Only awesomely geeky homeschool Moms will ever read this post with interest, so let’s just all geek-out together and I’ll get all excited to share my organizational binder with you and you can at least pretend to be all excited along with me. *chuckle*
No, honestly though, there are actually quite a few of you lovely Mamas who ask me about organizing our year and how I do it. Well, some of my organization changes over time but one thing remains – I ALWAYS have a Planning and Records Binder. In fact, I’ve saved mine from every year of our homeschool journey and they are such cool reminders of all the wonderful times together learning and growing!
The yearly binder is like my go-to resource for what we’re doing and where we’re going. Also, what we’re accomplishing!
This year, I am trying desperately to simplify my planning. This means trying to reduce the amount of time spent planning weekly by being efficient at the beginning of the year and also careful with my time management throughout the year. Right now I’m in the heat of the ‘being efficient at the beginning of the year’ part of this equation.
First of all, I have to say that PLAN YOUR YEAR has been a huge help to me this year. I feel like my planning is more precise, makes more sense, and has gone deeper than in many past years. I love all the resources that go along with PLAN YOUR YEAR and all the printables! We are using tons.
We are also using all the Morning Time resources to plan. I LOVE Morning Time… it is a huge part of our homeschool and takes up a good chunk of my planning time… read my post about Morning Time here.
PS. For those who are wondering – this is not my yearly plans post. I have one of those coming where I will cover everything we are planning to do for Term 1. I hope to have that up sometime next week. *smile* This post is more about what it is in our binder.
The best way for me to start planning is to print out all the planning sheets I hope to fill in.
I am so tired of over-complicated planning every Sunday evening before the next week of school.
*Cue the chorus!*
A peek at the sub-headings for my Planning Binder.
So, here’s what’s in my Planning Binder:
Planning Pages from Plan Your Year include:
Visions and Inspiration page
Goals Worksheet (one per child)
Course of Study (one per child)
Curriculum Resources (for all of our family studies and then one sheet per child)
Block Schedule Planner (this is still in theory… but it is in there to motivate me to try Block Scheduling and I think this would work well for plugging in a Nature Study unit or a Five in a Row book in the middle of the Term)
You can see my review of Plan Your Year right here. It is honestly a great resource – one of the best I’ve seen for planning homeschool.
It took me a LONG time to narrow this down and I’m still changing it as we go… but oh, friends – know your vision! It changes everything…
I’ll probably use this for Blocking in some Five in a Row and some NaturExplorers.
Planning and Info Pages from Simply Charlotte Mason include:
The yearly plans for whatever era we are covering. This year, we have the plans for Modern History, Epistles and Revelation. (A full review is coming soon!)
My Homemade Documents:
For Family Loop/Family Learning-
Plans for Family Learning/Reading (one per term, so 3 copies)
Our Living Book List by Month (one for every month, so… lots!)
Reading Log for recording the books we’ve read (I have done these and they are so awesome to look back on… however, if you are doing the monthly Our Living Book List, then it is a bit repetitive to do the reading log as well.)
Living Literature List – for penciling in all the books you hope to read this year.
Handicrafts and Home Skills Planning Page – I use this simple chart to pencil in the handicrafts and home skills I would like to focus on each month. This is not part of our Loop or ‘curriculum’, so to speak. These are activities and learning that is going on all the time but that I am quite intentional about.
Individual Child’s Planning:
Individual Suggested Reading List – Okay, so, this page is meant to be a place where you can write down a bunch of the titles you hope to see your individual child read this term or year (or both). I have one prolific reader who is CONSTANTLY asking me, “Mom? What can I read now?!” and I am scrambling to find a great book for him. This list helps me pencil all the titles in ahead of time. It is not REQUIRED (we actually have no required reading in our home for many reasons… a post on that coming later this month…). This is a suggestion list.
It’s amazing though, the power of suggestion!
This simple document can be used to sketch in what you hope to cover in Nature Study throughout your year. This year I am using a combination of NaturExplorers and Exploring Nature with Children (review coming) to pencil in our topics. I made Nature Study part of our Family Loop instead of Morning Time this year to help encourage us to really embrace more Nature Study and learning about God’s amazing world. A link for download is at the bottom of the post.
A couple more files for you…. *smile*
Other Random Stuff:
Booklists by year for easy access to quality living book suggestions (Like THIS one from SCM, the yearly free-read suggestions from Ambleside, and THIS one from CharlotteMasonHome.com)
Grammar and Language Arts Helps and Print-outs for reference
This Shakespeare planning outline from SCM