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Æthelthryth the Texan

Another planning/organizing thread. How do you plan out your year? Best tips/hacks you've picked up?

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Since it's planning season, I thought I'd make a general planning thread- not necessarily on what you use, but rather how you plan to use what you use.

Do you plan? How? Tips? Tricks? Do you just write things down after the fact? Any planning fails?  Any organization wizardry you'd like to share? It's always fun to read what others do, so please share! 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan

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Personally, I've usually leaned on scripted/scheduled programs like AO and SL (or online courses for oldest) where I just add in "do the next thing" subjects like Math and LA so I've never had to be much of a planner. I use an Erin Condren Teacher planner, plot out weeks on and off and then write things down what we did after the fact, but that's about the extent of it. I might need to start upping that game with middle ds turning 8 soon. 

I did try the 36 week folders previously for younger kids' worksheets and it was a miserable fail because somethings didn't progress in a linear fashion. That left me digging and searching for worksheets all year and was a PITA. I probably won't do that again. But last year I did tear out all of the Abeka worksheets, ordered them and placed them into a single three ring binder for both kids- someone here brilliantly suggested it, and it was wonderful. It was so much easier than dealing with multiple separate workbooks for each kid. 

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One thing I am trying this year is, on my 10 and 14yo's daily checklists, Friday has a check box for "Record books read, Days worked."  We have to keep a book log and an attendance calendar for the state-required portfolio, so I want them to get more in the habit of keeping track of their own stuff.

 

I've also found that "set a timer for 45 minutes and do what you can do" doesn't work well for my kids.  My 14yo in particular wants an actual assignment, even if it ends up taking him a little longer than the time I would have allocated.  He would rather read two chapters that take him an hour than read for 45 minutes.  Okay, then.

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I see planning as divided into multiple categories:

1- school calendar: what is our first day and what is our goal end date. What dates for fixed scheduled breaks? (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Good Friday) Then I put in our flexible breaks. I used to do 6 weeks on followed by 1 off. Now I try to work around college schedules so we can spend more time with them while they are home over Christmas. That means we are more 7 or 8 weeks on then 1off with 3 or more weeks off at Christmas.

2- big goal planning: what are my long-term goals for each subject/ child. How do I see those goals being broken down into our 8 (or whatever) week blocks?

3- daily plans: I write out their daily plans for the block period and then write the next block over that next week break.

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I have a flexible, 36 week, 4 day plan that I build.  Not every subject is 4 days (some are 1 or 3) so that gives us flexibility in what I want to accomplish and still connect lessons throughout the subjects.  Like, this year, I have The Giver scheduled in literature about the same time evolution/eugenics is discussed in science and innovation/lead up to WWI and WWII in history.  I couldn't find something that builds that for me.  So I write it out for each week in Excel, and then can tweak and adjust without losing our big picture goals.  Each week's page also has a list of supplies needed, too, so I can ready them now and check out the library books as needed plus remember possible field trip locations.
These will go into a binder, a few weeks at a time, with all pages needed for those lessons.  I removed the 36 week dividers from an old unwanted Sonlight curriculum.  It's easy for me to flip back and forth with those.

It's just a plan, though.  So our day to day record is done in homeschoolskedtrack. What gets done will get done, and I'll write it down after.

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One of my major fails one year was to make up a planner for myself including only the kids who didn't have their own planner.  I figured the kids with their own planners already had their work written down in there, so I didn't need to include it in mine. I was so lost for the first week of school - I had no idea what the older kids were doing because I had only written their assignments in their own planners. Lesson learned: write down for myself what everyone is doing, no matter if they are independent or not!

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I love to plan.

I plan the year out based on MIL's schedule because she works in the public school system and everyone else is flexible. This year she will come for either christmas or spring break so I want both available. I went with nine weeks on 2 weeks off this year because we did a 6/1 last year and I felt that breaks were insufficient to get anything done. Everytime we went camping we were exhausted when we got home and we took a few days off school. Every time we took a break we spent so much time resting and having fun we got no housework done. So hopefully this will help.

I have 3 types of curriculum. Daily drills, a set amount of content that I want finished by the end of the year, and content to be mastered. I will use Greek as my example because it has all three. For daily drills he copies the book of John first thing in the morning since he's the first one up. He does this every day and will finish that someday. He does different amounts and will take breaks to copy declensions, conjugations, or vocabulary he is struggling with, so I have no prediction as to when this copy work will actually be done but it will be several years from now. It is short and effective. Now, for the set of content I want finished by the end of the year I have Elementary Greek II. This has 30 weeks of lessons in it. I have 5 terms so we need to do six weeks per term. This means if we get sick or have to stop and memorize things for a week we're totally good. For content I want mastered I have Sing and Learn New Testament Greek, a series of songs about grammar rules. We will do that in the morning with my first grader who is beginning the Greek alphabet this year. This will get finished when it gets finished.

I like Google docs and sheets and a traveler's notebook.

I would call us LCC minded. Do very few subjects very well with lots of good books.

Edited by Slache
So many typos. So little sleep.
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3 hours ago, happypamama said:

One thing I am trying this year is, on my 10 and 14yo's daily checklists, Friday has a check box for "Record books read, Days worked."  We have to keep a book log and an attendance calendar for the state-required portfolio, so I want them to get more in the habit of keeping track of their own stuff.

 

I've also found that "set a timer for 45 minutes and do what you can do" doesn't work well for my kids.  My 14yo in particular wants an actual assignment, even if it ends up taking him a little longer than the time I would have allocated.  He would rather read two chapters that take him an hour than read for 45 minutes.  Okay, then.

 

My brain works the same way as your son's.  I can't bear the idea of leaving, say, 3 problems undone on a math section or 6 pages unread in a chapter just because a timer went off.  😱

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48 minutes ago, hollyhock2 said:

One of my major fails one year was to make up a planner for myself including only the kids who didn't have their own planner.  I figured the kids with their own planners already had their work written down in there, so I didn't need to include it in mine. I was so lost for the first week of school - I had no idea what the older kids were doing because I had only written their assignments in their own planners. Lesson learned: write down for myself what everyone is doing, no matter if they are independent or not!

I find this interesting. I write theit individual lesson planners for dual purposes. First, it is full of my notes to myself so I remember what I want accomplished but also includes a breakdown of what needs to done by them daily. There are **see me** notes throughout when they need to talk to me about specifics or for discussion, etc. 

So, in essence, their planners are both for me and them. 

I find all of the different approaches fascinating. Finding your own groove is so important. Like I could never have done the file folder system since I don't use anything that would work that way.

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With my dd, I had 4 terms to the year: fall term, winter term, May term, summer term. I would plan one term at a time because she would change, life would change. May term was just May, letting us do something really different like a unit study or only art for a month. Summer we'd either do short days or hit things we hadn't been getting to during the school year. 

My ds is totally different, more like homeschooling while hang gliding, so I have no advice there, lol.

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Apparently we are much more 'by the seat of our pants' than many of you. 🙂  For most of the year, our schedule is 4 days, with co-op on Thursdays.  From past experience, I know that if we do younger's Singapore Math 4 days/week, usually doing 1 lesson/day, we'll finish by the end of the year.  Older usually does AoPS 3 days and LOF on our busy, out of the house day. Now that kiddo is older, we seem to move at a reasonable pace doing that.  With MCT language arts, we do the grammar book 3-4 days/wee until it's done, and then I let the kids pick - do they want to do the vocab, writing, and poetry books sequentially or each a certain number of days/week?  Younger's spelling is daily, one unit/week.  Handwriting is done through 5th grade, 2-4 days/week until it's done.  In the early grades, we do history and science in units, so we do 2-9 weeks of a topic and then switch, usually doing world history and geography first, then a science unit, and then in the spring doing US history and then science.  They have done co-op art, and younger has done music and acting, and I have done art as a stand-alone module and also incorporated some with history, depending on the kid.  Once they get older, history and science are done daily (or most days).  For older, we usually aim to be 'on track' in the book at the end of each quarter.  We don't move at a constant pace, but the it's a general guide to help us see that if we spent a long time on WWI, we might need to move more quickly through WWII (or, alternatively, don't dilly-dally on something if you want to spend a long time on an upcoming unit).  For co-op classes (mostly fun enrichment, but older takes Latin and they sometimes take an academic class), we figure out how much time each takes and they figure out what days they want to do the work.  

Once we've eyballed this, we make a schedule of what subjects are to be done each day.  For my middle schooler, something is done in each subject area every day, but kiddo can decide whether to break vocab into 2 days or finish it in 1 and which days are best for literature reading for language arts and which days are good for textbook reading, online research, paper writing, etc for history.  Younger has some say in this, but I break each subject into smaller parts and then let kiddo assign them to a day.  It's kind of a weird dance, with me having mental plans and deadlines and trying to help the kids figure out what subjects can be scheduled on autopilot (math and spelling, 1 lesson/day), which ones they need to use some self-discipline not to procrastinate on (for both of mine, anything with writing - I have to monitor that to make sure that they leave enough time), and which they just need to limit (yes, I said that you can read some Sherlock Holmes for literature...but not all day).  But, at least for older, it's starting to pay off.  I was happy to see kiddo schedule literature any time we had to drive somewhere since it was easy to do in the car, and completely wowed when he did work for a co-op class right after co-op, while waiting for sibling at karate, and finished on Saturday morning before I was up, so that it wasn't taking up time during our school day during a busy stretch.  

 

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I use a scripted program so it lays out five days at a time for us. We don't have much outside the home during the week so it isn't too hard to stick to it or shift things around to pretty much stay on pace. The biggest hack I have is that I print up any maps, tests, etc that we will need over the summer and have a big binder that I can just take them out of when needed. I'm only doing this for one child so it isn't a huge deal to take a day and print it all up and have it ready to go. I can do it on a day I am feeling all happy and hopeful and excited about the new year 🙂

One thing I learned early on homeschooling is that the more components a program had the less likely I was to follow through. If it had a book, and a workbook, and a teacher book, and a dvd, and a cd, etc etc. it just wasn't all going to happen. Making the copies is the same way. For whatever reason if the copy is not there ready for me I am more likely to just skip the lesson or the part dependent on the copy. Why is this?? Making a copy is easy. I'm not a lazy person. Why does the act of having to make a copy derail me???? It just does. That doesn't even include being out of ink or paper or having a tech issue with the printing. 

The downside of this is that I do occasionally opt out of whatever I have made a copy of so it feels wasteful. I try to make use of all the extra copies as scrap paper. 

I also have to do this during the summer. If I intend to do the second semester over Christmas break it probably won't happen. Or I'll be grumpy about doing it. But if I can do it when I have all the getting ready for the school year energy available to harness it is a big help.

I'm pretty sure I tried that when my big kids were young but we never went by enough of a plan to know way out ahead of time what we would actually do. 

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Lots of our stuff is "do the next thing" (math, spelling, phonics, a few others) but I do have several things that I need to plan out ahead of time. History is mostly  do the next thing, but I also have specific books I want to read aloud during specific chapters, so I plan that out. Same with science and experiment kits. With geography I have them hop around and do chapters out of order depending on what country we're studying so I plan that out too. My 6th grade DD does both grammar and composition, but not both at the same time, so I plan out which weeks she's doing which program.

For my older kids it's mostly a matter of figuring out how many weeks they can spend on each topic or chapter or module or novel or whatever. 

We generally do "regular" school 4 days/week for 36 weeks so I have an Excel spreadsheet with 144 boxes on it in 2 columns (4 pages, 1 page/9 weeks). I purposefully write in pencil and don't associate dates with the boxes so that I can make changes as needed and also so that if we take a day off here and there we don't feel behind and we just do the thing in the next box til it's all done. I used to do it with 4 boxes in 9 rows for each quarter, but that made me feel behind when it was the 4th day of the week and we were only on the 2nd box 😏 so I like the list layout better.

The older kids get a copy of the spreadsheet each 9 weeks so they know what to expect.

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1 minute ago, teachermom2834 said:

The biggest hack I have is that I print up any maps, tests, etc that we will need over the summer and have a big binder that I can just take them out of when needed. 

 

I also have to do this during the summer.

Me too, to both of these! I need to have as little administrative stuff to do as possible during the school day or everything gets derailed and no actual teaching gets done. 

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6 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I see planning as divided into multiple categories:

1- school calendar: what is our first day and what is our goal end date. What dates for fixed scheduled breaks? (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Good Friday) Then I put in our flexible breaks. I used to do 6 weeks on followed by 1 off. Now I try to work around college schedules so we can spend more time with them while they are home over Christmas. That means we are more 7 or 8 weeks on then 1off with 3 or more weeks off at Christmas.

2- big goal planning: what are my long-term goals for each subject/ child. How do I see those goals being broken down into our 8 (or whatever) week blocks?

3- daily plans: I write out their daily plans for the block period and then write the next block over that next week break.

The daily plans—do you write these now, or as you go along? I’m trying hard to plan as well as possible (for the first time ever. I am a throw papers in the air and see what lands sort of homeschooler. I’ve an entire 6 weeks off with DS gone and I’m trying to reform self. )The smallest chunk I can see is a weekly one...

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I feel like I've tried every method over the years.   Most of our stuff is do-the-next-thing so I don't do too much long term planning, we just do the next page, the next activity and they move up a book when they complete the current book.   The past couple of years I've done up a planner page for them telling them what they need to do for the coming week.  They can't seem to look in a book and figure out what comes next so it had number of pages to read, what pages to do in math, etc.   But anytime our weekends weren't quiet with lots of time for checking and replanning work, they'd end up with no school until I could get around to doing it.  Which considering I work essentially full time, doesn't work very well.

I think I'm going to do a slight modification.  I'm going to spend part of the summer setting up index cards with their assignments for each day with each subject on a different card.   Then at the beginning of a week, I'll give them the cards for that week (I think I"m going to glue library pockets that I already have to a piece of card stock and stick the cards for each day in the pocket for that day, plus one pocket for things they can do whatever day they want), then they'll have binders with any lose pages, plus their workbooks/textbooks.    This year they turned in completed work on my desk and I think that worked well because I could check it right away.   So, they could continue turning in work and turn in the index card with the assignment.  

My main concern with this is using up so many index cards but I can reuse them if there's only one or two lines used on each one, I'll just cross that out and right a new assignment underneath.   I can write up a month or two of cards at once.  I have a week off work about every other month so that would be a good time to plan out the next few months, and this way I can adjust if something isn't working. 

Ds is starting high school so I feel the need to get a little more structured.

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On 6/30/2019 at 9:48 AM, 8FillTheHeart said:

1- school calendar: what is our first day and what is our goal end date. What dates for fixed scheduled breaks? (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Good Friday) Then I put in our flexible breaks. I used to do 6 weeks on followed by 1 off. Now I try to work around college schedules so we can spend more time with them while they are home over Christmas. That means we are more 7 or 8 weeks on then 1off with 3 or more weeks off at Christmas.

I think this is an important step for the majority of people. It needs to be done and then it needs to be glanced at occasionally, lol. 

If you use mostly do-the-next thing materials, you may not need to do this, but even in that case it becomes more important if you like taking random days off or going on unscheduled trips. Some people just lack a sense of time and/or the ability to automatically add in their head how many days they have taken off for whatever reason. Over the years, I have met so many people who get halfway through the year to discover they are only a fourth of the way through their curriculum. Or, worse yet, they don't realize until the year is close to being over that they are terribly behind in what they intended to accomplish. 

 

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The first thing I have always done is plan my school year with start date, end date, and breaks.  The rest of my planning has changed over the years.  We have used MFW for many years and it comes with a planner that you can add in your math and other subjects that aren't included.  It worked pretty well for a number of years, but then I was tweaking my plans a bit more and the lesson planner was getting messy.  Plus when we were repeating years in the cycle I didn't want to keep buying planners which were not cheap.  So I started to do my own.  At first it was one just for me to check off each day for each kid, but once my oldest had hit high school I wanted them to have more responsibility for their own work.

The last few years I have made a binder for each of the kids with a section for each subject.  I have it planned out week by week for each subject with dates, so they know each day what they need to get done.  If we get off a bit it isn't a huge deal but it lets us know if we are getting too behind on a subject(s) so we can rework the plans if needed.  Last year youngest had a lot of sick days and it took quite a bit of reworking, but I was glad I at least had a base to work from.

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22 hours ago, madteaparty said:

The daily plans—do you write these now, or as you go along? I’m trying hard to plan as well as possible (for the first time ever. I am a throw papers in the air and see what lands sort of homeschooler. I’ve an entire 6 weeks off with DS gone and I’m trying to reform self. )The smallest chunk I can see is a weekly one...

Once they are in 3rd grade, I write out our block of week plans during that week off (or summer).  I don't typically write out more than the 6-9 weeks worth so that I can reevaluate and take a different path if I choose.

I don't write out plans before 3rd grade bc I see their progress as too variable.  Primary age kids can race ahead or slow down unpredictably, so I focus more on daily skill development on any given day.  But, by 3rd grade, my kids have seemed to more predictable skill-wise and I can judge fairly accurately what is an appropriate workload/day in individual subjects.  I break down whatever they will be working through into daily assignments that I estimate will take X amt of time to complete.

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On 6/30/2019 at 10:48 AM, 8FillTheHeart said:

I see planning as divided into multiple categories:

1- school calendar: what is our first day and what is our goal end date. What dates for fixed scheduled breaks? (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Good Friday) Then I put in our flexible breaks. I used to do 6 weeks on followed by 1 off. Now I try to work around college schedules so we can spend more time with them while they are home over Christmas. That means we are more 7 or 8 weeks on then 1off with 3 or more weeks off at Christmas.

2- big goal planning: what are my long-term goals for each subject/ child. How do I see those goals being broken down into our 8 (or whatever) week blocks?

3- daily plans: I write out their daily plans for the block period and then write the next block over that next week break.

This is very similar to what I do.

I also keep a OneNote notebook where I stash ideas as I come across them. I have pages for every subject and ideas/resources/etc. that may not be used for years. But I like being able to access them all in one place. When I am planning, I skim through and see what ideas I've forgotten that fit in with what I am planning for the short term.

I am changing things up a bit this year, with dd officially entering high school. I am building a lot of her coursework from scratch, so I'm creating a syllabus for each course that includes her assignments (by day or week, depending on the subject), as well as notes for me about things I want to discuss, etc. At least one course will have a sort of workbook I've written, which will include background info, articles for her to read, questions, spaces to take notes, etc. I kind of wish I hadn't started that little project, but I'm up to my neck now, so...

Flexibility is not my strong suit. I used to do more planning in chunks, and I still do that for ds because his stuff is more or less open-and-go, but as dd has gotten older, I need things laid out in advance. That doesn't mean we can't change things up, but I have a pretty good feel for what we'll do this year. And I've found that we really don't make many mid-year course corrections. I don't know if that means I'm good at predicting what we will need, or if I'm just blind to things that aren't working as well as they could!

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1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Once they are in 3rd grade, I write out our block of week plans during that week off (or summer).  I don't typically write out more than the 6-9 weeks worth so that I can reevaluate and take a different path if I choose.

I don't write out plans before 3rd grade bc I see their progress as too variable.  Primary age kids can race ahead or slow down unpredictably, so I focus more on daily skill development on any given day.  But, by 3rd grade, my kids have seemed to more predictable skill-wise and I can judge fairly accurately what is an appropriate workload/day in individual subjects.  I break down whatever they will be working through into daily assignments that I estimate will take X amt of time to complete.

This makes me feel so much better. 

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I have a system but I might be looking for something new like an online tracker starting in 9th. My planning has too many pieces IMO.

in the past three or four years, I have developed a spreadsheet for certain subjects to track what we are doing. I think I started with science and history because we were using multiple books and I could put everything in there and just check off that day when we finished it.  I do have it set up so it's a certain number of weeks but I flex on the weeks. I don't account for holidays or anything so week 36 could actually be on week 42 from the week we started. I just keep checking off the days until we finish. 

I have had to do this with Latin when we went into Latin Alive. Before that with LFC, we had a general rhythm and as long as I kept tabs on where we were in our school year, I didn't need to microplan it. I would often just circle the last page of the the pages to complete in their workbook.  As we move to more independent studies (which is pretty much our story this coming year), I have more spreadsheets for each subject. 

One thing I am finding is that as they get older my ability to block schedule certain subjects is diminishing. We used to be able to block schedule history and science, but I think those "blocks" might get too long here pretty soon.  It totally worked when they were younger though. 

I have a piece of graph paper where I track overall what week we are on in various curricula so I can get a general idea of when we will finish what. This keeps us from getting too far behind or gives me a warning that I have overplanned and might need to cut back somewhere.  Basically it has the subjects at the top, the weekly dates on the left, and in each square I note what chapter/week we are on in that subject, or for math, what the lesson numbers were that we completed. I do it in pencil so I can adjust it if we need to. If there is a holiday that week or we are off co-op, I write that to the right of everything on that line.  I track the week we are on with online classes with this also.  It's very simple. Even if we do a lesson tracker type software, I will probably keep doing this. It really helps me to see where we naturally slow down in certain parts of a curriculum or where that curriculum's schedule is unrealistic (e.g. chapter test and two page cumulative review on the same day in Dolciani).  

 

ETA: As mentioned above, I really try to get all my printing done before we start. So I have lots of binders.  Binders for Latin, binders for science, binders for history.  What I have found is that if I wait to do the printing, it throws me off and really slows us down.  I also really like that sense of "I'm ready" that comes with having everything organized and ready to go. 

Edited by cintinative
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4 hours ago, cintinative said:

I have a system but I might be looking for something new like an online tracker starting in 9th. My planning has too many pieces IMO.

in the past three or four years, I have developed a spreadsheet for certain subjects to track what we are doing. I think I started with science and history because we were using multiple books and I could put everything in there and just check off that day when we finished it.  I do have it set up so it's a certain number of weeks but I flex on the weeks. I don't account for holidays or anything so week 36 could actually be on week 42 from the week we started. I just keep checking off the days until we finish. 

I have had to do this with Latin when we went into Latin Alive. Before that with LFC, we had a general rhythm and as long as I kept tabs on where we were in our school year, I didn't need to microplan it. I would often just circle the last page of the the pages to complete in their workbook.  As we move to more independent studies (which is pretty much our story this coming year), I have more spreadsheets for each subject. 

One thing I am finding is that as they get older my ability to block schedule certain subjects is diminishing. We used to be able to block schedule history and science, but I think those "blocks" might get too long here pretty soon.  It totally worked when they were younger though. 

I have a piece of graph paper where I track overall what week we are on in various curricula so I can get a general idea of when we will finish what. This keeps us from getting too far behind or gives me a warning that I have overplanned and might need to cut back somewhere.  Basically it has the subjects at the top, the weekly dates on the left, and in each square I note what chapter/week we are on in that subject, or for math, what the lesson numbers were that we completed. I do it in pencil so I can adjust it if we need to. If there is a holiday that week or we are off co-op, I write that to the right of everything on that line.  I track the week we are on with online classes with this also.  It's very simple. Even if we do a lesson tracker type software, I will probably keep doing this. It really helps me to see where we naturally slow down in certain parts of a curriculum or where that curriculum's schedule is unrealistic (e.g. chapter test and two page cumulative review on the same day in Dolciani).  

 

ETA: As mentioned above, I really try to get all my printing done before we start. So I have lots of binders.  Binders for Latin, binders for science, binders for history.  What I have found is that if I wait to do the printing, it throws me off and really slows us down.  I also really like that sense of "I'm ready" that comes with having everything organized and ready to go. 

I really like this idea- being able to see the whole lay out in one place would be handy instead of flipping through months on a planner like I do now. 

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I use a custom lesson planner my dh made for me. I plan about 2 weeks ahead and always have White-Out at the ready! 

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My youngest just graduated this spring, so I don't have to plan any school this fall. Sad.

But, I found it helpful to plan a year at a time. I followed a lot of AO's recommendations, so I would download their term schedules, deleted what I didn't want to use, and added what I did want to use. For textbook courses (upper level), I would divide how much we wanted to do by 36 weeks, and assign that much on a weekly basis. I then used these term schedules to make my weekly schedules on the weekends. I created a form in Word and just modified it each week to reflect the new work. I saved each week as a new document, so I have a fairly complete history of what they did. 

However, as they got older, I wanted them to work on their time management and prioritization skills, so I modified the weekly schedule to include some daily work and some that just had to be done that week (Friday, 5 pm) and let them decide what to do it. As they moved through high school, I moved more and more to weekly. 

The weekly/daily schedule also reflected outside commitments (dual credit classes, volunteer work, doctor/dentist/ortho appointments, jobs, etc), so I could see if a week was super busy, I could lighten the load one week, but the overall term schedule kept me on track so the next week would be slightly heavier.  

I finally learned to print their schedules on colored paper so they wouldn't get lost!

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4 hours ago, Bambam said:

However, as they got older, I wanted them to work on their time management and prioritization skills, so I modified the weekly schedule to include some daily work and some that just had to be done that week (Friday, 5 pm) and let them decide what to do it. As they moved through high school, I moved more and more to weekly. 

I do this for my high schoolers too. It's interesting how their different personalities lead to different ways of getting it done ... DD is super organized and rigid and she does one hour of each subject per day. Period. And then gets stressed out if any hangs over and she needs to put in more time on Friday. DS works in chunks and spurts and seems to thrive on not having it all done til the last minute.

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I have a giant excel file, 5 sheets with 36 pages each.  Four sheets are weekly plans for each kid for the school year.  I print these out each weekend for the next week and place them in the front of the kids' binders, and they mark off their work for the week as they complete it.  I make these for the year during the summer before, but then they are easy to tweak as we go along by bumping individual subjects forward or back as needed.  Nothing is by dates, just numbered by term and week for six six-week terms, so we can easily adjust as needed.  The last sheet is for me, and includes all the things that I teach, plus memory work and read-alouds for morning time, etc.

Each kid has their own binder with dividers for different subjects, and I print off all pages they're going to need for the school year the summer before, for subjects that have those.  Some subjects just get blank paper.  I will put what I estimate to be about 6 weeks worth of pages into their binders at once, and I also have some giant binders where I keep their blank print outs for later in the year.  I also have a box where I collect all the supplies we are going to need for science and history projects for the year, because if I have to collect things when it is time to use them, it won't happen.

Basically I just know that I am better at doing a lot of work on a big project all at once than I am at keeping with something smaller over a long time, so I do everything possible all at once in the summer to make things as easy to maintain as possible.

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This year I'm using MFW (2nd grade) so I have made a book list on Google sheets of what I can get from the library and home for book basket and read alouds  for each week so I can just reserve the books online and pick them up and not have to research it each week.  The books I have at home I've put in order of use on a bookshelf. Also have made a master list of extra activities (or substitute activities) for each week and also written them down on lined post-it notes and put it in the TM at each week. I'm also buying everything I need for crafts, science etc for the first 17 weeks.  (I'm expecting a baby in September so this is much less eclectic than I have been the past 3 years and hubby will be doing a lot of the teaching in the fall). 

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Well, I'm rather "by the seat of my pants"  too, I guess.  I don't have any type of planner and just do the next thing.  It's easier in things with clear lesson divisions.   I don't know how it will work with MCT and BA with no clear lesson lengths.  In the past, I have tried to make a daily schedule but it never works.  I am going to make a daily checklist so the kids know what they need to do and know not to dilly dally on something when they have more on their list.

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