A Planning Bender

Well, the Planning bug has struck again.

A few things prompted this latest bender. First, I wanted to go ahead with Charlotte Mason style schooling, but was feeling very vulnerable committing without some sort of very concrete plan. Read into that the feeling that I also needed some sort of accountability on paper.

I’ve been looking heavily at the http://simplycharlottemason.com/home/ website and using that as my main guide for choosing Cirriculum. I have also been using Ambleside Online, but feel that many of it’s recommended books won’t be easily accessible to my children.

So I’ve been trying to meld both sites, and insert my own ideas and available books.

And a large factor of fear!

Also, I have had a number of times lately where I have “taught” a section and realized later on in the day that I had something special planned to go with that and had forgot about it until it was literally too late to really do the activity now.

In the past I have used a traditional weekly planner with the subject and date blocks. This was great, and at one point I would have 8 + weeks planned in advance, but then I have perfectionistic tendencies and it was driving me nuts to have to re-write / re-type / re-organize each week. Out of frustration I switched to a more Journal style of note keeping. This worked, but that is how I found myself skipping things too easily.

My latest attempt at organization is a Card File System using a Mini 3 ring binder to prevent massive card spill issues.

I have a daily section, because lets face it, several subjects are covered daily.

Then I have a section for each day of the week. Now there are a lot of subjects that both of my students will cover at the same time, History, Geography, Science, Literature Study, Picture Study, Music Study, Hymn Study, Memorization Work, Nature Studies, and Art Techniques to be specific.

So I have made up just one card for each of those subjects. I then filled the cards under the day of the week when I am planning on covering that subject.

Basically what I did was took the Science books and a Notecard. I have 3 books I want to use together. So I first listed the main book, then the next two books and corresponding pages (if there were any). I also listed an experiment if I had one to go with it. So naturally I had several notecards for Science. I put just the first one under the day of the week we are covering the subject and placed the rest in another binder, ready to be accessed as needed.

Repeat for each subject.

Now for the subjects they are working on alone, Math, Reading, English and Penmanship in specific, I made two tabs for each subject in the Schedule Binder. I have Note cards made up as described above and filled behind each child’s name and subject.

So now when it comes to using the system. Flip to the Daily section, see notecard: Memory Work. Pull out Memory work, review. Date notecard and flip to next one: Bible. Open Bible, read and discussion section, date note card and move along the same way. Once completed daily section, move to individual section and repeat. Then move to section for Day of the Week and Repeat. Usually that is only 2 special things.

The reason I like this is because if we don’t complete something, we don’t mark it off. When we come along to that subject the next time… we complete the next one and I haven’t had to re-write my entire week’s schedule (I did say I am perfectionist! Of course I write in PEN!).

If I want to add something special for a while, say how to build a really cool fort or growing our own bedding plants, I can just insert a card and not have to worry about how to divide up my little beautiful squares in my custom designed planner. Can you see how this will feed into my need for perfection yet?

Also… There are weeks when we school over 4 days instead of 5. So I made up 3 master weekly schedules. A 5 day regular schedule, a 5 day light schedule, and a 4 day schedule. If I know we are going to have a special week, I can simply pull out cards and flip them into the new weekly schedule and feel organized again.

Often I don’t find out until Monday that I am going to have a short week. I typically plan for the next week (read, quick review next week) on Friday while the kids are doing their work. Monday morning, I can now quickly flip things and feel like I am still in control.

And if some nosey parker comes along, I can pull out lots of evidence that we are over-productive, over-achieving know-it-alls!

If this works as well as I hope, I will post better directions and pictures. Of course I have lots of lovely coloured note cards, high lighters, coloured labels and pretty binders. 😀 That would be the perfectionist thing coming out!

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3 Responses to A Planning Bender

  1. lovingewe says:

    I can relate….. the perfectionist thing too!

    I have a large three ring binder in a woven covering case, with handles.There are large pockets in the woven cover for my sticky notes, highlighters, and PENS. But what I like about it is the pockets where I put important notes for me like what to get at the library, what to bring to school forums etc.

    I took me a few systems to get homeschooling lessons down pat. I find though as the kids get older they do a lot of their own work at their own time. Its a saver for the planning.

  2. Elaine says:

    I wish you all the best in your planning, Birdy. For me this is the funnest part…except for my expectations just never seem to meet up with real life. 🙄 Life just always throws a wrench into my wonderful plans and then I get so frustrated that I have trouble getting back on track. So I’m going to have to adjust my planning for the coming year.

  3. sleepymamma says:

    I can sure relate to what Elaine says…. my problem is not in the planning but in the executing of the plans when the monkey wrench is thrown in!! Good luck!!

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