**note to my readers who have already read my previous post about skulls: I’ve edited it with a note at the end. Please read if I left you with any questions or concerns about my (lack) of understanding. -Gina 10/30/17
Not homeschooling? Cool. Still planning for your family anyway? Read on. I think you can make this work for you, especially if you’re planning for more than one child each day.
This week marks my 3rd month in my 8th year of homeschooling. That means it’s about my 1,300th day of this gig. And while many moms are much more inclined towards organization and systems and had this figured out before they started educating at home…I’m not naturally inclined towards scheduling though I do love how well things work when I have a schedule.
“Just follow the syllabus, Gina…” you’re thinking. “It’s not that hard.”
But it is hard. I feel tied down to the syllabus if I don’t allow room for tweaking it, or ditching it in favor of beach days. And then when I do that, I feel like the syllabus is only a reminder of how I’m not meeting pre-planned goals.
For those homeschoolers among the readers, I like to call myself a classical unschooler. Teaching and learning in the classical style, digging into the literature and growing vocabulary with Latin makes the intellectual part of me swoon. Then there’s the care-free part of me, that loves escaping with the kids to the outdoors, exploring the mountains and hills and beaches and learning as we go by making discoveries in the great world around us.
Following the pre-planned syllabus makes the year harder on me, because it doesn’t leave wiggle room. Even planning only a 5-day week in advance is hard for me, because my children learn at different paces, and let’s be honest, some days run perfectly and others grind to a screeching halt before breakfast. Some days our learning follows the plan, and others we follow the rabbit trails or the call of the ocean and walk the beach searching for jellies and starfish and mermaids’ purses. Very few of my days roll smoothly into the next, so any specific preplanned weeks move from Plan A to Plan X rapidly.
My solution to to not having to start over with a new lesson plan every few days? It’s sort of a bullet journal hack. I use a composition notebook, sticky notes, and any pen or pencil I can find. (Please tell me I am not the only mom of kids who constantly lose pens and pencils.)
Each day looks like this:
- Day of the week
- A “block” for each child, followed by square box bullet points for each assignment
- Sticky notes for the things I need to remind myself of, or things that came up through the day and I want to revisit. Why sticky notes? Because they are removable and repositionable. I often move them from day to day, or write notes for myself and then move around to my lesson planner or my Blessed Is She planner.
Towards the back of the book, I labeled pages to track our reading. There is one page for each child, and one page for read-alouds and Audible books. The sticky note here is to remind me of books I want to read later. Once we have read it (or at least started it), I write the title in the notebook.
And that’s it. Literally. I have done a lesson planner notebook like this for a few years now, usually doing one for each child. This year I am so happy seeing all 4 school-aged kids’ plans on one page.
This system works so well for me because I can adjust it daily, I see details for all my students at once, and it’s so simple to maintain.
Now I’m thinking about also adding a few pages to collect our best school-day memories, so I can keep track of the things we love about learning together.
What would you add to a planner system like this? Maybe recipe and meal ideas for school days?