Yearly Planning – Part 1
I am a planner. There is no escaping it. I am what I am, and I know what makes me feel comfortable. Holding a plan in my hand definitely lights me up. I like having a goal, working hard for that goal, and then crossing the goal off when completed. I realize not everyone takes the same delight in structure that I do. For those of you who do not, this post might not be as exciting, but I would still read it because…well…learning how to plan is super fun!
Each year, in January, I begin. I used to wait until the summer to plan, but then I realized how frustrating that was. I want a break from school too! January works well for me because it is normally such a “dead” time. The after-Christmas drag has kicked in, and the short, dark days of winter pull me down. I am always looking for something new and exciting to do, and nothing says “winter joy” like a stack of fresh curriculum. (Alright, so I’m a little weird.) So on a dark, blustery day, I fire up my computer and pull up my trusty “year plan” document. This document is a table. Across the top, I have listed the kids’ names. Down the left side, I have listed all the subject areas. I tweak the table as needed for the upcoming year, and then I print 36 copies of it.
(Contact me if you would like a copy of it – For the next month, I will e-mail it to you for free!)
With my 36 copies and a cup of tea, the fun begins! Because we do not choose to pay for “complete” curriculums (I always find them to be super strong in an area or two and then weak in others) or for co-ops (as much as I like structure, we need to be able to flex around the military schedule), I have to work to integrate our separate curriculums into a cohesive whole. To facilitate this, I always begin with history. As a family, we love the Mystery of History series by Linda Lacour Hobar, but there are many great history curriculums out there. So how do I plan it out?
The first step in actual planning is to figure out how many lessons the book has and then divide by 36. 36 is the magic number because most states require 180 days of school. (36 weeks X 5 days = 180 days) This first number will give you a sense of how many lessons you need to do a week in order to complete the curriculum. Let me give you an example. One year of MoH has 84 lessons. 84/36 = 2.33. From this, I know that I need to complete 2-3 lessons a week in order to finish the curriculum by year’s end. Since rounding down will mean that I do not complete the curriculum, I generally round up. With the knowledge that I need to do 3 lessons a week, I do another math problem. I take the number of lessons and divide by 3. 84/3 = 28. Now I know that I have 28 weeks of lessons, so I pause and consider how to spend those other 8 weeks. Here are some questions to ask:
Will this curriculum need some review time?
Do I need to set aside time for semester tests or projects?
For what else could I use that time?
Next week, I will provide some of my own answers to these questions and will continue on with how to plan…
...a self-avowed "Wander Woman," homeschools her three children while traipsing the globe with her Army Chaplain husband. Her third greatest passion, falling below her love for God and family, is empowering other parents to teach their children.