Thursday, August 2, 2012

Planning Our Homeschool Year

So now that I have all our curriculum chosen for the year, I need to do the nuts-and-bolts planning. There's a great linky party going with all sorts of planning methods so I thought I'd join in.

My first step was to make a pile of each kid's books and then type out a list of their subjects for the year.

I listed the subject and curriculum chosen and then looked at how many lessons/tests/worksheets were in each book. Taking that number, I divided it by 180 (the number of days I'm required to do for the state.) The answer to that calculation tells me how many lessons per week I need to plan for.
Example: Tenor's English 5 by Rod and Staff has 119 lessons, 68 worksheets, and 10 tests = 197 total 
Obviously that's more than 180 so he'll end up doing 1 lesson per day; 17 of those will be a textbook lesson plus a worksheet, the remaining 51 worksheets will be done separately from the book lesson.
Some of our curriculum is easier to figure. Example: My Father's World gives me 34 five-day planned out weeks. Done. (Can I tell you how much I love MFW???) :)

With the number of lessons per week determined for each subject, I can fill my weekly folders.
For lack of space, I don't keep them in a file box like this, but I put 'em upright in 3 Flyt magazine files from Ikea (painted with craft paint to match our school room.)
Each manila folder is labeled with a week number (1-36). (Example: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3)
I separate worksheets from their binding and make necessary copies of any reproducible materials. Following my lessons-per-week cheat sheet, I put the correct number of worksheets into each week's folder. Since I only have 2 younglings, I have a solid colored piece of paper in each week's folder. Tenor's worksheets go on one side and Soprano's go on the other.

Piles of worksheets by subject all laid out and ready to file.

Once the worksheets are filed into their appropriate week's folder, I put a chunk of folders into a magazine file and then onto our bookshelf. Each Sunday night, I grab that week's folder and put it on the desk (in that green magazine file you can see in the above photo.) I then open my folder up each night to fill their "workboxes".

Once everything is timed (lessons per week) and resources are copied and separated, it takes an hour or so to file everything by week for the entire year. Not too bad considering how easy it makes the rest of the year.

I can now use those folders and my subject cheat-sheet to make my weekly lesson log for each youngling.
I made a MS publisher file where I can insert each day's lesson (lesson numbers, page numbers, or worksheet name depending on subject.) As the younglings finish their tasks each day, they check it off. These sheets then act as our log (required by the state for our end of year portfolios.)
Click on this image to see it enlarged.

The nice thing about this is that if we need to adjust for whatever reason, it's just a few minutes of copy/paste in Publisher. I only type in about 6 weeks' worth of work at a time and only print 1 week at a time. I can change the date at the top of the page as needed. I'm not into handwriting everything and with the younglings doing some of the same curriculum, once I type it in on Tenor's sheet, I can copy/paste it right into Soprano's. Bonus---totally free! No fancy record-keeping software or monthly subscription fee needed.

Other prep things I do for our year:
I print off our affidavit stuff for the state and submit it.
I clean and de-clutter the school room! (Making sure all of last year's papers are filed away and unneeded curriculum is weeded out.)
I print off 2 year-at-a-glance attendance record sheets.
I make a list of field trip ideas that will go along with our MFW curriculum.
I make a list of all needed school supplies. (Basic stuff like spiral notebooks and new pencils, etc plus a list of specific science and art supplies for MFW.)
I go through blogs and Pinterest for ideas for MFW. I write ideas or websites down on sticky notes and stick them right in my teacher's manual on the corresponding week. That way when I get to a particular week of study, I don't forget that I saw a cool video on youtube or found an extra hands-on activity on Pinterest that would work. I could also just stick that type of thing in my weekly folders but I like having them in my teacher manual so I can flip ahead and make sure I'm prepared. (Side note, you can create playlists in youtube. I created one for all of our Creation to the Greeks videos that I want to do. In my teacher's manual, I just put 'youtube and whatever the video title is' on a sticky note. Easier than writing out a whole url.)

I'm trying to think if I forgot anything but I guess that's about it. Choosing the curriculum first definitely helps with the planning part. :)

Linking up at:
Life with My Giggly Girls


  1. I love the peek into your planning process! I have always done A Beka and this year I am branching out, so this was certainly helpful. I love how you created the folders beforehand so that each weekend you don't have to get their work ready. Thanks for sharing! I have much to do. :)

  2. Those folders definitely help me not totally stress-out on Sunday nights when I realize the next school week is coming! What curriculum are you switching to this year?


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