Sunday, February 22, 2015

Preparing for the week

I get asked a lot about how I plan our weeks out in order that we accomplish so much. I always find the question a wee bit intimidating because for a start, it's not about how much a person accomplishes as much as it's about the content of what they accomplish. I can buzz through an entire schedule of stuff in a week, but if my kids walk away with no knowledge of what we learned then it was a waste of time & effort. I also suspect if you were to write out what you did each week you might discover you do/did more then you give yourself credit for. Give it a go & see!

Our planning tends to start way back over the summer holidays, if not sooner in the tail ends of the final terms of school. I keep notes in my planner all year long of what my goals & intentions for the coming school year are. This makes selecting curriculum a lot more simple. If I know I want my eldest to work on his expository writing skills then I need to pick a curriculum with that focus over creative writing. If I want a child to focus on World History then I can greatly reduce the choices out there.

From there I tend to keep a running file in Numbers/Excel which breaks our year down by terms. We tend to work in 10 week terms with 9 fully loaded academic weeks. The 10th week is left for catching up on projects or areas we've slipped behind in for any reasons. If we're on track {we're never always on track with every subject} then we use that spare time for reviews, extra projects, & so forth.

Most curriculum is based on a US 36 week school schedule & because we tend to school in 10 week sessions that's where the 9 week break down comes from. Incase you were wondering. We do occasionally end up with an 8 or 9 week only term, which is usually the last one of the year, but only if the work is completed!

This means by the time the actual planning of a week rolls around it's a painless 5 minute or less to get things on the schedule, printed, & into my planner for the week ahead. I make a planning sheet like the one above for each child. It's slipped into their section in my planner behind which I'll find all the notes from their given curriculum for the week ahead. I have a pocket at the front of each child's section which hold timeline figures or notebooking pages so they know where to easily locate them.

This year the kids asked to just have a copy of the sheet for their own planners which works too. They trim the outside box & glue it into their Lego Planners. They love the ease of this, all though there are blank places on the planners such as for filling in what math pages will be accomplished on which days of the week.

It's really that simple! Some of our lessons take longer then others, & some of our school days are also longer then others. We also only schedule a 4 day academic week, leaving our final day for catching up, socialising, outings, & so forth. Some weeks this means we do 4 solid days in a row & then go out, other weeks we might do 3 full days & 2 half-days. It simply depends upon what's on the calendar for the outings & events for the week.

No comments: