Thursday, July 31, 2014

Some Planning Links And Ideas

First, some answers to one reader's questions.  (I'll get to the healthy meal planning and preparing in another post).

When you plan, do you plan by starting with your oldest first and working your way down?
If you mean my actual planning out my lessons for each child, yes.  I begin with the oldest, and completely prepare his schoolwork.  Then I move to the next child, and so on until it is all done.  This cannot be done in one day.  At least not for me.  I typically take at least one day per child.  One reason it takes so much time for me to plan each child's year is that I am planning for the entire school year

 I look at our calendar and mark all of our days off, vacation days, etc.,  This year I used a form that I found at  After marking all weekends, vacations, holidays and such, I figured out which day we would need to begin in order to get 160 days of school squeezed in.  We will begin August 4.

Next, I look at the curriculum and plug in assignments with dates that correspond to my calendar.  I only do this for certain subjects.  For subjects like math and grammar, they know to simply complete the next lesson.  

Here is a sample of one of my plans:  Notgrass World History for my 10th grader.  This is printed on one page, and given to my child to keep in the front of his notebook.  He checks off assignments as they are completed.  I have a similar plan already typed and printed for second semester.  I like to do the entire year before we begin, so I don't have to spend every Sunday night getting ready for the next week.
You will notice that the dates do not reflect a traditional Monday-Friday school week.  They are dated to include 5 days that we will do school.  My children do school for 80 days each semester, but these 80 days are not in 16 straight Monday-Friday weeks.

World History
August 4,-December 15, 2014

  • Each school day complete one lesson in the textbook.
  • Omit the Project assignments at the beginning of each unit.
  • Do complete the Bible and Literature assignments at the beginning of each unit.
  • After each day's lesson, complete the questions in the Student Review Book. Answer the questions in a notebook
  • Please give me the answers each day to check.
  • At the end of each unit, please take the Quiz. The quizzes will be in your Test Binder. You may use your notes or your book to help you with the quizzes. You will take the quiz on the same day that you finish the last lesson in each unit.
  • After units 5, 10, and 15, you will take an exam. You will need to complete a study guide and study for the exam during the week of the units prior to each exam (units 5, 10, and 15). The next day you will take the exam, and then begin reading the next lesson. The exams can be found in your Test Binder.

Aug 4 - Aug 8
Unit 1
Oct 31 - Nov 10
Unit 11
Aug 11 - Aug 15
Unit 2
Nov 10 - Nov 17
Unit 12
Aug 19 - Aug 27
Unit 3
Nov 18 - Nov 24
Unit 13
Aug 28 - Sept 3
Unit 4
Nov 25 - Dec 4
Unit 14
Sept 4 - Sept 10
Unit 5, study guide
Dec 5 - Dec 11
Unit 15, study guide
Sept 11 ***
Exam 1
Dec 15 ***
Exam 3
Sept 12 - Sept 19
Unit 6

Sept 22 - Sept 26
Unit 7

Oct 8 - Oct 14
Unit 8

Oct 15 - Oct 22
Unit 9

Oct 23 - Oct 29
Unit 10, study guide

Oct 30 ***
Exam 2

For my high-school children this year, I created plans like this for world history, economics, American Government, Spanish, and IEW.

Here is a sample of Teaching The Classics (IEW).  This is a 5 week or 25 school day course.

Teaching the Classics

Watch DVD (45 minutes). Have notebook and student book.
Finish DVD.
Watch DVD (45 minutes). Have notebook and student book.
Finish DVD.
Read "The Ransom of the Red Chief" by O. Henry.
Complete Homework Lesson 1.
Take Lesson 1 Quiz. Review homework.
Watch DVD (60 minutes). Have notebook and student book.
Finish DVD.
Complete Homework Lesson 2.
Review homework.
Watch DVD (45 minutes). Have notebook and student book.
Finish DVD.
Complete Homework Lesson 3.
Review homework.
Watch DVD (45 minutes). Have notebook and student book.
Finish DVD.
Complete Homework Lesson 4.
Review homework.
Watch DVD (45 minutes). Have notebook and student book.
Finish DVD.
Complete Homework Lesson 5
Review homework.
Watch DVD (45 minutes). Have notebook and student book.
Finish DVD.

Here is a link to an article I wrote for The Homeschool Classroom  (now called Real Life At Home) in 2012.  It explains how I homeschool multiple aged children.  You can click here to read this post.

Planning for my elementary aged children does not take as much time.  We use Sonlight, so that is all planned out for me.  I have used this curriculum for years, so all of my books are already labeled.  I did order my final new core this summer, Core E, and I had to insert the lesson plans into the binder.  I also had to purchase about 10 new books, so I labeled them and added them to Core E's bookshelf.  (I had previously done the combo D/E core, so I had a lot of the books).  

For elementary Apologia science, I just looked at my school calendar and determined that if spend 6 school days for each chapter, we can complete two of their courses this school year (botany and astronomy). I am not sure if this is a good idea or not.  I will see as the school year progresses. So I copied the suggested schedule that is included in the Apologia student notebooks, and wrote the dates that we needed to complete each chapter by.  Again, this took me a little bit of time last week, but I have saved myself many, many minutes throughout the year.  Anything I can do now to save me time once we actually begin school, I do it.

I will answer the other homeschool planning questions over the next few days.


  1. This is very helpful! My oldest is only 7 so I don't have independent checklist-users, but I was talking to a friend last night who was homeschooled. I was curious as to how her mother set it up for her in the later years. She basically did something like this--it was all laid out, "syllabus"-style, and my friend had to check off her work as she did it. She learned great time management skills that way b/c she knew once her work was done, she could do all the other interesting things she enjoyed! But right now my son only has the tiniest bit of independent work (Explode the Code and some copywork!). I like looking at what others do/have done and getting ideas for the future, so thank you!

  2. thank you sooooo much! This helps me so much! Can't wait to read more.

  3. Thank you for sharing! I know you have learned a lot about having independent workers from your experiences with Olivia! You are awesome for sharing and passing it on to us!

    Katy starts high school this year and I am also trying to help her to be independent and accountable for her own time management.

    It is so hard to let go of the control!!

    Oh, and Happy 1st Day of School!