Y’all know how I’m not much of a planner, right? Well, today I thought some of you might enjoy reading a planning article, written by my uber-planning friend. Enjoy!
Among my real life friends I have a reputation for being an obsessive planner. Sometimes I’m praised, and sometimes I’m ridiculed. But occasionally I’m also asked for tips on how to plan for the school year. I plan our year beginning with a year plan, working toward a quarterly plan, and finally using that to make weekly assignment sheets and a weekly plan.
To begin with, I do most of my planning online using Google Docs.
I do this because (1) I’ve never found a planner that I love and (2) I like being able to access my files from any computer anywhere. I have tried many, many, many planners- online planners, book planners, planning software. I have found a few forms that I like in the Schoolhouse Planner, free with Schoolhouse Teachers.Com membership, but even in that, I can’t find my “perfect planner.
So here’s my step by step how to, just in case you want to be a really obsessed planner like I am.
Keep a record of what each child has done each year so that you can know what has been covered and what you would like to cover. I use the Simply Charlotte Mason website as a curriculum guide that suggests what to cover at what grade levels. I have friends that look up the curriculum standards for their state to use as a guide. Sometimes your state may require you to cover certain things each year.
After you look over your list of what you have covered, make a list of books/curriculum that you will need for this year for each child.
Divide your school year into periods that work for your family. We school year round with a slower, easier schedule in the summer, so, my school year is divided into unequal quarters. August-October is quarter 1, November-February is quarter 2, March-May is quarter 3, and June-July is quarter 4.
Take each subject and plan it out for the entire quarter. Look at the book and decide how much you are planning to cover each day. I don’t assign actual dates to this. Instead I list the number of days I know we will have, and I break the book/curriculum down into that many days. So, for example. if I know we do history four days a week, I know we will do it 48 times throughout the quarter. I break our history curriculum down into 48 days of work. I use a spreadsheet to do this with a separate sheet for each subject and each child’s name listed across the top.
Each week I take this schedule and copy and paste to make an assignment sheet for each child and a lesson plan sheet for me (for the subjects that I teach all the kids together). I cross off of my master quarterly sheet what we’ve actually covered each week. Here’s a weekly assignment sheet.
And that’s it. Now you, too, can be an obsessed planner. It takes a good bit of time to write out the quarterly plans, but it makes each week’s planning very quick and easy. It also really helps to get a good idea of how far along you are in your curriculum and whether or not you are going to finish a book in the school year.
Follow my instructions and become a planner that will amaze (or amuse) your friends and family.
Leah has been homeschooling her children for nine years now. She enjoys reading, all things computer related, and organizing (one of her favorite past times). You can follow her family’s homeschool adventures at As We Walk Along the Road.