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
|2011||Group Science||Physical Geo||Political Geo|
|Group Science||Physical Geo||Political Geo|
|May||Acids and Alkali||Mountains||Europe|
|Aug||Weather /clouds||Water cycle||"|
|Sep||"||Plate Tectonics||North America|
|Oct||Cells - animal/plant||"||"|
|Nov||Ocean||Ocean Currents||South 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
- Why the Sky is blue
- Air currents
- 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)