Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How I Am Planning My School

The first year I was forced to make school plans I was terrified and I put it off and put it off until the very last second. I got it done just days before Lily was born. Okay, my mom got it done with me kicking and screaming, being dragged along behind just days before Lily was born. I was very intimidated.

Last year was better.

This year I’m downright excited. I’m not even done with school this year and I’m planning next year already. I’m excited about the curriculum we’re using. I am excited to learn Latin with Ella, I’m excited to learn piano with Ella, I’m excited to watch Rachel learn to read, and I’m excited to introduce Sarah to more complex math. Everything is exciting.

My advice to new homeschoolers: get curriculum you’re excited about. You’re enthusiasm will be contagious.

Okay, I’ll stop acting like I know everything (because I don’t) and move on to the facts. It seems like I’ve got a heavy schedule for Ella, but it’s not really that bad. The only things she will be doing daily are reading, grammar, math and Latin. The rest of the subjects will be just one or two times a week. I’ve found with history that I can accomplish it all in one day and then the rest of the week I can formulate a plan for a project that goes along with the history lesson. I’d like to try to get everything done in just four days so that Friday we can do “field trips.” This might be pushing it but I’m going to at least try.

My initial plans look like this. VERY subject to major tweaking.

Monday – spelling, reading, penmanship, grammar, Latin, math, writing, music
Tuesday - spelling, reading, grammar, Latin, math, science, history
Wednesday - spelling, reading, penmanship, grammar, Latin, math, writing, art
Thursday - reading, grammar, Latin, math, science, history
Friday – field trip or make up work

Spelling workout – 15 minutes, daily
Reading/making notebook page – 30 minutes, daily
Grammar – 20 to 30 minutes, daily
Writing – 20 to 30 minutes, 2x weekly (Ella only)
Math – 40 to 60 minutes, daily
History – 3 hours a week
Science – 60 to 90 minutes, 2x weekly
Latin – memorize vocab, study language daily (Ella only unless Sarah/Rachel want to)
Art – 1 hour, weekly
Music – 1 hour, weekly
Penmanship – 10 minutes, 2x weekly

I like the spelling book because I can easily divide it into three days. Each lesson has four pages. The first page is just reading a little blurb about something informative (frogs or kites for instance) and they highlight words that contain the spelling rule for the week. The back side of that page introduces the spelling words, rules and has an exercise in sorting the words according to the spelling rule/s in the lesson. I have them do that the first day. The next two pages are just more exercises in understanding the rule. I have them do one on each of the next two days. The last page also includes editing marks like the capitalization mark, etc., and a short essay for them to write using the spelling words.

Next year Ella will begin doing things more independently. Like history. So far I’ve been reading the history lesson to her and then asking her the questions orally. Next year she is going to read the history lesson herself and I will mix oral with written questions. They will do history at the same time only I’ll be reading the history orally to Sarah. I hope that this will cut down on the chaos. Sometimes this year it’s been nuts in the school room because I’ll be reading history or trying to do math with Ella while my mom is doing OPG with Sarah or her very own, innovative Kindergarten Potpourri. The curricula were so very different that we were very often competing for the kids’ attention. Since they will be doing history, art, music, grammar, science, math, penmanship and spelling at the same time I am hoping that there won’t be as much competition for air space, if you know what I mean. Hopefully all the training that’s gone into Ella will pay off next year in an independent learner.

I also plan to institute “quiet time.” For one hour starting this summer I am going to put all the kids down in a bed and they can either sleep or read. For Ella and Sarah this will be the “reading” portion of school. When they are done reading a book they will be drawing a picture and giving a synopsis of the book.

My school ROCKS y’all.

We’ll see how this turns out. The best laid school plans are often crushed by laziness and TOO MUCH BLOG READING.


Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

What a comprehensive plan. I hope I can be HALF as organized when we get into the thick of homeschooling.

Joanna said...

Mmmm...I don't know about organized. Organized?

Read The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise-Bauer. That's where I got much as I can. I'm not very organized.

One more time, ready? ORGANIZED.

Start figuring out your curriculum choices now. I wish I had. I felt behind once Ella was 5 and I all the sudden had to make those choices.

Lawanda said...

It does ROCK!! I haven't been that organized since...... ok...well never... haha

That's awesome that you are so pumped !!! :-D

Johanna said...

It looks like a good plan! I need to get started on plans, too. Blog reading derailing plans? What are you talking about? :)