Sunday, August 28, 2016

How I Do Weekly Homeschool Planning for a Large Family

Weekly homeschool planning can be done in many different ways. I wanted to share how I prepare for the week ahead with 6 of my 9 children officially homeschooling. You just may be surprised how easy it is. Saturday evening I sit down with a stack of teacher's manuals and books.
I open each Math U See manual to the sticky note for the lesson, beginning with the youngest child's, and browse the lesson. Remember, I've taught all of these levels before, most several times, except for Geometry. So a quick read through reminds me how to cover the new material and I'm done. For Geometry I read the lesson carefully and decide if I want to also watch the dvd lesson. Today the answer was yes. I'll watch that Monday morning before the kids get up so that I'm freshly reminded of how to teach it.

I open the All About Reading level 2 Oliver is using to the sticky note. Glance at the next 2 lessons because some weeks he does 1 and other weeks he does 2. This is totally scripted, meaning I could just open the manual and read exactly the words to say and go with it. I see that this week he's reading a word practice sheet and then reading a story. The words he's just learned to read are words where s says the 'z' sound between two vowels and words where the long u sound may be 'you' or 'ooo' (think fume vs. rule). No real prep to do here. I'm done.

Next I open All About Spelling level 1 that is being used by 4 children and preview the next several lessons. Again, this is totally scripted so I could wait until the day of the lesson, open the manual, and run with it. But I like to preview the concepts and figure out the best way to teach it to 4 kids at once.

Time to choose something to read aloud to the non-reader boys (Oliver, Caleb, plus the younger 3 boys). I'm thinking some Beatrix Potter for sure. I also have a set of books by Beverly Cleary and these boys would probably love hearing Ribsy or Ralph S. Mouse, so I suspect I'll start one of those this week too.I glance at each older child's current literature book to remind myself what topics are in the chapters they will read this week. This was The Hiding Place (Makayla), The Giver (Joseph and Emma), The One and Only Ivan (Daniel). We'll discuss each day's reading. I've read the books before and am reading along ahead of them too.

I look at Makayla's Biology assignments for the week. Her schedule is in the spiral bound Student Notebook from Apologia. She'll probably finish this module by the end of the week. Yay! I also look at the week's weather forecast and my nature study list to see what we are likely to be able to do. I saw ladybird beetles today on my front door so I think we'll look at insects this week.

Alphabet for Caleb - I open the binder full of alphabet printables to pick a letter for the week. I printed all this before the school year began so it's easy. I'll pull some picture books off the shelves each day that go with the letter.  

I read the teacher's notes for the Power in Your Hands, Makayla's writing course. This is new to me and I like how there are notes in italics when there is something I need to do with her on a day's work.

In the Beautiful Feet Medieval History high school guide I go to week 2. Read through the assignments and choose which ones I want Makayla to do. Jot down a note for her about each. Check her week's reading assignments to be sure I've already read them so I'm ready for discussion.

I open the Beautiful Feet Medieval Intermediate guide to week 2. Read through the assignments and choose which ones I want to do with the rest of the kids. See what our reading assignments are for the week and decide how much I want to read each day so it is done by Friday. Look at our picture books set aside for history this year to see if there are any I want to share with the younger kids that relate to this week's topics.

Writing for 6th and under right now is the notebooking they are doing in history. We'll be adding in a Brave Writer style writing project each month beginning in September. Beautiful Feet History also has writing and research assignment options we can use. I don't have to do any weekly prep for notebooking because during the summer I printed a 3 ring binder full on general notebooking pages and the kids grab out any page they want to use. I also have full sheets of blank paper they can draw and write on in there too.
All of that took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The slowest subject to prepare for me is  Makayla's writing course as this is the first time I've used it. I did not have to do any preparation for her veterinary medicine class (online) and for her herpetology class designed at home I've assigned her a paper to work on, plus she has a lot of animal care to do.

The rest of our learning assignments fall under our morning basket. I prepared that for this term during the summer by placing items in a crate to work through. I have zero weekly prep. This covers hymn study, scripture devotional, scripture memory, 50 states study, artist study, grammar, Ohio history, Bedtime math, poetry, and civics.  

That's it - an hour and 15 minutes of planning per week for my 6 students combined. I spent time over the summer pre-reading and studying our materials so now it really is just refreshing my memory for most of it. My weekly planning will continue like this until Christmas break. Then we will evaluate where we are in each subject and move on from there. Some things will remain the same, like math. Others will change, like switching from nature study to Apologia's Elementary Chemistry and Physics. Makayla will begin new online classes (Veterinary Medicine 2 and Criminology).

Our morning basket items will slowly change during the year. For example our civics book, The Land of Fair Play, will probably last about 20 weeks. Then we will put something new in it's place. Our artist will change twice this year, going from Bev Doolittle to John James Audubon and then Beatrix Potter.

How do you do your weekly homeschool planning?

1 comment:

  1. Now I've only got one left my planning routine is almost non-existent.In many ways I needen't bother but I like to stay involved! This week I simply jotted down the numbers of the next 5 maths lessons, asked her what she wanted to do next for ornithology and then ordered a library book that I knew would be useful. I grabbed our history unit and skimmed through, decided that this week would involve a major writing project and so opted not to do any additional writing. 5-10 minutes top. When the next module of her MOOC is released mid-week I'll browse that and divide the work into manageable chunks. Another 5 minutes. I could probably skip all this since it is much easier to just wing it with one older child but we find it easier to manage the rest of our lives if the homeschool is laid out.


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