Saturday, August 4, 2012

Homeschool Planning for the Year part 4

This is the 4th post in a series of posts about how we plan our school. If you missed the previous posts, they can be found herehere, and here. This post will focus on how I plan out the week for elementary levels.

Alright, now we're onto how I plan each week. This is so simple. As you'll remember from post 2, my 'plan' for the year really is just a big checklist. That's as far as it goes with advanced planning. I plan each week as it comes, not all weeks planned out before the year starts. As we finish a week, I check off what we've done. Then, I can see what still needs to be done for each subject.

I took the binding off of my son's Easy Grammar books for this year, hole-punched them, and put each level in its own binder. I also took off the binding of Perfecting the Point & Finishing Fractions and put them in a binder. Giving him the pages for a day or week at a time makes it seem less overwhelming than handing the the whole workbooks would. Plus, I only got the teacher books for Easy Grammar, so I wouldn't be able to just hand the book anyway.

I have folders that I use to hold much of the independent work he can do for each day. Each weekend, I put the work for the upcoming week into those folders. At that time, I put the work that was finished the previous week into the folders I have for finished work. The 'Independent Work' folders go in the child's binder, and the binder goes in the child's basket.

My son is in 3rd grade. His 'Independent Work' folders currently hold pages from Easy Grammar, Mastering Mathematics, & penmanship. I also put his Key to Measurement or Metric Measurement book in there, switching it to the next day once he has done it. The Logic Safari book also goes in Monday's folder, since that is the day he does it. He does Logic Safari on his own, but does much of his other Logic work with me. His Creating Line Designs book goes in his Wednesday folder on weeks that that will be his Art. Thicker workbooks go in his school basket, along with his binder & other things he'll need for the week. He has a CD case that holds the DVDs & CDs that he needs for his current studies. That also goes in his school basket. He has a shelf on our school bookcase. That shelf holds his school basket and most other materials for his school year (except the hands-on materials & kits). That way, anything that he will use that week can be in his basket, and anything he won't use that week can stay on his shelf.

So, how do I decide what goes into those folders? How do I decide what other work will get done? Mostly, we simply do the next thing. If the last page of Perfecting the Point he did the previous week was page 76, the next week starts with page 77. If he did Lesson 15 in Logic Safari last week, we'll do Lesson 16 this week. If he finished the chapter in Latin he worked on last week, we start the next. If he didn't finish the Latin chapter he was working on last week, we continue to work on that chapter. If he doesn't finish all the papers in the folders, I pull out less for the next week.

For History & Science, I look at what books we have from the library & decide which he should read that week (usually based on which are due first), as well as if I will read any to him. I look at the DVD & streaming options we have for those subjects & decide if we'll watch any of them. I also look at the list of activities/labs/projects still waiting to be done, to see if we'll have time for any of them. For geography, I look at the list of what topics still need to be done & pick one.

That's really it for the average week. We simply do the next page/chapter/lesson, at the child's pace. If it's not an average week, we can handle that too. If we're planning on days off, I pull out less work. If the child is sick, we focus on reading, watching documentaries & shows, and resting. If I am sick or in pain, and can't do our full daily schedule, the child still can do their independent work.

Now, sometimes, they ask to do more pages than were planned. If they want to do it, and we have the time, I let them. They are free to tell me if they think the amount planned for each day/week is too much or too little. They are free to tell me if there is too much/not enough work for any subject. If they consistently ask to do 'one more page' in a subject/workbook, I might start pulling one more per day to go in the folder. Then, if they decide later that it's too much, we can always switch back to less.