Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Planning season is upon us.

I've been asked a few questions recently about how I plan our work. To be honest I'm more of a 'big picture' type of girl - the fine details tend to come later. I really wish I was one of those super organised mums who plan a year in advance but I'm more of a monthly girl.

My favourite planning tool is my notebook - this comes everywhere with me as I constantly jot down various ideas - the front half of the book is for things I want to make and the back half is where I keep ideas for specific topics. As I am a visual person I use my pinterest board to collate good ideas.

For Science and Geography I tend to create the work myself. I start by looking at what they should be learning and in what order - for example I have an old Biology text book from my studies and noticed that it starts with plant life, animal life, cells, human body etc. so I would plan activities in that order. I start with a 2 year plan and my 'big picture' looks like this

 2011Group SciencePhysical GeoPolitical Geo
April""South America
MayAnimalsearth stucture"
JunSpacevolcanoNorth America
Group SciencePhysical GeoPolitical Geo
JanSimple MachinesHabitatAfrica
April"" "
MayAcids and AlkaliMountainsEurope
Jun"" "
JulPhys experimentsFossilsAustralia
AugWeather /cloudsWater cycle "
Sep"Plate TectonicsNorth America
OctCells - animal/plant" "
NovOceanOcean CurrentsSouth America

once I have my bigger picture (I always leave Dec blank for catch up and crafts) I then work on a monthly basis. I try to plan a month in advance so I have time to collect anything I need (if I did anything more than monthly it would overwhelm me.)
I work from my notebook - put the ideas in order, make sure I've all aspects of the topic covered and source a hands on activity for each (some I make up, some I collect from pintrest and some from science books), so for example our weather unit covered:

  • Water cycle (where rain comes from)
  • Types of precipitation
  • How clouds are formed
  • Types of clouds
  • Rainbows
  • Why the Sky is blue
  • Air currents
  • Tornado/Hurricanes
  • Thunder/Lightning 
  • Famous storms in history

Once I've planned the month I print off my calender, fill in all the trips and activities then work on my individual weekly plans. I try to print off everything I need for the month at this point because nothing is more annoying than being halfway through a lesson and realising you don't have the papers/pictures they need.

For Maths, English and Geometry I use Montessori methods/procedures. I use Story of the world for History. Meet the masters covers Art (although I am looking at a few new products for next year - any recommendations welcome) and I have various Spanish and French programmes. Music is something that has taken a back burner this year but I am hoping to improve this next year and am sourcing new products as we speak.

How do you plan? I am always open to new tips and product suggestions (anything to make my life easier) 


Lynette said...

First, I haven't been a reader for that long, but the activities I've seen posted on your blog so far have really impressed me and given me some good ideas to use for my own children, so thank you!

As far as planning goes...I've been officially homeschooling for 3 years now (my oldest is in 3rd grade). I just figured out -- this summer -- a wonderful way to plan, that definitely works for me. I plan month-to-month and prepare four weeks' worth of materials ahead of time, if it's possible. I have a folder for each subject and four folders within that folder for the four weeks' work. I am currently homeschooling oldest three children, so it isn't that much work that I'm putting into one week's folder in a given subject. I keep these file folders in a file crate and whatever texts we are currently using are in the crate as well. I've never felt more organized -- for me! :)

I do my "own thing" for history/geography and science. I haven't made a definite plan for science, though. It's been put on the back burner and I need to figure that one out...I really like your idea of using a textbook as a guide as to what order (and how in-depth you study) the different science topics should be taught. Pinterest has been almost too helpful for me with all of the gazillions of ideas I find there, but I love that I don't have to look too far for those ideas! :) For history, we are studying American History Heroes, using A History of US by Joy Hakim as our "spine." The guidebooks that can be purchased along with the set are too advanced for my children, so I supplement with activities I find on pinterest and juvenile biographies from the library. I only plan *who* we are studying and take about a month, roughly, to study each person.

Anyway...I didn't mean to ramble there... :) If it's all right, I would like to follow your blog...I know I don't have to ask for permission, but I feel for myself that it's a little disconcerting to have a new follower without having some kind of an introduction. :)

Thank you for some terrific ideas! ~Lynette from the U.S. :)

Zelda said...

Welcome Lynette

Thanks for sharing your ideas - I love the idea of biographies for History study, this is one I will add to my planning notebook :)

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