I’m trying to stick to my goal of multi-tasking while watching the Olympics, and so far I’ve been pretty successful. I’m super excited to have finished my planners for the 2012-2013 homeschool year!
Yes…planners…plural! I posted a few weeks ago a bit about my planner from last year and some thoughts I had about creating a new planner for this year. (That post has links to a ton of free printables I found for creating planners, so be sure to check out that post too if you are working on creating your own!).
I decided this year to create a weekly planner and a calendar/curriculum reference in a separate bindings:
The front and back covers start with a base of cardstock, and the front covers have a piece of decorative paper attached. I then sent front and back covers through my laminator. They are pretty sturdy yet still a bit flexible. I bound each one using my ProClick binding machine. I love the ProClick because I can open these planners up and re-arrange or add/delete pages as needed!
My planner from last year had a journal/planner section that I used for a few weeks and then abandoned. It just didn’t reflect how I actually planned or tracked our weeks. However I did find myself printing out a bunch of these one page charts to pencil in at the beginning of the week — just so I could get a feel for what each day would look like. I was inspired by this thread at the Well-Trained Mind forum to look at a few more planning ideas, and I found this weekly planner (intended to be a student planner). I thought this planner (edited with a different font and headings) might be a nice replacement for this chart, with a little more space to write on and with the easier ability to customize the subjects:
This planner doesn’t specifically have space for different students’ subjects. Some subjects like history and science we do “all together” anyway. The boxes are big enough that for subjects like Math and Phonics/Spelling I can write in the same box what each student is doing. This may not work when all 4 kids or even the three older ones are school age, but for right now with just a K’er and a 3rd grader doing “real” school, this should be just fine.
How I’ll use this is at the beginning of each week I’ll jot down in pencil what I hope to accomplish in each subject — which history books we might read, what math lessons I hope we finish (i.e. I will look through the upcoming lessons and see if any will take more than one day, etc). Then I can easily erase and make changes if needed! I can look back on the week as I am writing a weekly update post or as I decide what we need to do the next week!
I like having this as a separate volume from my calendar/reference planner, because then I can have both open at once — one to a reference page and one to a weekly planner chart.
Here’s what I put in my other planner:
I started out with a nice sturdy plastic pocket. It’s an Avery Big Pocket Insertable Plastic Divider. Since this reference planner is also my main calendar, I find myself taking it with me to appointments, etc and sometimes I have small bits of paper or appointment cards I don’t want to lose. That’s what this pocket is for! It used to have a tab divider sticking out the side but it stuck out way too far so I cut it off! :-) Under the pocket is a one-page academic year calendar from vertex42. I’ll use an (erasable) colored pencil to mark the weeks were planning on taking school breaks.
Under the one year calender is a quick chart of “school weeks” vs. dates. We started doing some schoolwork at the beginning of July, but we won’t do “full school days” until after labor day (well, we might do a couple “for practice” the week prior to test out our schedule!). This only makes 32 full school weeks, but with the work we get done in the two months prior to this, it still makes for a pretty full school year. This reference will help me make sure we stay on track with things like Miss M’s Bible study book for the year, where we’ll just do one chapter per week. I can quickly make sure we are staying on track by comparing the week # with the chapter #!
Under the chart is a set of monthly calendars, again from Vertex42.
Next is another plastic divider pocket…and a blank space that will later be filled with schedules from co-op, homeschool support group, etc. After this space I have subject-specific dividers:
In each section I copied or printed out the tables of contents for the books we use, and any helpful reference materials — like the phonogram chart for Logic of English Essentials or the flowcharts that go along with Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. I just have a couple pages of theme and activity ideas in the Pre-K/K section. My history section has the most actual “planning” documents (which makes sense since I planned our own history this year rather than relying on a packaged curriculum!):
I used the school year calendar from 5Js to color each of our history units a different color for quick reference.
And I also printed out the most recent copy of my history spreadsheet (available on this page — I’ll be updating the file as we go through the year) for quick reference. I’ll be changing out these pages every couple months as I update the spreadsheet (I think, anyway!). If I find I always just look at this on the computer, I may take it out all together, but I suspect I might refer to this at the library or elsewhere.
I’ll still be adding a few more pages to my reference planner, but it’s about 95% or more complete! Finishing the planner makes me really excited to get going with more of our school year!