Thursday, July 30, 2009

School Planning

Josh: "Caution! It's almost time to start school!"

By Jove, I think I've about Got it!

I have been plugging away at school planning here and there throughout the summer. After a few recent "all-nighters" (meaning 2-3AM at the VERY latest), I am feeling fairly comfortable with beginning our next school year.

As I struggle with how to articulate what I've done, I am feeling as though I will not be able to communicate this very clearly. I have not done anything complicated; in fact, everything I have done has been in order to simplify and STREAMLINE!

My planning system is broken into three major parts (and then some other things...) First of all, there is the CRATE. This is the major guts of my planning. I have a manila folder for each week. Inside each folder, I have a sheet for each day. On the sheet for each day, I have listed each subject and then left a space for each child under the subjects. I typed out my sheet according to the general order in which we do school.

I do NOT have each line filled out for the whole school year... I wish! I DO have history, Literature (read aloud books), and geography filled in. I have also made note of special writing assignments which will go along with history. Behind each day's sheet, I have placed any hand-outs, quizzes, or History Pockets we will be using for the day. For example, behind each Monday sheet, there is a drill page for the girls' Latin words.

For a moment, I will back up and fill you in on how the crate came into being...

I began my planning with history and literature. I put 36 manila folders on the dining room table, and then I spread out the books (both individual reads and read-alouds) and Veritas Press cards among the folders. *I don't have ALL of their individual reads planned for the whole year, because I like to allow room for library choices and other things. There are some individual reads, however, that go along with the time period we will be studying, and I wanted to be sure we read them at the right time of year.

Next (in order to preserve sanity and finally cut the clutter off the table), I broke the books down into assigned reading portions and wrote them on the assignment sheets in the folders. This allowed the books to return to their spot in our school area. I had previously made copies of the History pockets for each child, so I spread them out through the file folders. I added in our geograpy sheets, Latin drill pages, IEW writing assignments, and anything else that needed to be filed.

In addition to the CRATE, I also have my giant TEACHER NOTEBOOK.

I mentioned that I did not have each day filled out for the year. In the teacher notebook, I have dividers for each subject. Behind the dividers, I have placed a syllabus (without dates... just a list of the order of lessons) for each class. This is so that when I do my late Sunday PM prep. (or sometimes early Monday AM), I can pull out my folder for the week and fill in the assignments. Each day I slip the assignment sheet from the file folder into the front of the teacher notebook.

School in our home is never a perfectly ordered event. I am usually fielding questions about assignments as I am working with other children. I try to head this off as much as possible; nevertheless, it happens. Keeping this detailed daily sheet handy keeps interruptions to a minimum!

Also located in the TEACHER NOTEBOOK is all of our memory work. Each day after Bible, we spend about 15-20 minutes reviewing things from years past and the current year. I have a divider section for each subject that we cover during memory time: Bible verses, catechism, Science, Latin, Art, and History. Behind each divider is stored any information that we will review through the year. For example, behind the art divider I have pictures of famous paintings and their artists. I have a copy of the Latin prayers and declension chants behind the Latin divider, etc.

This evening I spent about an hour doing something a little over the top for my memory work section, but I trust that it will save me a great deal of "rummaging time" as we progress through the school year.

I made a cumulative review master sheet. A what?? I just made a list of our memory subjects, and then I went ahead and broke down our material into which information would be reviewed on which days. Soooo... Now I know that on Monday of week 3, we will review Bible verses 1,2; Catechism questions 40-45; Latin verb chants; science fact sheet 3; History facts 28-30; Renaissance painters, etc.

The third and final major part of my planning are the INDEPENDENT NOTEBOOKS. I made these for the oldest three... Josh won't be doing too much independently this year. In the evening when I am preparing for the next day, I will fill out a sheet for each child and place it open on their desks. This notebook details for them any work which should be able to be completed without assistance. I will write their journal topic, Bible passage to read, current memory verse, math, spelling, grammar, Independent reading, and home ec. assignments.

Keeping on track with school during cross country season has been a challenge for me in the past. Hopefully, taking most of the guesswork and last minute planning away will enable us to "Keep on Truckin'," both in school AND on the cross country course! :)

The final thing I did different for this year was create a "special work" notebook. Instead of filing stuff and figuring out what to do with it at the end of the school year, I am planning on putting "keeper" papers and assignments into the notebook from the start.

It should save me time at the end of the school year, AND Scott will be able to check out their work easily.


Elizabeth said...

I am tired just reading this! I hope you have a great school year!

Meal Planning with Connie said...


This all looks so organized!! I know you guys will have a great, great year!! Hugs and best wishes to all!!!
Love y'all!!!

Hannah said...

I'm not ready to start school back!

See you tonight,

Anonymous said...

NNNNNNOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! not again!
and yet the torcher begins... :P
just kidding. I'm actually looking forward to this school year, believe it or not. okay, so I'm looking forward to everything except for math and science... :(

Anita said...

oh, my!

Roan said...

Love it!! While our planning specifics are different, we are kindred spirits when it comes to planning! I love your children's notebooks, what a good idea to put their pictures on them....mine look kinda boring!
I know you will have a great year!