November 7, 2013

My Lesson Planning for This Year (that I'm still actually using!)

When I was making plans this summer for the 2013-2014 school year, the #1 thing I wanted to do was lesson plan. But not just any old lesson planning. I wanted a lesson planning system that I would be FAITHFUL to and not give up on weeks or months into our school year. 

So I started searching and reading blog after homeschooling blog about lesson planning. I made notes of who had styles like me. Who had issues like me. And then started pinning various printables for assisting in the lesson planning. 

So today I wanted to share what I decided to go with for this school year...
Did you notice that subtitle? See that is my #1 problem. I start out strong with a LOT of things...then as time goes by, I sort of fall behind until I finally just throw in the towel. This is especially true when it comes to lesson planning for homeschool.

So my #1 goal for the new year was that I would stay on task and lesson plan the WHOLE YEAR! And I can say that I am here in week #7 and still going strong! I have found a system that works for me and helps me know at a glance what my day looks like as well as plot out the week and yes, even plan for the month!

So here is what I am doing to keep track of all our curriculum assignments this year...

The first incredibly useful form I found was offered by Only Passionate Curiousity. She created a yearly schedule where you could put a mock up of your yearly homeschooling plans so you could see how your year would work out. It's an incredibly simple form--but very valuable. It's simply a whole year from August to July--a rough calendar of sorts all on one page. (you can find this page as part of her Homeschool Planning Pack)
The first thing I did was section off all the weekends. Then I blocked out all the vacations or school breaks we were going to take. Then came the already scheduled field trip days. Once this was done, USING PENCIL I wrote in the weeks for our core curriculum. This allowed me to see about when I would be finishing for the year...and I noted the wiggle room I had. Doing this put us finishing the program at the beginning of April. This meant I had all of April and May for wiggle room which was great, so I made a few adjustments to when I did and pushed us out a bit further into the year (now to the end of May) then I noted (ALSO IN PENCIL) the brief themes for each week of the core. This gives me at a glance an idea on when to schedule in related activities as they come up.

This schedule is a SUPER loose one...but it lets me compare where the curriculum puts me to where our state requirements are (we just have a 180 day requirement). AND see at a glance what topics we will be covering over the school year and plan some field trips or activities around them without having to dig out various curriculum books.

The next thing I needed was a good weekly break down for my planning. Some people have purchased homeschool planners, but I didn't have the money and I wanted a bit more wiggle room.

I found some great planning pages from Donna Young for homeschool. I like to work on a weekly schedule, so I used one of her weekly planning forms. It's editable, so I was able to add in my own information.
(which I did AFTER I had already printed this first batch of forms)

Now I only schedule out lessons for one child, so you might need to use a different sort of form if you are trying to plan for a larger family than mine.

I started by writing the subjects we are doing for Second Grade along the left side, wrote in the dates along the top and the week # I am planning.
I like that I have larger boxes for planning and that it spans 2 pages to allow for extra writing.

The next step was to photo copy the weekly plan from our core curriculum (My Father's World-Adventures in US History) so that I could plug in all the assignments.

 I used different colored paper for each subsequent week so I could easily tell them apart.
Four weeks (a months worth) and each is a different color. That makes it very easy for me to keep track of! This version of the weekly planner has 5 columns for the days of the week, AND two extra columns for notes. I love this--lets me note if I need any extra supplies for any of the subjects.
I just go through one curriculum at a time and plug in the week's information. For the core (from My Father's World) I get that info right off of THEIR weekly lesson plan that I photo copy. Once I get that all logged, I pull out each of the other items and plug it in. This particular week I had to juggle since Thursday was a field trip day...which is why that column is blank.
Sometimes I use different colors for the subjects--sometimes not. Just depends on my mood for the week. LOL!

Here is the other end of the week--the two columns for the extra notes. 

You can see that I've put notes to myself as well as a supplies list for some of the subjects.

Now with any week, I have it ready to go. I just pull out my pretty pink binder, find the week we need and I have it all there for me. Plenty of room for notes about page numbers or other information. Now I don't have to keep flipping and pulling out every single book to know what we are going to do.

It's absolutely fabulous! LOL!

And simple enough that I've maintained this now for almost two full months...a new record! 

So if you are looking for an easy way to organize your week for your student, I highly recommend a system like this.

Donna Young also has a planner you can use if you have more than one child. You can find it HERE.  I plan on using it in the future when I have to do more detailed planning with my Baby Britches. He's so easy with the various Letter of the Week programs we are working through that I don't need to schedule him out at this time.

Now excuse me as I go work on my lessons plans through the end of the month! LOL!

Question for YOU: Are you a planner? Or maybe you are planner who has a hard time sticking with a list like me? Do you keep a notebook with events? A calendar covered in appointments? Is it in your phone? How do you keep track of what you have going on in your homeschool or just life as you know it? I'd love to hear from you in today's comments!


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