Welcome to Day Three of the Back-to-Homeschool Blog Hop! I hope you're having as much fun as I am! I am really enjoying visiting the other participants' blogs--I never fail to find some great ideas that can help me in my own homeschooling.
Today we're talking about planning.
Now, I have to be honest here, anybody who knows me knows that I love to plan! I like to plan my menus, my grocery trips, our daily agendas, our weekly schedule, our vacations ....I just love to be prepared, know what's going to happen, have a plan. So, naturally, homeschooling is going to be no exception with me, I want to have a plan.
Now there is such a thing as over-planning (just ask my family about that one vacation to DC when I nearly killed them with my schedule). I did that one year. I literally sat down and planned out all 180 days of our school year day-by-day, week-by-week before the year ever started. Yes, that was a bit much. I used the white-out A LOT that year. LOL (Yes, I prefer white-out over crossing things out).
The next year I thought I would scale it back some and only plan out our first semester. That was a little more attainable, although I still had to make lots of adjustments in my plan. It's a good thing I only planned the first semester that year, too, because our second semester was a planner's nightmare. We moved two times that semester and our schedule was often at the mercy of others.
Finally, this past year I found my groove. We had just moved (again ...but this time we were settling in) and I wanted to start school on our usual day (the Tuesday after Labor Day). I had barely gotten our school supplies and books unpacked and had desks cleared off to work at, so there certainly hadn't been any special planning getaways for me to do any massive preparing.
So I started with one week at a time. And I continued to do that throughout our year. Sometimes I would plan two weeks out, but generally just one. I kept the big picture and the end goal in mind, but focusing one each week by itself. It worked so well! Sunday evenings are my planning time. Sometimes I'll work in the afternoons while the kiddos are chilling and sometimes I wait until they're in bed, but Sundays have worked well as a time for me to sit down and get the week all scheduled. I am glad to have learned my lesson when it comes to making my lesson plans :)
Of course, a big key to any good planning is a great planner. I am trying out a new planner this year (this makes me a little nervous because I really did love the planner I've used for the two previous years) and so far, so good. I am using the downloadable planner available with a subscription to SchoolhouseTeachers.com. (For only $1 you can join the site and check out these calendars--and also the rest of this great resource!). I have chosen to print it out, hand write everything it (I still like to do that), and put it all in a 3-ring binder (see photo above). I always use a school planner that runs July through June, so I have just recently gotten this one put together and am still adding pages from the seemingly bazillion pages available for download.
So far, my planner includes 2-page monthly calendars, another monthly calendar for blog planning, a monthly menu planner, monthly reading logs, monthly goals planning sheet, a Bible reading plan, holiday planning pages, 36 weeks of lessons planning pages, attendance sheets ...and I'm still finding great pages to add to it. It's nice being able to customize your planner.
Now I am working to find a time to actually sit down with all of our new school books and begin making lesson plans. While I do write out our plans weekly, I look through every book at the beginning of the year to determine the pace we need to work in order to actually complete it by the end of the year. In order to avoid taking our biggest-stack-of-books-yet all the way to our local Starbucks, I will probably ask my hubby to take the kiddos out for a few hours at a time in order to get that initial start on planning done.
And now I can't wait to get started!
I would love to hear how you plan for your year!
Don't forget to drop by the other bloggers on this hop to see how they plan for their year. I am sure you and me both are going to pick up some great tips!