HSF: Discussions between Homeschoolers

Planning Ahead and In What Detail


I am Mrs. 20 Questions this week I know......but my mind is spinning.

How far in advance do you plan lessons and how detailed is your planning? Currently, I use a teacher plan book and I try to plan a couple weeks in advance. I have just enough room to write page numbers etc. I get all these great things in my head while searching the internet and reading catalogs but somehow am just not transferring them to the school plans. I know I am probably not making sense! I guess I just want to sort of "journal an idea" the way I envision teaching it. Do any of you do very detailed plans? One thing I am thinking of is making a list of things I would write on the whiteboard to help illustrate a point or idea. Do you get that detailed or do you wing it the day of the lesson? Right now I am not doing much teaching, I am handing them assignments, briefly discussing it and then leave them be. I know my 14 yo is bored with that- he wants to be "taught" so I am trying to come up with ways to do that. Sorry for rambling. help2.gif
14 year olds get bored with just about anything. I know I'm going through that right now.
I plan my lessons about 1 1/2 weeks ahead. Every Friday afternoon I review what has been taught and look ahead and what I hope to accomplish in the next week. But I also have a month plan in mind and a three month plan on the records so that I order things well ahead and do research at the library for books I can use to help out with the subject at hand.

The worst think I have is that the children finish what I thought was a weeks worth of work and I have nothing more planned for them. Its happened all too often. So I have found keeping a research project on the go all the time helps out with the boredom. My children do their research in a lapbooking forum and since its like scrap booking is creative and fun. It seem to me they are always looking for more to add to the project. Take a look at this site to get ideas. Since I don't live in the states ordering from the company would cost me but the whole idea is grand and I use file folder from the business store instead.
For the question: How far in advance and how much detail......

I am working on 2006-2007 lesson plans now. We begin our school year in July so I like to be ready. I do an entire year worth of planning.

I always do this:
1. figure out how many weeks and days we'll do
2. make a school calendar
3. divide each book in quarters, and then weeks
4. make a plan on the computer for each subject. This plan only contains page numbers.

This is my GOAL SHEET. I do not always stick right to it but it helps to have a plan.

After all that is finished, I use a Daily Log (made myself) to record everything. It has the date, hours attended today, total yearly hours, and day number at the top. I did it in all different colors with our school name and address on top. wub.gif Here is an example :

Date: 3-1-06
Day: 148
Hours Attended Today: 6
Total Yearly Hours: 842

Math: pages 222-223 Dividing Mixed Numbers with Fractions
Did supplement on page 333 #1-10

Spelling: List 25 Did page 89
Wrote words 2 times each

As far as the actual teaching, I do teach each subject except reading. He reads and then tells me what happened in the book. (I read it first so I know if he's read it or not.)
During the summer, I do lesson plans for the entire year....for both my kiddos.
yes.gif This is what I have been working for next yr. With the move I have been just handing them assignments to do and they want to have teaching lessons (where we read, sing, work through and discuss, have fun together) they are getting bored with just seat work.

As for planning for next yr, I am working on monthly themes and review during the yr, but also trying to make lessons to include my 4yr. on the themes where possible. So I'm using the scope and sequence as a guide from Core Knowledge for my layout and making sure the state requirements are filled for the other two. I'm using Ambleside's curriculum, but making my schedule to fit our needs

I finished a yr planning for American and World history/geography for my little one and now I'm working on lessons for the other two trying to stay with the same timeline, but theirs will be more advanced if that makes sense.

Also, I'm working on Science lessons in between to change gears

Also, adding copywork, Art/Crafts, Artists, Lit, Poetry, Music and Foreign Language as a monthly unit study and as for Math, Language Arts they will have a independent schedule with weekly goals.

So far it looks pretty good, though its just a lot of planning right now, but I think it will be worth it to have my yr planned out ahead of time.

Also, dealing with dial-up takes a bit longer for my research stunned.gif

I have my lessons on word doc. so I can amend changes before I print it out and place in my teaching binders divided up for each term and all I have to is take out their attendance, grade sheets, book lists and project sheets and place them in the next term binder and at the end each child gets duplicates for their portfolios.
I usually just plan week-to-week or two weeks at a time bc life has been a problem with us for the past two years and has prevented us from keeping a good solid monthly schedule. (this is why we are a tad behind where I want to be. sad.gif )

I am considering doing exactly what Kenetha has been doing. I would like to sit down this summer and plan the entire year and then just assume there will be hiccups along the way and plan for places for us to catch up. I love the planning, actually. I just get overwhelmed thinking about the whole year. dunno.gif
MK, I plan almost everything for the year, but not in detail. For classes that I will have to teach, I do one of two things: if I know the material, I wing it; if I need a brush up, I look over it first.. sometimes I make notes, sometimes I don't.

Some classes just scream for more detail and this year our noisy class is art.

I used HTML to make my detailed plans, but Microsoft Word or Excel would serve just as well or better. Just open up the word processor and start typing. Paste the web addresses that you want to use in the document. Since this is for your personal use, you could probably copy vital parts to the document as well (check web page usage/copyright first). Save the document in a folder for your plans. You can print a copy for yourself, and then when it is time to visit the web sites, open the document and use the links.
I am a terrible planner. I have been mostly "winging" it the past 3 years. We have managed, mostly by the grace of God this year, to get the basics done. I want next year to be different. I am going to plan my goals. I don't want to make to detail of a plan because I want to be able to take a day off if we need one.

During the summer, I plan out the full year for all the core subjects and save them on my laptop computer. Then about every 8-10 weeks I copy and paste the daily plans onto a weekly lesson plan for each of the kids into a Word Doc. I print that out and that becomes what they follow. They each have an assignment binder When they are done with those weeks, they turn them into me and I keep them in a bigger binder for record keeping.

This year is going be a lot easier as some of the math my boys did, my daughter is doing now and the same with Science and LLATL (no change in curriculum for 2 years now in these subjects LOL) So those are already planned out I just have to put them into a daily lesson plan for the kids. Our history, Tapestry of Grace, I plan out semester at a time. So sometime in December I will sit down and plan out the rest of that for the year.

I start by printing out a full calendar of the school year and I write on that any holidays, planned days off, etc.. That always gets messed up so there is some flexibility. smile.gif If I planned a couple weeks at a time (which is what I use to do) I never get around planning out the rest. 2 weeks comes too quickly for me and we are just so busy with other stuff finding the time to sit down more often is too difficult for me. I plan it out, then look it over a week or so ahead before we come to it. I just have to remind myself that I planned it out that way for a reason and not to second guess myself and change things LOL

QUOTE(Tressa @ Mar 17 2006, 06:43 AM)

I don't want to make to detail of a plan because I want to be able to take a day off if we need one.

We just push everything a day if this happens. It actually happens quite a bit. Things come up. This past year we had an unexpected trip back to the mainland to see my family (my father is not well) We took some books with us (math and science) but the rest had to stay here at home. Also I've had some unexpected doctors appointments this year. So, we just push it all a day but at least I have it planned out and don't have that to worry about as well.
Well for this year we have been winging it and I have been learning as we go. I have page numbers on lesson plans for almost all our subjects done for next year. Each day has a whole page. I made my own personal lesson plan sheets in Word with each subject listed and then all the books that are used in that subject listed with a place for page numbers (it has 3 columns one for the book key, one for page numbers, and one for notes). I just have page numbers and stuff that will need to be copied from each book. I will do the notes a week at a time 2 weeks in advance so if something comes up and I do not get my Sunday planning session the current week is done. Oh I used Donna's curriculum key form for that and it is in a page protector and the plans are not dated. I have a rough schedule in the beginning of my binder.

We are schooling 42 weeks, with 3 weeks of formal followed by 1 week of theme learning to break up the school year and do some fun stuff. I would like to end each theme week with a related field trip on Sat but will have to see about money and weather for that one.
I have never planned it out before we were good with just winging it but then we usually school year round with breaks as needed. But I'm finding that with so many kids and the older ones coming and going. More church and outside commitments that I really need to plan better if we hope to get everything done.

Also I have noticed that the more organized I am the better our school day goes. Noah is also in a much better place emotionally. I really need a break this summer also, to regroup. We are only taking off 8 weeks but then we will have a week at Thanksgiving and about 3 maybe 4 at Christmas, 1 week at Easter. Which gives us 13 weeks off total a year not too bad really.

I have already figured out how many days we have for next year. Then subjects that have 180 lessons are easy as it is one lesson a day. I'm trying even on bad days to at least find the time to do phonics/math and spelling since those subjects don't lend themselves to doubling up well. The things I must figure out are the subjects that aren't' 180 days or I'm adding in for fun.
Plan? What plan? laugh.gif
We work everything out as we go, other than our fortnightly bowling trips, my Sign Language course, and occasional visits to homeschool friends. Oh, and ballet, drama, etc. classes. smile.gif Sometimes I'll decide I want to finish a chapter in my book in however many weeks, but we don't plan it out. dunno.gif
I loosely plan for the entire year & record it in an Excel spreadsheet. I have one file per child & each tab is a different subject. I head the spreadsheet with the name of the child & the text/texts they will be using. The columns include: The day number (we must school 180 days in Indiana), The date (I pencil in as we go), the Lesson(s), student activity (if it isn't obvious), supplies needed, reference pages (if it isn't obvious from the lesson number, and any preparation that I will need to do.

I don't date the lessons so that I have flexibility for breaks, etc. When they are finished, I print them & place them in the appropriate subject section in their portfolios. I'm contemplating removing the date column since they will be using agenda books. I may just track their days by storing their completed weekly agenda sheets.

I try to plan systematically.

Math is pretty straight forward. Since we use Saxon, I merely need to note the lesson number/test number in sequence. I did add some notes on Latin & additions I'd like Cassie to make to her history timeline when she comes to certain lessons. (ie Pythagoras) Because I already have the texts for next year for math, these lessons are finished.

History depends on which child. Jacob is using Abeka & I assign him a section each day which will require reading & questions and possibly some geography work. I want to be better at knowing which timeline figures he will need in advance to add to his timeline next year. Jessica is using The Story of the Constitution & the Land of Fair Play. I'm in the process of planning the former. She'll be assigned the chapter to read on Monday, Review exercises on Tuesday, Essay Questions on Wednesday, Timeline & Notebooking on Thursday, and Testing on Friday. Cassie will do something similar with Streams of Civilization 2. (She's currently on Vol 1 & Reads the chap on mon, completes vocabulary on tues, completes a study guide that I prepare on wed, reviews with me on thurs, and tests on fri. This is every/other week as she works on projects/essays on the off weeks.)

LLATL is also straight forward. It is sectioned in such a way that we split it into sub-lessons for each day. Lesson 1.1 is mon, 1.2 Tuesday, 1.3 wed... Spelling also has various activities on various day (see Donna's notes on planning for the Natural Speller). I no longer do spelling with Cassie, Jess will be using CLASS curriculum next year, but for Jacob ... I will look through his LLATL lessons & make weekly lists from Natural Speller to correspond to the spelling rules he will learn each week. Vocabulary from Classical Roots is much like Spelling.

Science gives me a bit of a headache. I try to realistically assign a consistent number of pages to read every day. We use apologia. I've not used the Young Explorers yet so I'm excited to see it! The higher levels we read, answer the "on your own" questions in a spiral notebook that goes into the binder, perform experiments & place write-ups in binder, complete study guides & place in binder, and recreate figures from the text for the binder.
etc. etc.

The one thing that I will add to next year is a weekly index for myself. As I put together their agenda assignment pages for each week, I will put together a spreadsheet for me to see what child is doing what on each day. This way I'll be able to be more available knowing who will need me for what. I've noticed we have a lot of waiting-for-mom-so-I'll-goof-off going on this year. Every monday morning I sit down & open their lesson plan file to see where they are and what I'll assign this week according to what our life is like at that particular time. I then simply note it on their assignment sheet, also excel & then print it for them. I used to copy & paste it onto a daily checklist, but I've condensed the columns so that they could have a week on 2 sheets. I'm more or less retyping an abbreviated version now.

Wow. If you read through that I'm impressed. Hope it made sense.
I like to plan. yes.gif My children need organization and so do I. I use spreadsheets, and put down the page number for each workbook. It is placed in a binder or stapled to the workbook, for each child. Anna is very diligent and always marks everything off. My son doesn't...and he is the one who needs it. dunno.gif I don't mark down a date, because if we have an illness, and need to skip a would just mess it up. This allows me to see quickly, where we are. yes.gif For science and history, I make a schedule for myself, again, without specific dates. I keep a list of what things I need for projects, so I can plan ahead. We do science and history together ... except, I believe next year, science maybe different. Anyway, that is it in a nutshell!
I sketched out the year on what we wanted to cover in science, social studies, art appreciation, and music. The first two are done with unit studies and have related themes that have to be organized, and library books ordered ahead of time each month.

I plan one month ahead on what math, phonics, reading lessons, spelling, etc we need to cover. I have to do this because I never know how fast we will be able to cover certain topics.

I also plan our field trips one month ahead. We usually do one a week, plus one park morning (2 hours) with our friends. I don't usually have the calendar until one week before the new month starts.

I type up a chart each month, including resources and books that I have ordered on each topic. I have blank lesson plan sheets that I fill out each night when the girls go to bed of what we have covered. Whatever we missed during the day, I make first priority for the next day.

It is half organized, half on the fly. It leaves plenty of room for flexibility.

I enjoyed reading how everyone else approaches things, and I hope you find a system that works for you.
You guys are SUCH an inspiration! banana.gif I love this site!!! wub.gif
Wow! Thanks. Lots of great info here. After this thread and a very inspirational business trip Fri/Sat I know what I am going to do as far as organizing AND planning. I am heading out to Walmart after church to get a work table, a bookshelf and some more bins. As for planning I decided I am going to do a general plan in the lesson plan book I already have and then on loose leaf paper I am going to detail the lessons that aren't already detailed in a teacher manual. I will just do 2 weeks at a time. I think for now we are going to keep the kids using their binders and loose leaf paper instead of the spirals. The spirals seem to get trashed easy around here. Thanks again for all the great ideas! clap.gif

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