But...if you are like me...you will stress right up until you have some semblance of a plan for next year! Oh, it doesn't have to be fine-tuned, but you don't want to wind up like I did one year: On the first day of our homeschool, I realized I had forgotten to order math books. I'm a Lit. gal, you know? I had planned their history/literature/creative unit studies to within an inch of perfection. But, I had completely forgotten math! Perhaps that's why every summer from that year forward in our homeschool, I made sure to craft a rough draft of a plan at least four weeks out from our start date.
I always made a day (or at least an afternoon!) of it. I know you're hoping I'll tell you I rented a hotel room for a weekend, but the truth is that it was more like a quiet park with a thermos of tea and a shady spot under a tree! I confess to having planned out one year in a cemetery on a Sunday afternoon (It was quiet, shady, peaceful, gorgeous. I have no regrets).
Now that I'm considered a homeschool "veteran" - with my ducklings sailing off to college & career adventures - I'm sometimes asked to share my tips & tricks for planning and recordkeeping. I thought perhaps I'd share them with you all - in a few blog posts between now and September 1st. I'll show you my ideas, tell you why I think they worked for me, and I'll even send you the files for the forms, if you would like! :D Anything to help a homeschooling sister out! :D One caveat: Please don't make fun of my super-simple style! I like my forms and my planning to be stream-lined and plain! Maybe some of you can identify?
Today, let's start with just sketching out the upcoming year. Step 1: Cementing my vision for what I want to cover all YEAR. Step 2: Break that down into quarters, Step 3: Break the first quarter into weeks. I wait for a bit to sketch out the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters - let's see how we progress on this pace first!
So...Step 1: the first thing I use is a "Course of Study" worksheet for each student. While I recommend we keep these on file for high school students in my home state of California, it honestly makes planning pretty simple if you quicky fill out one of these for each student. Fill it out on your laptop, or print it out (but use pencil!) - whatever you like. I generally fill them out on my laptop, but when I have a final version I'll print it to keep in my handy-dandy view binder (aka my HOMESCHOOL GAL FRIDAY - because it does everything!).
Next -Step 2: if you want to cover a particular course in 36 (or how ever many weeks you teach) weeks of school, you know you will have four quarters of nine weeks. So, divide the total number of lessons by 4 to see what you need to cover in each quarter. If there are 120 lessons in a grammar curriculum, you will need to cover 30 of them in each quarter to finish the book**. If you plan to have nine weeks in your school's quarter, you can cover 3 lessons per week for six weeks, and 4 lessons for the other three weeks, in order to cover a total of 30 lessons that quarter. Now - where are you going to keep all of that information?
** We should really talk about this obsession with "finishing the book" that we all have...
I also have a form with more categories to use for upper elementary, or middle school, if you need to break it down even further. But my favorite form is the high school planner. I simply tell them what I want done during the week. For a lot of their work...they simply DO it. I certainly do teach in high school. I make notes on their planner what days we will be discussing what. They initial when their work is done for the week. I leave a lot of the scheduling - as much as possible, really - up to the high school student. If they want to finish by Friday at noon and head to the beach, I am really all for it! Here is a sample from one of my high school students:
If you would like my very plain, super simple, no frills, fillable forms - fill out & submit the request next to the picture of my course of study, and I'll send them out to you asap.
I hope I've helped a bit! Chin up, march forward!
Not all Rigor is Mortis!