our home, but I do try to create some consistency because kids work better when they know what to expect. We keep to a routine rather than a schedule.

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At the beginning of each year I spend hours and hours over several weekends planning an overall plan for the year. I like to go through as much of the material as I can before handing it over to my children. I keep a few plan books, starting with a a Master planner with each child’s assignments and special classes they take. I also make notes of my appointments. Due to space I can’t get real specific with things like objectives (for assignments) or dates, phone numbers and addresses (for classes and appointments).

Master Planner

Master Planner

Then I have the individual Instructor’s Guides. I use Sonlight and  my Father’s World and both have parent guides laid out similar to a plan book. Nothing is scripted in them. That’s why I like them. I don’t have to do every little thing suggested in their book and still come out feeling like a rock star.

My Father's World; ECC

My Father’s World; ECC

Then I have the plan book my oldest fills out himself and keeps track of his hours. I use the Ultimate Teen Planner, made by Apologia. My boy is not a teen yet, but the planner is what I would create if I have the skills and resources to create one myself. I LOVE that he fills out quarters of a circle to show how much time he spent on a subject. A full circle= an hour. It’s really a good idea and a lot less work for me. I need to record hours here in MO. I don’t have to show them to anyone, but need them in case out homeschooling ever gets dragged into court. We belong to HSLDA so we don’t have anything to worry about, but it’s nice to have documentation of everything.

GWG; the student reads the book then does the page in the notebook. Independently. :)

GWG; the student reads the book then does the page in the notebook. Independently. 🙂

Here’s a run down of the planners we’ve used and the pros and cons… I use one made by Scholastic called The Ultimate Teacher’s Planner (for detailed plans) and The Well Planned Day (for short page # type plans). I love how beautiful the Well Planned Day is, but there is not enough room for my planning so we are going to continue on with The Ultimate Planner by Scholastic. I really wanted to like the WPD and I am bummed it isn’t working best. The things I will miss are all the little extras, like attendance calendars, report cards, and encouraging articles throughout. If only the parts I used the most were set up differently I would stick with it, but maybe another time. It does not fit well with the unit study planning I need to do. I need the lesson plan areas to be about 4x’s as large, hence the scholastic planner.

Well Planned Day

Well Planned Day

That was this year. As I plan for next year I have found The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell, Apologia. It’s the same company that provides my oldest’s planner for the upcoming year. I have a lot of space for plans and details and each week it has 2 pages devoted to mom and my plan, my walk with the Lord and encouragement, and another page for extra cool things that happen during the week… things I want to record, but weren’t planned.

As you can see I do a lot of planning. I like it. Then we can finally begin the day. Here’s what works best, but no two days actually look the same:

The kids wake up on their own as Dad leaves for work. I go over any special appointments and classes we have that day.

We read the Bible or just talk about the Lord. One of my children is confused about what he believes and so we spend a lot of time helping him sort out the truth within himself. I like the book Who is God?, by John Hay and David Webb. Mostly we just use the Bible though. I am not fond of devotionals because I have yet to find one in which I agree with everything 100%. The book I mentioned earlier comes pretty close. We also do our family reading during this time since we are all snuggled up in the living room. I read from the classics and Big Bird reads from books on his level, usually books that have to do with what we’re learning about in history.

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I meet with Big Bird at the table. He does everything independently so I go over the work with him and makes sure he understand what he’s to do. He does all his math and language arts, as well as supplemental science during this time.

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Then I move on to the younger boys. I keep them together in my office, with the chalkboard and whiteboard, and go back and forth between the two as we work on math, phonics, and reading/narration. They are only a year about in their school work so I am hoping the Little Bird learns while listening to me work with Big Brother and Big Brother gets review while I work with Little Bird. It can get hectic when they both need me at once, but I have no problem telling them to wait a minute and check their work.

Added a chalk board to my office... only a homeschooler would be so excited!

Added a chalk board to my office… only a homeschooler would be so excited!

Little Bird loves to leave me messages.

Little Bird loves to leave me messages.

This coming year will look a little different as we are moving from Story of the World and unit study science over to My Father’s World, ECC. After independent work is complete we’ll come back together for history, science, art, and music. Then the kids spend the rest of the day outdoors. Sometimes they help with the garden we are starting. Sometimes they play baseball with the equipment Big Bird got for his birthday. Sometimes they pretend play they are camping. Last weekend my husband allowed the kids to play a game on the Wii for 20 minutes each. After less than 20 minutes the kids decided it would be more fun to take the game they were playing virtually and go play it outside in actual life. Thank you Lord for those little blessing, they warm my heart.

I'm finished... let's head outside!

I’m finished… let’s head outside!

Sometimes we only do the independent work and some days we only get to the unit study. It’s all good, they learn when we are not “learning”. They are kids and naturally curious.

So that’s a typical day… one with no classes or dr. appointments. Thanks for reading

Love,

Jackie

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