For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop - Planning the School Year

Welcome to day three of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. Today we are looking at planning the school year.

If you have followed my blog for any period of time, you would have known that I am not a big planner. But over the years, I have grown to love planning and see the benefits of it.

So how do I go about it?

I gather my planning sheets.

I am a planner hoarder. You should see my homeschool file on my computer, I have dozens of printable planners. The funny thing is that I always end up making up my own.

I prefer planners that allow me to plan all my subjects weekly. This year I created one that I really like. All of the other ones I like usually did not allow for me to see all of the subjects at once.

With this form I have all my subjects all at once for any given weeks. Unfortunately I had to use two sheets. I would prefer to have them one next to each other but decided to work with it and put them one under each other.

Under each week I mark the week number and the date, for example Week 1 / Aug 3-7 etc...

I also prepare a weekly planning sheet which I use for some curriculum and a weekly planning sheet in which I write what subjects are done when. (The one on the right is from Little Learning Lovies and the one on the left I can't remember).

Gather your curriculum

It is usually a good idea to have all your curriculum together before starting planning, but I know it does not always happen. If not, try to have as many as you can. I have one curriculum that I am still waiting on, but I have used them before so I am very familiar with it and know how many lessons there are.

Print a at a glance year calendar. 

I love the one from Sarah from My Joy Filled Life (scroll to the bottom of page for the free printable). With this calendar I decide when to start school and mark off the holidays such as Christmas, Easter, our vacation, which is usually sometimes in the fall, and any co-op days.

Once this is all set I start my planning. We school four days a week so that we have the day off when dad is off, which is Thursday. We school Monday-Wednesday and Friday. Also, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are disrupted days because  both my sons have music lessons on each of these days respectively.

So, with that in mind, I plan my curriculum. I take each of my curriculum, one at the time and check the table of content, and the length of the lessons, to figure out how long it will take us to get through it. This is a rough estimate. Then I plug it in my year at a glance planning sheet (mentioned above). I end up with something like this:

This becomes my spine planner for all other planning. Some curriculum I write pages, some others I just write the chapters or lesson numbers, sometimes all of the above. As the weeks progress I adjust where and when need be.

The reason why I want to have it all done and at a glance is that I can better appreciate the amount of work for each week. This is especially important as I tend to overload the kids. With this method I can see if I am planning too much for them to do for any given week, and try to spread it out better over the year, or do better combinations of subjects. Basically I can better see how to balance all of the work I am planning to have the work get through.

And this is, in a nutshell, how I plan our year.

Don't forget to stop by the crew page to check out the giveaway, as well as read from the other bloggers participating in this year's Back to Homeschool Blog Hop!

In case you missed my first 2 days:

Day 1: Setting Goals for Your Homeschool
Day 2: First Day Traditions
Day 5: Planning Your Daily Routine

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