by Darla on September 8, 2006

in Home Education

This is one of those topics there seem to be no right or wrong answers, just what works for you and your family. Some home educators are more loosely organized than others.

Our family has been home educating for the last 9 + years. That includes the births of 3 children, deaths, disasters, major home remodels, and a couple in home businesses. Has this plan worked every year, not a chance. Each year my schedule was different to fit that time.

However, here are some principles that have stayed true through everything.

1.    Sit down with a calendar and loosely plan family obligations, extended holidays and vacations from school and trips.
2.    Spend some time considering the needs of your children. (I prayerfully make a list of these needs)
3.    If needed, learn how to address these needs through home education conferences, reading, classes, support groups etc.
4.    Based on this information, I plan what our major topics will be. I leave room for the children to make suggestions or choices. ****This year I planned what historical time period we will be studying on a 4 year cycle. What we choose to focus on in that time period is up to all of us. We have a family council where everyone brings their suggestions and requests.****
5.    Loosely take the calendar and schedule in the topics for each month. (More than likely it will change so don’t put it in ink) There are computer programs that help with this but I have found, unfortunately after spending too much money, they do not work for me. I am a pen and paper person.
6.    Now it is time to curriculum shop. I usually pull out one or two curriculum catalogs. My favorite is Rainbow Resource because it is massive and has almost everything in it. If you order this, realize it is about 3 to 4 inches thick. The reviews seem to be pretty accurate. I have both a printed copy and go online to to make my wish list. This is the one without $ limit for what we would like to do through the year. I make a .pdf of the wish list when I am done and then sift through to determine what are needs and what are wishes.
7.     If I have questions about one or two items I try to find more information through email groups or through my local support group.
8.    After I place my order, it is time to relax have fun and enjoy some time off.
9.    When my materials arrive, I sit down with them and if they do not have a lesson plan then I figure out what needs to be added in the form of supplemental materials. I will place a quarterly order for these items as it allows us to make needed adjustments.
10.   We plan about 1 week out for the first month. Usually at that point I can guess how long it will take us to get through something and where we will need breaks. I even planned in a review week this year.

Review week constituted:

  • Catching up on work that took more time than planned
  • Straightening our notebooks
  • Completed an extra art project
  • Basic addition, subtraction and multiplication review with games
  • Spelling was scrabble/boggle games with mom for the week.
  • Work on nature notebooks
  • Deep cleaning in our home or other home projects such as cooking notebooks and the like. We add recipes that the children have made during their cooking time and really liked. Only the good ones get added.
  • Next month’s lesson plans.  I make a list of any supplies needed locally so that I can pick them up when I am out shopping. Here that is not always an easy task.

One thing about scheduling, remember there will be days when the schedule goes out the window. It could be anything. Everyone has these days, including public schools. What helps me get through these days is that I have planned room in my schedule to accommodate them.

Being flexible has allowed us to add field trips to exhibits that we found out about at the last minute. My philosophy is that these things will only be here for a short time, my textbooks and other things will be around for a long time. 🙂 Not sure if this will be helpful to anyone else but it sure helped me to write it. Maybe next time I go through this I can look at what I wrote instead of fumbling for a week or two, .

Happy planning.

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