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Year Round Schooling and Planning...Tell Me How YOU Do IT


amandajh
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I'm trying to decide exactly HOW I want to do this.... schedule breaks or take as needed, use a paper planner or computer based planner, set up file folders by week or subject, just keep going with subjects when finished with one level (even if it is not "time" to move to next level) or finish all at one time and begin new on certain date.

You get what I mean....:bigear:

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I look over what I want to do for the year.

I add up how much time the WTM has for each subject for kiddo's age (e.g. 2 hours twice a week = 4x 36= 144 hour then /12 to get 12 hours a month).

 

I look at my curriculum and make rough outlines of how far that 12 hours will get me in a year. So far, everything does fine with that (e.g. I can finish GWG in 10 months doing 15 sessions of 15 minutes per month, and use the last 2 months to review, to do MCT, or, if he's up to snuff, move onto the next level).

 

I keep track of what we do in each subject on a month per page grid, and if I'm behind in some subject on the 15th, I start to do it every day until I'm back up to speed. I also plan vacations, etc, and do about half the extra work before and half after. I like to stay on top of things in case of sickness/unforseen events/etc.

 

We only take about 40 days off a year, total. I can get plenty of school work done in 1-2 hours per day, on average (plus PE, shop, and field trips with daddy). We might do 3 weeknights of 1 hour, one of 2 hours, and then Sat/Sun do 4-6 hours of projects, science, art, etc.

 

I work full time, plus kiddo is *very* social and spends his evenings at the Y with his "pack" or at the park playing "pick up".

 

HTH

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I wouldn't make it more complicated than it needs to be.

 

Plan when you'll take big holiday breaks; plan subjects by what you'll do each time you work on those subjects, not necessarily by specific days; take necessary breaks when you want. When you finish something, move on to the next thing, whenever that is.

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We're still on a 36-week schedule, but we spread it out through the year, so 36 weeks/12 months=3 weeks/month.

 

Practically, this works out to 1 week off per month, + 4 weeks off to use as needed. Usually, I just wait until we're going to have a busy week (family visiting, appts, etc--not school busy) and then take it off. Or if we're all feeling a little burned out, I'll just decide to take the next week off.

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I prepare 15 weeks of work at a time. I just label them Week 1, Week 2, etc. Then we have 4 months to complete the schedule. If the kids want to work ahead they can. If we decide to take a day or a week off, we do. But the schedule must be completed by the end of the fourth month - April, August or December.

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Every year is different for us. It all depends on what is happening around us. This past year we started in Aug and took some time off in Sept as we took a month-long road trip to Ontario. We took a month off in Dec. and then we just took time off as we needed it. I am planning to take a break in the middle of June and then start up again in Aug. We'll see how next year goes as we come to it.

 

I am usually not a planner but as I have 3 kids now to teach and one of them is a middle schooler, I thought I should have a bit more intent in my planning. I did the file folders for the whole year. I love the folders but it did not work for us to do the whole year at the same time. It was just too chaotic. So for this year I think I will either do the folders monthly or maybe even weekly. The file folders did add peace to our daily routine.

 

When we get to the end of a program, we just move on to the next book, regardless of what time of year it is.

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I pick a curriculum, we do it until we are done, taking breaks as needed/wanted. When we are done w/a curriculum, I will take a week break (or so) to either get ready for the next round or (normally) for something more practical.

 

ex. we took a 2 week break when ds 2 was born, we finished saxon 1 in february, took a 2 week break to potty train ds1 (successfully poop trained). She will be done w/ the 1st book of MEP at the end of May & we will take a week or so (however long it takes) to *finish* potty training ds1 :)

 

we started doin year round for 2 reasons - 1. OPG does not go just 1 year so we just kept going until we were done and 2. when we take more than a week break, it becomes a struggle to get back into the routine of school everyday.

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Well, I'm including pictures of what I do because it's all contained in a 3 ring 4" binder. First I make up my new schedule for the year. I then construct my binder. Here goes.....

 

DSCN0337.jpg

 

Here you can see the yearly schedule for our school year. We start school on August 1st and will complete this year about May 20th. The weeks we are in school are marked in Green, Breaks are in red, and summer vacation is in blue. We do math throughout the summer vaca though. We have our school year divided up by doing 6 weeks of school work, and then taking a 1 week break. We take 2 weeks at Christmas, a week at Easter, and have our summer vacation from the end of May to the the first full week of August when we begin our new school year.

 

DSCN0338.jpg

 

I also print up calendars and display them in the classroom so that my kids can see when a break is coming up.

 

DSCN0347.jpg

 

I have the binder sectioned into weeks from 1-36. I have all of their lesson plans in the corresponding weeks.

 

 

DSCN0350.jpg

 

Next, I have a file folder pocket included in that week that I put all tests, work pages, and anything else I deem important from that week. Each child's work goes in there and they are color coded. I use a paper clip that matches their color to clip the papers together.

 

DSCN0351.jpg

 

DSCN0352.jpg

 

At the back of the binder there are sections for science supply list items, grade sheets, art ideas for the year and attendance forms for the school district.

 

DSCN0354.jpg

 

DSCN0356.jpg

 

Hope this has helped explain how we do things. I'm sorry the pictures are big. I've tried resizing them a bunch of times.

Edited by 3Blessings4Me
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I pick a curriculum, we do it until we are done, taking breaks as needed/wanted. When we are done w/a curriculum, I will take a week break (or so) to either get ready for the next round or (normally) for something more practical.

We do things similarly. It becomes part of our normal day at home. When we are done with a curriculum, we take a break. Although, for instance with math, we'll take a month-ish break between levels, but still work on some basic math facts or play a simple math game so that the information is not lost and not totaling more than 10ish min/day. I also go a little lighter during the summer and around Christmas. Math and LA are always done during the lighter times.

 

If dad takes a day off for any reason, the there is no school. If he's at work, then we school. And a few discretionary days off when mom feels like it. ;) Otherwise, we plug along. It is amazing how much we cover this way with very little planning.

 

So far this schedule has been working really well for us.

Edited by ChrisB
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We're only doing 1st & Pre-K this year, so... ;)

 

Initially, I thought I would plan 36 weeks for each content subject (which I did), put all the seat work in colored folders in a file box labeled by 36 weeks (which I did), and then do the "3 on, 1 off" routine (which I didn't). In February/March I had serious hypothyroid issues, so there were days that I simply could NOT move, let alone teach. As I've been slowly recovering, we've had some good days, some not-so-good days, and (lately) some GREAT days! :hurray: Hooray!

 

So now my philosophy is: Get up, get ready for the day, then do the next thing. If that needs to be laundry, then do laundry. If that needs to be math, then do math. If everyone desperately needs exercise and fresh air and sunshine, then go out the door. Do as much as possible, keeping life in balance.

 

You have to realize that my "as much as possible" feels like an all-day, uphill climb, but slow and steady is the only way we can manage. If I looked at charts and calendars every day, I would be too discouraged to continue. As it is, the girls are doing GREAT with everything.

 

So phooey to the calendar. :001_tt2: This means we (at this point) do not have "on" weeks or "off" weeks. Instead, we simply do school, life, play, chores, work, and try to keep it all in balance. I would never (at this point) waste a perfectly good day when school work is possible. Are you kidding? :lol: If the energy is there, the laundry & housework are pulled together well enough, and I have something figured out for supper -- we do school. We stop before we all burn out. For me, this works so much better than a rigid calendar and/or daily schedule.

 

I would never be able to "succeed" with that kind of system, even if my hormones were normal. So why set myself up to feel like a failure every day? The "do the next thing" approach works for us, and we are in this way successfully homeschooling. HTH.

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We do things similarly. It becomes part of our normal day at home. When we are done with a curriculum, we take a break. Although, for instance with math, we'll take a month-ish break between levels, but still work on some basic math facts or play a simple math game so that the information is not lost and not totaling more than 10ish min/day. I also go a little lighter during the summer and around Christmas. Math and LA are always done during the lighter times.

 

If dad takes a day off for any reason, the there is no school. If he's at work, then we school. And a few discretionary days off when mom feels like it. ;) Otherwise, we plug along. It is amazing how much we cover this way with very little planning.

 

So far this schedule has been working really well for us.

 

:iagree: Yes, this is also part of it for us -- my husband has such an unpredictable work schedule. We never know until the night before what his assignment will be for the following day (he's in the OR). :tongue_smilie:He might work until midnight, or he might go to work at 4 am and walk in at noon. He has "messed up" a few of our school days, but HEY, Daddy's home! :lol: Nothing gets done after he comes through the door. :toetap05:

 

He might also be "on call." Will he get a case or not? We don't know until he either does or doesn't ;), so we will sometimes do school work on those days. Or not. But, yes, hubby is a factor here. In a good way, of course. :D

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I'm trying to decide exactly HOW I want to do this.... schedule breaks or take as needed, use a paper planner or computer based planner, set up file folders by week or subject, just keep going with subjects when finished with one level (even if it is not "time" to move to next level) or finish all at one time and begin new on certain date.

You get what I mean....:bigear:

 

We do roughly 6 weeks on 1 week off year round. We take 2 weeks at Christmas and 2 weeks in June and a couple in August. We also feel free to take a day off here and there during the year. Birthdays are days off as well.

 

I use my own crafted paper planner. I do better on paper.

 

I file by subject per child. Copy everything I need during a bigger break in the summer. Then I have one week of folders color coded for each child. I file our work for the upcoming week in there. I used to do 6 weeks at a time, but would get all messed up if we had an unexpected day off. This way it's only a few days that get messed up because of something unexpected.

 

As far as what I do when we finish something that kind of varies. Math we just continue with year long so that we just go onto the next book when we need to. During the summer we school lighter so by the end of May I like to have Grammar, Latin, Writing, Spelling and Logic finished. With spelling and logic we just stop wherever we are and pick up again in August. The others we finish out our books and start the new ones in Aug.

 

This year we will school history and science through the summer because I want to finish what we're on for the benefit of my upcoming 5th grader. I want him to start clean next year in both subjects. Otherwise, we'd drop those two subjects for the summer.

 

I think it is important to give their brains somewhat of a break, but for the benefit of my aspie child we need to keep somewhat of a routine too. And... frankly, all the kids do better with some focused time during the day instead of the entire day to themselves.

 

This summer I am also having each child choose a hobby or something they would like to spend some time on each day learning. My older son has chosen programming. I think my daughter is going to choose sewing on the sewing machine. I'm not sure what the little guys will choose yet (I'm guessing one will choose Lego building). I thought it would be nice to have a time when everybody pursues an interest.

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I use HST+. I enter in a years worth of lessons (takes me about a week for all subjects). Our school year starts the first full week in Sep and goes through the last full week in August. This gives us a week long break most years without thinking about it.

 

With HST I can go ahead and highlight any days that I know for sure we will not be schooling such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, Dr. appointments etc. After that it is simple. When we need a day off for whatever reason, we simply shift the lessons over by using the reschedule feature on HST. If we do only a half day and some of the subjects need to reschedule, I can do the reschedule by certain subjects as well. I tried to do all this with a paper planner, but the arrows and erasing and circles as I tried to move things! AHHH!

 

When I notice that we are coming to the end of a level in a subject, I simply add the next level into HST and place it in our schedule. So one book picks up when another is finished. It is fairly seamless.

 

This works for us because:

 

1) the work of planning is minimal for me (well after I figured out how to use HST).

 

2) We can take a break whenever, for however long we need to, without feeling like the schedule is too messed up to fix. I love the reschedule feature!

 

3) We can reschedule if we are enjoying a certain week of study, and want to put it in park and ruminate on that topic a little longer. I love not having to worry about finishing x amount of work before the 180 days. I dont like to feel rushed.

 

4) I also like that I can print a week plan for each kid. This helps them to know what we would like to accomplish, but we are not married to the plan. Every week I print a new plan. They like getting their weekly work chart (even my 4yo wants one for his preschool book :lol:). When he finishes a page, he checks a box. At the end of the week they are handed to me and Daddy gets to see what they have accomplished. I then use their checked boxes to enter in the HST page. After I have updated what they have finished, I hit reschedule for what they have not and it all gets bumped to the next week. Hit print, and next week is planned out!

 

5) I can feel relaxed because I know we will get through all our subjects and more without feeling rushed, but still know that it was a challenging and productive year. I think if I felt like we had to finish in x amount of time and still have time for the summer break, I would be more stressed in my teaching style. School would probably be less fun for the kids and for mom!

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For skill stuff like math and reading, we simply move on to the next level once the current one is finished. Other things we just take a break from and restart after our holiday break in January. We substitute with other things, like science kits and history stories instead of starting a new curriculum, although the books we read are usually recommended by AO or Sonlight or another publisher.

 

We also take breaks when we need them. We just got back from a couple of days off, actually. And even on those days, we still end up reading aloud and usually doing some kind of art project.

Edited by Aurelia
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I use HST+ for my lesson planning. Basically, I take everything we're doing, stick it all in there, then each week, I assign things to the assignment grid. It automatically jumps over any holidays and such I've put in. We don't normally take off on holidays though, except Christmas/Thanksgiving. Those little "bank holidays" on Mondays, we school right through. I do better with a normal 5 day week.

 

We school roughly 6 weeks on, 1 week off, though last week off we still did half school. That actually went better, but I would like to give his brain a good, long, full week break soon. He'll have Cub Scout camp soon, so that might be a good time. Definitely not doing any school that week! I might even let him have the following week off also.

 

During my 1 week off, I plan for the next 6 weeks, making copies or printing things out that we'll likely do the next 6 weeks. In some areas, we are always going to stick with the week designation - like history or WWE. Those are easy to stick to. Science might take a rabbit trail (we're doing interest-led). Math sometimes goes faster than I expect. I have folders labeled Week 1 through Week 6. I put the papers in there, but I group them by subject, so if we get ahead or behind, I'm not having to rearrange a TON of things.

 

I do not try to schedule different curricula to end at the same time. There's no way I could possibly do that. We started halfway through the school year, in January. We'd already been doing math, and were accelerating it at that, so he was ready for the next grade math in March, I believe. SOTW1 won't be finished until probably October. WWE1 will finish in September. We'll probably be moving up another grade in math in August. Spelling is by levels, not grade, so we've done 2 levels in 3 months. We changed grammar curriculum partway through the semester, did a first grade text in a month, and now we're doing the 2nd grade text at normal pace. I haven't calculated when we'll finish it... it'd be sometime this fall, I guess. October or November maybe?

 

So we're all over the place in grades/levels and how long it takes to finish a curriculum. I go at my child's pace, not at a 36 week pace. WWE happens to be a good pace as written. SOTW is easily done at 1 chapter per week. Other things, we've accelerated as needed. When we finish one book, we start the next. Not a big deal. :)

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Our 'year' begins August 1st. That is how I gauge what grade my ds11 is in. But we just do 3 weeks on, 1 week off, year round.

 

When we finish a curriculum book, we move right on into the next.

 

Here is what we do:

 

Spelling Workout G - one chapter per week (the workbook has 4/5 sections and ds does one to two sections daily, and Friday is a quick written spelling test). There are some days he wants to get it all done in one setting. As long as he's doing well on the tests - it's fine with me.

 

Second Form Latin - one chapter per week (there are about 5 workbook pages per chapter, we do oral review, flashcards, etc. We spend 30 minutes a day and I sit with ds while he does Latin because that is how I keep up with it - makes it pretty easy).

 

WWE4 - a narration and dictation daily

 

SOTW4 - one chapter per week (one outline, one written summary, outside reading, maps, and test on Friday) There were 42 chapters in each of the volumes. That put us behind the 4-year rotation. It's fine, we're starting the logic stage of history as described in TWTM in August, and my younger one will also be starting SOTW1. We'll be studying the same material on different levels, but it's going to make it much easier for me to stay completely plugged in.

 

Saxon Math 7/6 - one lesson per day. Again, some days he wants to double-up and do two lessons so he can have a light day on Friday. I don't care - as long as he has five lessons done per week (or that includes if he has a test) - it's totally fine with me. It gives ds some control and he loves that.

 

R&S6 English - one lesson per day

 

God's Design for Science - one lesson per day

 

Building Thinking Skills - as many pages as we can complete in 20/30 minutes

 

Reading is always linked in with history and we read books together because I want to be part of it!

 

I order our new books when we get down to our last few chapters. This is much easier on me financially because I don't have to buy all at once. We finish stuff at different times throughout the year. We do a full 36 weeks of school. I don't plan our breaks at the beginning of the year. We pretty much stick with every 3rd week off, but sometimes we do change that depending on vacations and little trips we take. All in all, he gets five school days off per month and if we don't have anything going on - I let him decide.

 

As far as sick days - he's got to be on his death bed not to do school.

 

Our days are ugly! They are not neat and tidy. We get it done, but we still have chaos of life going on, and I'm usually in my pajamas!

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As far as sick days - he's got to be on his death bed not to do school.

 

Our days are ugly! They are not neat and tidy. We get it done, but we still have chaos of life going on, and I'm usually in my pajamas!

 

Oh, this about the sick days just made me LOL! Ahhh, I needed a good chuckle - thanks!! Pajamas are usually involved here also! (And I think your purchase-as-you-need idea may be the "ah-ha" I needed to make our school budget much more do-able. I am so stressed right now trying to piece together everything I can find used. It's almost not worth it...almost...:D)

 

I haven't read all the prev posts, but our local PS has a year-round schedule I was considering following. They do 9 weeks on 3 weeks off with a bit of a longer break sometime in the summer & around Christmas, I believe. I would def have to tweak according to our own vacations, etc... but not too much. I find that when we break too often my little ones aren't *enthusiastic* about starting back up. I think it's an age thing though since they are 1st grade and under. My older one (now in 9th grade) has been fine with a shorter on/off schedule & being a little less structured in that way.

 

I usually use a 9-week "quarter planner" from DonnaYoung for each subject for the younger grades and have moved to HST+ for my high schooler. Either way I can easily move a week if I need to. I was planning one quarter at a time and using the "break" to plan the next quarter. I may try to plan further out this year...

 

HTH in some way!

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We follow a traditional school year w/ breaks at Christmas and a spring break. We take 2 weeks off in June, a couple days over Independence Day and a couple weeks at the beginning of August. This gives us more than our 180 days but that means if some days are light or we take a field trip we will still cover everything. As we finish something we just start the next level.

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Hope this has helped explain how we do things. I'm sorry the pictures are big. I've tried resizing them a bunch of times.

 

AWesome!! I love it! Where did you fin the file dividers or did you put the labels on yourself?! :D

 

 

ETA: Why 2 tabs per week? Is that because one is in the schedule and one is the pocket containing the printable "stuff"? I'm curious. ;) I've always used a filebox, but am really planning on a binder so I'm loving what you've got going! :D

Edited by kolamum
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I think it really depends on: your state's reporting requirements, your kids ages, and your personality.

 

I don't have to report anything to my state, my kids are young, and I'm a naturally 30-yr-plan type who doesn't like to waste time on minutia. For me that means I think about what I want to accomplish in a year, scale that to in the next quarter (3mo) and 1mo (both in terms of a goal and a minimum to accomplish). I plan for that, then re-evaluate in 1mo and adjust my "plans" quarterly. For me, personalized education is a moving target, so I know where I want them to be at the end of HS, and keep that and 1yr goals in my mind as guidelines, but only really worry about planning in the short term (1-3mo).

 

Not to say I don't have some high school curricula [tentatively] picked out for my 7yo, though. :lol:

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I wouldn't make it more complicated than it needs to be.

 

Plan when you'll take big holiday breaks; plan subjects by what you'll do each time you work on those subjects, not necessarily by specific days; take necessary breaks when you want. When you finish something, move on to the next thing, whenever that is.

 

If only I could let things be simple :) My husband also sees things the way you have so logically worded them, but my problem is letting go of the organizing.....but then life happens and we never actually follow the system that I have spent hours setting up and I feel like I have failed.

I have no requirements in our state other than reporting that I homeschool, we have children that love to learn and are really great kids, we are always able to catch up if we fall a little behind in something, we take off when we need to and work when we have to......SOOOOOO why do I feel the need to plan, organize, count lessons left and disperse them throughout the next few months so we can just "FINISH THAT BOOK", make file systems, print calendars, write out scope and sequences, and redecorate our school room when we begin a "new school year"? I assume it is the fact that I still have a warped, public school system mindset in this area. I don't know. I may need therapy LOL:D

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Okay, another thought....If we use SOTW, WWE, FLL, Spelling Power, interest led science, CLE Math, Latina Christiana I, some Queen's Homeschool books and lots of library books then why do I need to plan? I mean it is all numbered (except science and literature) by lessons and we should be able to just do it by day or by week, right? We already have mixed up lesson numbers according to subject so why does it matter when when we finish each book? As long as it gets done, the kids are learning at a reasonable pace and they enjoy learning why do I feel the need to push them to be done with all subjects by "May 20th"? Because "everybody else is doing it.."? :) Peer pressure:confused:

I know what weeks we need to take off and then I can just take other weeks off as needed. Is it really that simple? WOW!!

If this is the case, why do so many of us feel the need to ORGANIZE to the MAX? File folders (color coordinated, mind you ~LOL mine are anyway); workboxes; monthly, weekly, and daily schedules; book lists; attendance records; calendars; notecards; etc. Is there something I am missing here? If my state does not require any record keeping and we keep all of our work in a rubbermaid tub for the year, why should I spend hours and hours planning?

 

I know highschool grades and transcripts will be important later on, but for now I am beginning to think I have wasted much time and energy (and money on office supplies) for no GOOD reason other than my own OCD tendencies.

 

Simple is better.....

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We just move on to the next lesson and take breaks as needed, whether it is a vacation, a daily activity or family visiting. A break can be anywhere from a day to 2 weeks. By schooling year round I don't have to feel bad about taking time off as needed. The key is to limit activities. Since we don't have a schedule it could be easy to not get school done if you are too involved in other activities and not home enough.

 

I am really impressed by the organization that others have and can see the benefit of the structure of scheduled breaks.

 

We use separate curriculum for each subject so there is no end of year for us. Math may be finished in December and English in April. I like to think of it as conditioning for the work force in which most people have to work year round.

 

Molly

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We just move on to the next lesson and take breaks as needed, whether it is a vacation, a daily activity or family visiting. A break can be anywhere from a day to 2 weeks. By schooling year round I don't have to feel bad about taking time off as needed. The key is to limit activities. Since we don't have a schedule it could be easy to not get school done if you are too involved in other activities and not home enough.

 

I am really impressed by the organization that others have and can see the benefit of the structure of scheduled breaks.

 

We use separate curriculum for each subject so there is no end of year for us. Math may be finished in December and English in April. I like to think of it as conditioning for the work force in which most people have to work year round.

 

Molly

 

 

In your opinion, what are the benefits of organization and scheduled breaks? I do not disagree or agree. I am just trying to get this all straight in my head :)

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I certainly think you can over-plan. :) Daily checklists are a MUST for me, because I really will forget to do a subject (though my son will say "Mama! We forgot to do xyz!", which is really funny when I had planned to skip something that day). I just don't spend much time actually making the checklists - I have software do most of the work.

 

Printing everything out ahead of time does make my school run smoother - I'm not having to say "Wait! I need to print this out!" in the middle of a lesson. So yes, I have things filed, though not to the extent of The File Thread. I file 6 weeks' worth of work so it's ready to go, but I can still move it around if I need to. My school is then "open and go".

 

I am using a lot of the PHP products - FLL, WWE, SOTW, etc. Again, the planning involved there is printing stuff out. For FLL, I like to have our copywork ready (I'm not having my son copy MY writing! :lol:). For SOTW, I've made some nifty narration pages and a little schedule page. Yes, I probably over-planned SOTW, but you know what? It gets done each week *easily*. I'm not stressed at all. My son can even do some of it himself, because I have a little sheet with the history schedule for the week right there where he can look at it - a first grader doing a little bit of independent work! (that being read UILE and do the mapwork)

 

Do I have daily lessons planned? Yes, but I've done it in software where it's simple to do. If I were planning by hand or using Excel, I'd just be doing the next thing and not worrying about typing anything in. :tongue_smilie:

 

Anyway, do what makes your homeschool run efficiently, without burning YOU out. You may need some scheduling - moreso than some other people even. I'm one of those. I can't fly by the seat of my pants, or I will not fly at all. I'll just sit on my pants. :glare: I need those boxes to check. BUT I have made the organization of it very simple and easy to use, so my weekly planning is minimal, and everything gets done without stress. And because it's year round (and I'm not firm on days taken off, though I prefer to take a whole week off rather than just a day), I don't stress over missing days or even a week here and there. One nice thing about starting in the middle - I'm all over the place in where curriculum starts and stops, so I don't plan for that really. I know roughly when one book will likely end and I need to purchase the next one. I do need to plan that, because I like to place a $150 RR order at one time. So I have all my RR stuff for the next year in hand already. I'll place Amazon and PHP orders closer to fall when I need those items. As far as what exact date we end SOTW1? That doesn't matter at all. I just want to make sure I have SOTW2 here before we're ready to start it. ;)

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"Anyway, do what makes your homeschool run efficiently, without burning YOU out. You may need some scheduling - moreso than some other people even. I'm one of those. I can't fly by the seat of my pants, or I will not fly at all. I'll just sit on my pants. :glare: I need those boxes to check. BUT I have made the organization of it very simple and easy to use, so my weekly planning is minimal, and everything gets done without stress"

 

 

You are so right about this. My personality will not allow me to relax without some type of plan!!! LOL!! I know that sounds crazy, but 'tis true!:lol:

On the other hand, I need to have flexibility with my plans so that I do not feel guilty for tweaking them later on. I also become lazy when I don't have a good plan and "sit on my pants". :)

I need to just sit down and figure out what will be the best way for ME to do this. That was my original purpose for this post and I got off track. Whew...thanks :)

 

 

(I tried to quote boscopup and it did not work)

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AWesome!! I love it! Where did you fin the file dividers or did you put the labels on yourself?! :D

 

 

ETA: Why 2 tabs per week? Is that because one is in the schedule and one is the pocket containing the printable "stuff"? I'm curious. ;) I've always used a filebox, but am really planning on a binder so I'm loving what you've got going! :D

 

I got everything from amazon.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Pendaflex-Essentials-Folders-Letter-752/dp/B000SAF07K/ref=pd_sbs_op_36

 

I just taped them up on the sides to make them a pocket. I didn't want the expandable pockets. Too bulky.

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006ICEK

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006IELS

 

http://www.amazon.com/Avery-Folder-Labels-Printers-08366/dp/B00004Z64U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1304890468&sr=8-1

 

I think that's everything I used.

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I'm a little different :D

 

I plan on 200 days of school per year. I break subject up based upon semester or full year. I enter everything into homeschool tracker +, and then print out 4x6 cards for each lesson, of each course, and put them into a file box for each child (really 4x5.5, because I use regular cardstock).

 

At the end of every week (Friday/Saturday), I pull out the following week's cards. I make sure I have what is needed for special projects, experiments, etc. The cards are paperclipped together by day. So, all my older children need to do is go and grab "Monday's" cards, and we are pretty much ready to go.

 

I have an overall daily schedule (which is necessary, because there are some subjects I have to do with each child or a group, or there are on-line classes kids need to log-into).

 

The nice thing about the cards, is that if we "miss" a day, it's no big deal to just reshuffle. It also makes things a bit more "independent" -- and since they turn in the cards with their assignments, it's an easy "visual" for me to see what has or has not been done.

 

We don't do any formal "schedule" like 9 weeks on 3 weeks off, simply because we tend to do better following a regular schedule all the time. Our summer schedule does change a bit (because of summer swim practice times are different), so I try to have "core" work done between August and May. June & July are often times spent with extra free/challenge reading, math, and/or special project (next summer all of my oldest 3 children will be doing a state report... the following summer, they will be doing country reports). Not to mention, I need SOME time to plan and schedule things out :D

 

Anyhow... this is how we are going back to doing things this year (we've been with the VA Virtual Academy the past two... and are so looking forward to leaving).

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If this is the case, why do so many of us feel the need to ORGANIZE to the MAX? File folders (color coordinated, mind you ~LOL mine are anyway); workboxes; monthly, weekly, and daily schedules; book lists; attendance records; calendars; notecards; etc.

 

I need to plan because if I don't, it's far too easy for me to forget things (like entire subjects, as boscopup pointed out :blush:). It's also far too easy for me to tell myself, "Ah, we're fine, we can skip that today, we'll catch up tomorrow." I let myself slide and slide, and the next thing I know, we're way behind. This is the first year I've been organized at all, and it's the first year we're actually even close to finishing any subject! Granted, there were other reasons for that (I was working until last year), but honestly, I think the lack of organization played a bigger part.

 

I filed this year based on The File Thread (:lol:), and it has helped me SO much. It forces me to stay relatively on track, because I don't want to have to figure out being a week behind in math, on time with grammar, two weeks behind in WWE, etc. It's too much work if I let myself get behind, so I fight to stay on time. I also use a basic Excel spreadsheet to lay out lessons for the year. That way I know when I can expect materials to end, how much leeway I have if we do get behind, how much free time we'll have in the summer (in some subjects, none; in others, we'll have a few weeks' break).

 

I originally did plan out breaks for this year--roughly 5-6 weeks on, 1 week off, a week off at Thanksgiving, two weeks off at Christmas, a week off for another event, etc. I even color-coded my folders to coincide with the 5- to 6-week sessions. In reality, it didn't work that way at all. The whole month of December was a wash for us, the kids ended getting sick several times, wiping out at least a week at a time for us, we had family visit unexpectedly (and we're the main attraction anytime family comes to town), etc. In the end, all our break time got used up and then some, so now we're just running flat out until mid-August for most things. That's still OK, because I won't start school up again until mid-September (we're traveling for Labor Day week, and then we have birthdays out the wazoo :willy_nilly:). But if I hadn't spent so much time organizing everything last summer, I'd be having a nervous breakdown at this point. Right now I'm clinging to my files and spreadsheet for dear life :lol:

 

So that's my system--a spreadsheet for lesson planning and long-term projections, an extensive filing system, detailed supply/project/book lists, and the flexibility to bump and take time off as we need to. Oh, I also plan a four-day week, but in reality, we end up doing some sort of schoolwork pretty much every day of the week, and I'm fine with that. It's just how life is around here, and the kids have no idea that most other people do anything differently! :D

 

Everyone needs something different. I know the files didn't work for a lot of people this past year. I know lost of people don't even do a basic lesson plan. For me, the more organized I am, the more accountable I am to the system, and I need that. Good luck with figuring out what works for you!

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We have always schooled year-round.

 

Our year runs August to July, because dh has the month of July off for vacation, so we don't do school for 3-4 weeks during that time. That is our longest break, and I use it to re-stock supplies, change out books, start new planners, etc.

 

I sit down in the spring with the calendar for the next "school year" (Aug-July) and see what we will take off. We usually start the first week of August, take a week at Thanksgiving some years, take a few weeks at Christmas/New Year, take a week or two at Spring Break, and take a week in late May, and take a few weeks in July. I have a bil who comes from out of state to vacation with us a few times a year for 1-3 weeks each time, so some is planned around that (whether we take a week at Thanksgiving or not, etc.) Then I tally up how many weeks we will have, usually 42-45.

 

I plan on paper. I tried to use HST+ after all these years of printing out my own created Excel sheets, and I hated it, so I'm back to paper. I create a planner for each of my dc (it's just for fun for littlest, but he wanted one, too.) I also create my binder for the next year. I have a month-per-page calendar with birthdates, etc. on it, and I add new dates and each of us have a copy. Each dc's planner has pages for each week's assignments, weekly schedules, books read, etc.

 

At this point, I'm pretty certain of how much material we will cover in a year, so I do plan out the year and we do begin all new each year. I make a syllabus for each high school subject, and I create a list of assignments for each elementary subject. I keep those in my binder. Then I plan out our weeks, tying together writing with subject areas, adding field trips/ events/ performances, scheduling extra movies/ books, etc.

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If this is the case, why do so many of us feel the need to ORGANIZE to the MAX? File folders (color coordinated, mind you ~LOL mine are anyway); workboxes; monthly, weekly, and daily schedules; book lists; attendance records; calendars; notecards; etc. Is there something I am missing here?.

 

A few reasons:

 

Some people can't handle "just do the next thing." They will let every interruption interfere, and before they know it, they will not have accomplished anything for the year.

 

Some of use either don't use or modify-like-crazy packaged curriculum.

 

I like to tie in extra opportunities to extend our studies. I need to know what we will be doing when in order to plan those things. It is easier to plan them all at once, and we don't miss anything that way.

 

(I do agree with you about the files and workboxes, etc. ;))

 

From what I've observed, newer homeschoolers often make it very complicated, though. As your dc get older, you get busier and you get more experience... and that takes care of it. :)

Edited by angela in ohio
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I have started each year with planning folders and schedules. Then by Feb. or March the scheduling folder stays on the shelf most of the week and we become more of the do-the-next-thing type of homeschoolers. The reason I can relax by that point, though, is because I know we are at least on track or even ahead in some core subjects at that point.

 

This thread has convinced me I need HST+, though, maybe not now but in a year or two when we get into middle school.

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As long as it gets done, the kids are learning at a reasonable pace and they enjoy learning why do I feel the need to push them to be done with all subjects by "May 20th"? Because "everybody else is doing it.."? :) Peer pressure:confused:

Yes. Peer pressure. :D

I know what weeks we need to take off and then I can just take other weeks off as needed. Is it really that simple? WOW!!

Yes. It really is that simple.:cheers2:

If my state does not require any record keeping and we keep all of our work in a rubbermaid tub for the year, why should I spend hours and hours planning?

You're having quite an epiphany tonight. Good job!:thumbup:

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I need to plan because if I don't, it's far too easy for me to forget things (like entire subjects, as boscopup pointed out :blush:). It's also far too easy for me to tell myself, "Ah, we're fine, we can skip that today, we'll catch up tomorrow." I let myself slide and slide, and the next thing I know, we're way behind. This is the first year I've been organized at all, and it's the first year we're actually even close to finishing any subject! Granted, there were other reasons for that (I was working until last year), but honestly, I think the lack of organization played a bigger part.

 

I filed this year based on The File Thread (:lol:), and it has helped me SO much. It forces me to stay relatively on track, because I don't want to have to figure out being a week behind in math, on time with grammar, two weeks behind in WWE, etc. It's too much work if I let myself get behind, so I fight to stay on time. I also use a basic Excel spreadsheet to lay out lessons for the year. That way I know when I can expect materials to end, how much leeway I have if we do get behind, how much free time we'll have in the summer (in some subjects, none; in others, we'll have a few weeks' break).

 

I originally did plan out breaks for this year--roughly 5-6 weeks on, 1 week off, a week off at Thanksgiving, two weeks off at Christmas, a week off for another event, etc. I even color-coded my folders to coincide with the 5- to 6-week sessions. In reality, it didn't work that way at all. The whole month of December was a wash for us, the kids ended getting sick several times, wiping out at least a week at a time for us, we had family visit unexpectedly (and we're the main attraction anytime family comes to town), etc. In the end, all our break time got used up and then some, so now we're just running flat out until mid-August for most things. That's still OK, because I won't start school up again until mid-September (we're traveling for Labor Day week, and then we have birthdays out the wazoo :willy_nilly:). But if I hadn't spent so much time organizing everything last summer, I'd be having a nervous breakdown at this point. Right now I'm clinging to my files and spreadsheet for dear life :lol:

 

So that's my system--a spreadsheet for lesson planning and long-term projections, an extensive filing system, detailed supply/project/book lists, and the flexibility to bump and take time off as we need to. Oh, I also plan a four-day week, but in reality, we end up doing some sort of schoolwork pretty much every day of the week, and I'm fine with that. It's just how life is around here, and the kids have no idea that most other people do anything differently! :D

 

Everyone needs something different. I know the files didn't work for a lot of people this past year. I know lost of people don't even do a basic lesson plan. For me, the more organized I am, the more accountable I am to the system, and I need that. Good luck with figuring out what works for you!

 

This is what works for us too. I filed this year for the first time and it has worked really well for us. We have gotten more done this year than any year previously (or at least it feels like it).

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I do what the state tells me to do. Otherwise I follow what fits us!

 

I use Homeschool tracker for our records, although just recently I encountered sick days and had to ask here. *go figure* there is always something lol....

 

I have scopes and subjects made up for what the boys are doing. But I work on their level. With this I do not key them in some magical order or lesson plans to do but instead key them in to the Homeschool Tracker when completed. Mostly because I just started using it and have yet figured out how to do the lesson planning to fit our needs.

 

We do one week 5 days, the next 4 days with the 5th an unschooling sort of day so I can run errands but I toss in educational DVDs and something in the mix. Usually the kids will pick something up on their own. There is always something going on.

 

I schedule Vacations around our Family trips incoming or out and our DVC trips to Disney. Sometimes I am guilty and count them as fieldtrips, hey you can learn at Epcot hehe... and the schools go there!

 

Breaks I take when the kids tell or show me they need one or we are in between books. We really do not work on grade levels here because the boys are together in some interest and on their own in others.

 

I do not take the same holidays off as Public School. Sometimes I even count them, for example our local library this year did a whole day on MLK when the school was out. Not many people attended. We did and counted it as an educational day.

 

Most of my lesson plans are done by the year but not too in detailed but I do them each week for the boys as individuals.

 

Lastly, I am still learning so what I think works today will change next week :lol:

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Well, I'm including pictures of what I do because it's all contained in a 3 ring 4" binder. First I make up my new schedule for the year. I then construct my binder. Here goes.....

 

 

Beautiful. Being extremely visual, posts like this are wonderful. I just set up a binder the other day and while it is not near as extensive as yours, I think that's the route we are going to try this next year. I may have to add some stuff, after looking at yours, though!

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