Planning

Whenever I think of planning, I think, “…if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”  Because it really is frightening to wake up knowing that you have NOTHING ready and soon you will need to find meaningful things for three children to do. All. Day. Long.  Last year, due to a move and a new baby, I only got half the year planned before we started in August.  I did not like having to plan week by week, bit by bit, to finish out the year. 

Inspired by Carrie’s planning posts at The Parenting Passageway, I decided to share how my planning is coming so far.  I have really appreciated Carrie’s thoughts on planning.  Especially good for me was the reminder to set goals for each block.  I find that I get carried away by academic goals, which I can clearly see, but forget to set artistic and spiritual development goals for the children.

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I always begin my planning by printing out the public school schedule from the county website.  Why?  Because all of the dates, holidays, and vacations are marked in a tidy fashion that makes it very easy for me to see when things occur during the next school year.  And even though we don’t follow the public school schedule precisely, I like to know what days our neighbor-friends are going to be out distracting us – er, able to play.

Next, I fold a piece of paper into twelve squares and label them all with a month and a date for each Monday during the month.   Then, I pencil in all the holidays, birthdays, and vacations.  (I think I found this method from A Little Garden Flower.)  Then, I set about arranging the main lesson blocks into the weeks of my little calendar.  Sometimes it gets messy as I try to get things where I want them!

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After I’m satisfied with the overall layout of main lessons, I dive straight into planning those main lesson blocks.  Last year, I tried to do it all on the computer, but I found it difficult to have enough “sit down at the computer time” to type everything.  I switched to the good ol’ pencil and paper method halfway through the year – just like they taught me in college. Ha! It’s much more my speed.  I’m just using a Lesson Plan Book I picked up at a school supply a few years ago.

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So far I have planned the whole year of second grade math and two other second grade blocks.  I also just finished reading our fifth grade Botany materials and our Ancient Mythologies manual.

Once main lessons are planned, I will go back and decide what our morning devotionals will consist of (i.e. hymns or children’s songs, scriptures to memorize), what books the kids will be reading during their independent reading time, what poems they will be memorizing, what handwork they will be working on, and what extra practices will accompany the Main Lesson Blocks.  I will use the blank lines to the left of our main lesson plans to jot this information down.

Here is our year so far at a glance:

Grade 2

Fables/Form Drawing – 2 wks

Math – 2 wks

Animal Legends/Language Arts – 4 wks

Math – 4 wks

Saints and Heroes/Language Arts – 4 wks

Christmas Break

The King of Ireland’s Son – 3 wks

Fables/Form Drawing – 2 wks

Math – 3 wks

American Tall Tales – 3 wks

Fables/Form Drawing – 2 wks

Math – 3 wks

Science – 3 wks

End of School Wrap-Up – 1 wk

**Perhaps you noticed I am adding my own American Tall Tales block for my second grader.  It’s not a traditional Waldorf block, but I think it will work really well in second grade and I’d like my second grader to be familiar with those stories.  I’m also planning to tie in some saint stories with their corresponding holidays – i.e. St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day.**

Grade 5

Botany – 1 wk

Math – 3 wks

Ancient Mythology/Language Arts – 6 wks

Geography – 4 wks

Botany – 2 wks

Christmas Break

Math – 3 wks

Greek Mythology and History/Language Arts – 6 wks

Botany – 2 wks

Geometry – 3 wks

Ancient China – 2 wks

Botany – 3 wks

End of School Wrap-Up – 1 wk

Do I plan everything myself?  No! and Yes!  This year, I purchased the second grade eBook from A Little Garden Flower along with several Christopherus second grade materials.  I also purchased the entire Fifth Grade Package from Christopherus and the Geometry DVD’s from A Little Garden Flower. This does save time, however, I still read through all the materials prior to the year, plan out each day individually, and determine how we will accomplish our “education.”

Phew, super long post!  How is your school year shaping up?!  Thanks for stopping by!

3 thoughts on “Planning

  1. Sheila

    Hey Rachel,
    I am so glad you commented on my blog, bc now I get to see what you’re doing! Great post. I wanted to ask you what you think of and how you use the Christopherus syllabus for grade 5. I purchased the syllabus for grade 4 (used) last year and resold it shortly after. It was too overwhelming for me. I went to a curriculum fair in Atlanta this year and was hoping to see the one for grade 5, but it wasn’t there. I am just getting to the stage of my planning where I am working with the specific blocks and that syllabus is slightly looming above my head. Anyway, I would love to know your thoughts. I do use Donna Simmons’ unit studies and really love them.
    Good to connect with you.
    Best,
    Sheila

    Reply
  2. JustToSay

    Hi Sheila! I laughed about you getting the fourth grade syllabus and reselling it due to feeling overwhelmed! I did that same thing two years ago with the Christopherus third grade package. This year I am really glad I got the entire fifth grade package. I am very pleased with all the information in the syllabus and all of the books that accompanied it. Perhaps the syllabus doesn’t feel so daunting now that I have a few years of homeschooling under my belt.
    The syllabus contains a schedule and information for the Greek Mythology and History block, a short block on Ancient China, a section on form drawing to Geometry, and some ideas for handwork and crafts.
    I hope that helps! Thanks for visiting me! I look forward to following your school year, too!

    Reply
  3. Sheila

    Thanks Rachel. That is helpful. I think I have enough to plan a great year, but do you ever think that whatever you don’t have is the one missing link? I think that is where I am with the Christopherus syllabus. I am in the thick of planning first grade now (with a syllabus from Christopherus!) – so I am going to see how that plays out and then see where I am. Thanks again.

    Reply

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