is summer! That means it is time to start planning for the next
school year. I love planning when I have the time to do it and during
the school year it is near impossible for me to have the time to do
it. Not only am I a home educator and a mom to three children, but I
also have a job in the evenings. My schedule is jam packed from
September through June, so I do the bulk of my planning and prepping
in the summer so that we can get on the train in September and steam
Last year my two older kids were in kindergarten and third grade. I
decided to buy a “boxed” curriculum that came with lesson plans.
I knew that it would save me a ton of time. However, I still wanted
to customize the lesson plans with some changes. I changed the math,
art, and music curricula to ones that I have been using successfully.
These changes were easily made by using stick-it notes in the lesson
plans. I didn’t want to write in the lesson plans because I can use
these lesson plans over again for all the children as they come
through the grades. The stick-it notes work wonderfully! (It just
takes some time to write on them, cut them to size, and get them on
all the pages.)
can see I color coordinated the changes to be the same between the
took me a few weeks to get all the lesson plans fixed up and ready to
go for the year. The nice thing about these particular lesson plans
is that they are only four days a week. That gives us wiggle room for
sick days, co-op days, field trips, vacations, and mental health
days. Although we will started "official" school in August, we had spaced out
school so that it tooks us through June with plenty of breaks to keep
us from hitting a wall.
much as I love planning the year out ahead of time, I came upon a
couple problems with this set-up. First, because these are the
“master plans,” I don’t want to write in the books and make
marks. Also, there are two books of lesson plans and I don’t want
to be paging through them to get the lessons for the day. Finally, I
am never going to remember what we are doing next week since
everything is planned back in the summer! I will inevitably forget
needed items for science labs and be ill-prepared for lessons. That
is why I actually have a separate lesson plan book to work in.
have my large lesson plan book as well as a student planner for my
third grader to use independently.
have all my daily information in this lesson plan book. It includes a
calendar with co-op days, my work schedule, family birthdays, contact
information, etc. It is my get-me-through-life book. Each Friday I
find a few minutes to go through and write down the plans for the
next week. At that point I make a shopping list for things I might
need for the following week. This helps jog my memory and gives me a
couple days to get things or prepare things, if need be.
Sunday evenings I go through and write down the assignments in my
third grader’s lesson book. I highlight the things he needs to do
with me, but everything else he can do independently. I also pull out
any worksheets he might need and get them ready to go for the week.
preparations during the year are minimal compared to what I do in the
summer. It also helps my stress level stay as low as possible during
the school year.
about you? How do you plan your year? Do
you do it all at once or every week or somewhere in between? I hope I
have inspired you to try your hand at planning ahead. Let me know how