Thursday, March 15, 2012


I *heart* school planning.

It is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling to be honest. I love planning our trajectory for the year and then breaking it down into achievable pieces. I love watching the plans play out through the year too, but it's the anticipation that comes with those brand new plans that I so enjoy.

Phase one consists of gathering ideas. I look at a ton of curriculum online, I check out what other people with children in that particular grade are doing and get a giant list going of materials that have a possibility of working for us. Basically, I induce curriculum fog upon myself and when I'm good and muddy about all the choices out there I sit back for awhile to think.

Phase two consists of writing down goals for the year. I take all that muddiness in my brain and clarify what is important to me and my husband, what I know my kids love, and what developmentally appropriate skills they need to obtain by the end of that grade.

I've been hanging out with these goals for several weeks now, tweaking anything that didn't seem quite right, and flat out eliminating some of them that I finally decided didn't fit with our overall homeschooling goals. I think they're set now, and I'm ready to move on to phase three.

Remember phase one where I looked at a million and one books to see what was out there? Phase three is defined by culling that giant list. I eliminate anything that doesn't fit with our goals or educational philosophy. And then comes all the outside factors, and this is the land I'm currently living in:

Does this material best help us accomplish our goals?

How does it fit in our budget?

Can this material be used again with the next child?

Will my kid(s) enjoy using the material?

Am I interested in this material because it looks like "another good thing" or because it will truly add value to our homeschool that I don't have anywhere else?

It's a bit of a jigsaw puzzle really. I'm trying to decide which curriculum is a must budget-wise and then the rest is a bit of give and take- if I buy a certain curriculum I may not be able to afford another curriculum, and I always want to make sure I'm getting what will truly help us most. I'm fortunate to have access to a truly awesome library system and I take full advantage for our literature, history and science book lists so that I ony have to buy spines that we'll be using for a full semester or year.

And when I make the final decisions on curriculum I'll get to the truly fun part- dividing our year into four 13 week quarters (leaving 4 weeks unplanned to account for unexpected time off or rabbit trails), then dividing the work down into weeks.

I'm really liking the look of our plans for next year so far, and as soon as I get some decisions made you know I'll be sure to share!

1 comment:

  1. I'm doing similar muddy activity here, organizing lesson materials for a school in Haiti. Thank goodness there are so many materials available for free from the web! I am mainly using French language materials and have found a site that is working with me on translating some of their materials. But it is chaos frankly:
    What does the school want?
    What do the teachers want?
    What do I want and think the children would benefit from?

    There are no affordable materials (pencils, paper, copying, crayons, markers, glue...available.)
    I am allowed only a certain amount of baggage. But I have come up with a good deal of stuff and yes, it is terribly exciting!

    I look forward to your 2012-2013 plans!


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