Monday, October 31, 2011
The day to day details of our homeschool!
This month's Blog Cruise is all about Lesson Planning! I think that planning our children's education is the part of homeschooling that I find the easiest to do. I get to read catalogs and "research curriculum" (a.k.a. - spend time on the Crew forum and the Well-Trained Mind), buy new lesson planner books and pencil things in and start to dream of how amazing how school year(s) will be. It is so much fun and I spend quite a bit of time doing "research" and am already taking notes and have ideas for next year rolling around in my head. Implementing those plans is where a lot of determination, discipline and dedication come into play.
In years past I have used "open and go" curricula, "do the next thing" curricula, "create my own" curricula, etc. I've tried Lesson Planning on computer programs, in composition books, or tried to keep it all straight in my mind (ha! that doesn't work so well...)
This year, after several years of trial and error, I sort of feel like I've found my groove. After a lot of prayer and thought, we decided to use My Father's World for our main studies. This eliminates the bulk of the lesson planning for me. In years past, I have tried to create my own "plan", but because I am such a perfectionist, I never really got them just so and therefore never really felt like I accomplished what I wanted to with the plans. Books went left unread, activities went left undone - mostly because I was always researching what to do next - instead of doing what needed to be done now. Using My Father's World Creation to Greeks this year has made it possible for me to do activities with the children, we are making our way through different books and I don't have to spend my time figuring out what to do next - it is already laid out for me! This has required that I am more disciplined though and it takes conscious effort to not try to look around and see what else is out there.
In my main MFW teacher's manual there is a weekly grid with the plans laid out. I pencil in the date along the top and check things off as we go. I also have an inexpensive lesson plan book by ELAN (#6WPL). This is where I jot down all the rest of the stuff - the Teaching Textbooks lessons completed, where Mr. Fix-It is in his 1st grade curriculum, what activities I did with Maya and what books Mr. Lego is reading to the littles. I also spent some time at the beginning of the year sketching out our "schedule". This is flexible, but I know that there are weeks I have planned off and weeks that we need to be more dedicated. The balance is nice though and it is also helpful to be able to see on a calendar that if we persevere, then we will have a "free" week off soon!
So, the content studies are all planned out for me using My Father's World. All of the skills subjects are do-the-next thing, so we just have to pick up where we left off the day before and start working again. The skills subjects include math and language arts. We are using Math Mammoth and Teaching Textbooks for math and Phonics Road and MFW 1st grade for language arts. There is no extra planning required for these subjects, but I do make a note in my plan book as to what was accomplished each day (or if I am behind on note taking - each week!) Oh, I also jot down here what we have been doing with any TOS Review Crew materials we are reviewing at the time. Many of them tend to be computer based and if I don't write it down, I forget to add them into our routine.
In the beginning of homeschooling, Lesson Planning seemed more difficult. As I have become more familiar with my teaching style, my children's learning style and have more concrete goals for our homeschool, lesson planning has become easier and more enjoyable. Now the difficult thing is staying on the path that we have started and not be lured by the siren song of bigger, better, easier, faster, smarter curricula!
So, how do you lesson plan?! Be sure to stop by the Blog Cruise blogs to gain some inspiration on how to plan your year!