Homeschool Planning: How I Plan Out Our Homeschool Year

We’re 3 days into our first grade year!¬† So far, so good!

(The Princess even surprised us by losing her first tooth today ūüôā¬† We almost thought she’d eaten it, but thankfully I found it next to her hamburger, lol.)

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you how I go about planning out our homeschool year….

020

Everyone plans differently.  Some prefer paper, while others prefer to plan electronically.  Me?  I do both!

I start with my computer and make an overview of our entire year.¬† (Yes, even technology-challenged me can do this!)¬† Here’s how:

  • Open an Excel document.
  • Down the left-hand side I enter all of the subjects we want to cover for the year.¬† Across the top, I fill in the week #.¬† Next line down goes the day of the week.¬† Next line down is for the actual date.¬† Finally, one more line down, is the number¬†of¬†the day of school we’re on (in our state it’s mandatory to attend 180 days of school so I like to keep track of that.)¬†¬†Oh, and below that, I highlight a row to fill in any holidays.
  • Between each week, I leave a column where I repeat the subjects, and fill it in with a color so that I can easily see the break for each week.

It looks like this:

 

009

018

*Just a note, the pink highlight is the break between weeks.¬† The yellow is only there because school has already started for us now and that’s how I keep track of what we’ve done, filling it in with color to mark it as completed.

 

All I have to do then is fill in an overview of what we’ll be doing each day for the entire year. Yes, really!¬† Hear me out; it’s not as difficult as it sounds.¬† Now, this isn’t the time to look and see that on Friday, January 8th we’ll be building a model of the Eiffel Tower made completely from cheese. No. Rather, it’s just a very general overview. For example, our geography book this year just happens to have 36 weeks worth of lessons, so, in my computer overview schedule I just write that we’re covering week one’s lessons in the week one spots.

Some things don’t work out so nicely like that and you have to do a little bit of math to figure out how to schedule them. Most everything I’ve used, though, has been 36 weeks or thereabouts, so it hasn’t been too much of a pain.

When my yearly overview is done, I wait. Yep. I wait until it’s nearly time for school to start, and then I fill in my first week’s lesson plan. This is the time that I take a closer look at what we’ll need for each lesson and what it is we’ll be covering. I fill it all into my handy-dandy planner:

A Simple Plan Homeschool Planner, by Mardel

A Simple Plan Homeschool Planner, by Mardel

011

I only¬†plan one week at a time this way.¬† My yearly overview has made this so simple to do now.¬† I just check the computer to see what I need to fill in for each day.¬† Then, I look at each subject individually to see if I need to gather any extras and also to make sure I understand what it is I’ll be teaching!¬† (So far for kindergarten and now first grade this hasn’t been too difficult–thankfully, lol.)¬† Any extras and any appointments we have that week are written down in the margin on the right-hand side of the page, and I also make a special note at the bottom of that day’s date.

As we go through the day and complete items, I color-fill the blocks on my computer and mark them off in my paper planner.¬† (Yes, I do both…I’m a better-safe-than-sorry kinda¬†girl and I do it *just in case* something awful would happen to my laptop.¬† Just in case.)

And that’s pretty much it!¬† Pretty simple, and other than a little bit of time to figure out the yearly overview, it makes our homeschool planning a breeze!

Hopefully it will be helpful to someone else out there ūüôā¬† If you have any questions or would like to share how you do your homeschool planning, please comment below!¬† I’d love to hear from you!

Advertisements

Homeschool Curriculum for First Grade…Our Choices!

The countdown is on and preparation is nearly complete (…and I have surprisingly been able to somewhat maintain a level of sanity!) so I thought I’d share with you our homeschool curriculum choices for first grade ūüôā

034

Last year (for Kindergarten), we chose to use Timberdoodle Company’s curriculum kit with a few additional add-ons to both meet our state requirements and introduce things that we personally wanted to implement into our homeschool. This year we are planning on doing something similar, but not exactly…

In researching this year I came across the name of a lady: Charlotte Mason. The more I learn about her educational methods, the more I know that this is the way I want to educate my daughter. Some things will be easier for me to implement than others; reading comes naturally and easy, but getting myself motivated to go outside for a while everyday may be a challenge. (I don’t know why, though, I love being outside once I get there!)

All of that to say that our homeschool this year will be mostly Timberdoodle with a distinct Charlotte Mason slant. If you’d like to see the specifics, keep reading ūüôā

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2015-2016

Bible Study & Morning Routine

Bible Study & Morning Routine

Bible Study & Morning Routine

I’ve decided to continue using the Bible Study Guide for All Ages as our morning Bible study.¬† The Princess and I have both learned so much from this study (for me, it has been a wonderful way to memorize those lists that you always wanted to and knew you should but just didn’t because, well, you have to memorize it!)¬† To keep costs down, though, we’re going to continue on through the beginner level.¬† (Grades 1-2 cost significantly more because you have to purchase a separate teacher’s guide for each lesson packet.)¬† We’ll re-evaluate when we complete all 416 lessons and decide if we need to use the primary level or if we can just jump into the intermediate level lessons.

To help us with scripture memorization, we’ll be using a CD called Sing the Word:¬† A new Commandment.

*Part of our morning routine will also focus on learning a new hymn and a new folksong each month.¬† We’ll be using the lists so kindly put together for us by the lovely ladies at Ambleside Online!

Math

Math

Math

Math is where we will stray the most from the items provided in the Timberdoodle curriculum.¬† Last year, we used what came with our kit (Mathematical Reasoning A by the Critical Thinking Co).¬† While the Princess did learn from the book, it just wasn’t the best fit for her.¬† There was little in the way of explanation, and we ended up supplementing with lots of games (both online and off) as well as with¬†the first two books in the Life of Fred series.¬† By the time summer came, I knew that we needed to try something different.¬† Thankfully, I found just what we were looking for!

*Making Math Meaningful¬†by David Quine has really seemed to click with the Princess.¬† She is learning and enjoying math now!¬† I like that it tells you exactly what to say and do (although you don’t have to follow the script if you don’t want to).¬† I also like that it is so inexpensive.¬†¬†I purchased the¬†counting chips and links separately, and¬†unifix cubes are also on the way.¬† Everything else you need to use this book you’ll probably already have in¬†your home.¬† We started going through level 1 for review this summer, so when school begins, we’ll finish the book and move on to level 2.¬†¬†(And the Mathematical Reasoning B book that we got from Timberdoodle will become the review book next summer ūüėČ )

*Life of Fred.¬† The Princess enjoyed her Life of Fred books, so we’ll be continuing on with both Cats and Dogs.¬† We’ll do it once a week and have a¬†“Fred Friday”.

*The addition and subtraction wrap-ups and the Cuisenaire rods are extras from our Timberdoodle curriculum.¬† I’m sure we’ll use them at some point.

History

History

Timeline

Timeline

History

  • The Story of the World Vol. 1 by Susan Wise Bauer
  • Famous Figures of Ancient Times
  • A Timeline for All Time by Vickie Froehlich

Both¬†The Story of the World and the Famous Figures are¬†from our Timberdoodle kit.¬† The timeline I purchased separately and we’ll work on together as a family.¬† I really enjoy all of the beautiful historic figures¬†that are included, and for the price, it is a great deal!

Geography

Geography

Geography

  • Daily Geography (Evan-Moor)
  • Scrunch Map

Again, both items are from our Timberdoodle kit.

Science

Science

Science

  • Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Jeannie Fulbright, and the Junior Notebook Journal
  • Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock

The astronomy book is from our Timberdoodle curriculum.¬† The handbook and sketch diaries¬†will hopefully help us to get outside at least once a week for class!¬† I’m not sure how the two will work together, but we’ll see.

Handwriting

Handwriting

Handwriting

  • A Reason for Handwriting
  • The Usborne Very Big Maze Book

We used A Reason for Handwriting last year and saw a tremendous improvement in the Princess’ handwriting ability, so we’re sticking with it this year.¬† The teacher’s guide was purchased separately and was actually a very big help for the kindergarten year.¬† (When you buy it, you can use it for grades k-6, so it’s a good investment if you think you’ll use it.)¬† The Usborne Maze Book will just be a little added fun (and it’s a sneaky way to get her to practice!)

Language Arts

Language Arts

Language Arts

  • Language Smarts B (The Critical Thinking Co)
  • Daily 6-Trait Writing Grade 1

Again, both from our Timberdoodle kit.  They look like they will be a fun introduction to language arts and writing.

Reading

The majority of our reading material this year will come from Ambleside Online‘s Year 1.¬† We’ll be following their reading schedule and begin practicing our narration skills!¬† I’ll post these pics a little bigger so that you can see the titles.

These will be the readers the Princess will read to me (some from Timberdoodle, some from AO, and we’ll probably be making bi-weekly trips to the library):

Age-Appropriate Readers

Age-Appropriate Readers

Here are our daily read-alouds:

Read-Alouds

Read-Alouds

On the top is my Kindle.  Some of our AO books are on it.

And here are our free reads.¬† They’ll probably end up being our bedtime stories:

Free-Reads

Free-Reads

Health

Health

Health

  • A Beka Health, Safety, & Manners 1

Our state requires that we teach health.¬† We used Horizons Health last year for Kindergarten (there just aren’t that many health curriculums for kindergarten) and I wasn’t a fan for most of the year.¬† So this year we’re going to give A Beka a try.

Art

Art

Art

Rather than use what Timberdoodle sends as our main art curriculum, we’ll be using Meet the Masters.¬† I like that it incorporates artist study along with making art.¬† We used it a little bit last year, so we’ve already got our portfolios made and pictured above.¬† I actually found a great deal on it last year at the Homeschool Buyers Co-op.

Music

Music

Music

Last year’s music curriculum (Pfeiffer House Music) was just not a good fit for us.¬† I’m hoping that this program will be more enjoyable!¬† It looks like lots of fun, and like we’ll actually be learning, so we’ll see.

Spanish

Sorry I don’t have a picture for it.¬† But it’s only online!¬† We’ll be watching one episode per week.

P.E.¬† The Princess has been in dance class for almost as long as she’s been alive (we started with Mommy & Me classes) and she’s continuing on this year with a first year of gymnastics.

And last but not least…

Fun!

Fun!

Fun!

Yep, fun ūüôā¬† Not that the other stuff won’t be fun, but this will be miscellaneous fun and games, art, handicrafts, go outside and run around like crazy, take a break from the more difficult subjects kind of time.¬† A lot of the stuff in the picture above is from Timberdoodle–the extras that came with our kit last year that we didn’t quite finish (or that you can play again and again), and the extras in the kit this year, too.¬† We’ll see how it changes as the year progresses.¬† But we all need some fun in our everyday ūüôā

And I think that’s it.¬† If it’s like last year, there will be continual tweaking¬†and change to meet the needs of my student.¬†¬†So this is our starting point.¬† Here’s to a happy, fun, and successful year for us all!