Friday, August 26, 2016

A Year of (Homeschool) Planners

Here's the thing; I am not a big homeschool planner, I'll just say that right up front. I find rigid schedules a source of stress (what will I do when we inevitably fall behind? what if something that I've meticulously planned for does not go at the pace I've anticipated?) but I do like to have a rhythm to lean on, a spine to return to whenever we are able.

My plan though is fluid, flexible and I know up front, that the plan I make at the beginning of the year will not be the same as the plans I am making towards the end of the school year. And that is a-okay by me!

I start out by creating an overview of our year; on this I include birthdays, festivals and holidays, and some basic items that we want to look at each quarter, such as Artist Study, Composer Study and Shakespeare. (I use a basic composition book as my homeschool planner each year, which gives me so much freedom! I can create just the right planner for our needs, and can change it as and when our needs change. Perfect!)

I then create a monthly calendar, with the weeks numbered; this makes it easier for me to see, at a glance, how our curricula aligns with the month. Along the right hand edge I have a separate column for notes; here I include the basics we'll be covering, one off items and more sporadic items I want to make sure we get to.

Next is a two page spread for each week. I typically fill in the details for this each weekend for the week to come; on the left hand page I include our daily reading and items to cover, weekly reading items, and then specific chapters or lessons to do. And on the right hand page I make note of all the books we read. And yes! - I really do mean all the books. I often find myself returning to my old homeschool planners to look up books that we particularly enjoyed, to read again for a particular season or for my two younger children, Buttercup and Seal Pup.

And finally, I have a daily rhythm. This one aspect could be my biggest take away from the Waldorf method; to have a daily rhythm to lean on, rather than a schedule. My children find it very reassuring to know what is coming up next; to have a rhythm of our days. We don't follow this religiously, but like my other schedules, it is something for us to lean on.

I try to alternate busy periods with times of rest or unstructured time. We go for a walk most days, and have plenty of time for outings and fieldtrips. Also, we try really hard to finish off all our homeschool work by lunch time, to give ourselves the afternoons 'off' (although we all know that learning happens just as much, if not more, in those afternoons 'off' as it does during official homeschool time!)

And now you are probably wondering what we fill those days with! And how we fit it all in?! But enough for today; I'll share those details in another post or two!

Do you homeschool? What does your planner look like? 
Leave a comment and let me know; I'd love to hear from you 
Or leave a link back to your own blog post!