Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How I Plan

Hopefully this will be of some interest to the homeschoolers out there. I want to talk about how I plan for our homeschool days.

Firstly, and most importantly, as you know, I use the Workbox System by Sue Patrick. If you don't know what it is, Google it. Go. Now. There's no time to waste! Just kidding, but really, the Workbox System is a huge part of how I pan our homeschool times.

I plan each week the week prior. I've tried planning nightly (way too time consuming), and I've tried planning monthly (this doesn't work either because it means that if we don't stay on schedule, I have to go back and redo everything. So, every weekend I spent about 30 minutes planning for the following week. I use two forms, both available from Sue's website when you purchase her book on the workboxes. One is a weekly planning form where I write down which core subjects we will do on which day of the week. I do one for each child. This one pretty much stays the same every week, except that the page numbers and assignments change as we move through the curriculum. From there, I use another form that has a numbered grid for each school day. I write down what will be in each workbox for each day in the following week in these grids. Again, one sheet per child. I make notes in the margin if there are any supplies I need to gather that we don't have on hand, or if there are copies I need to make, etc.

I keep both of these forms, plus sample work for each child in a three ring binder separated with dividers. Pretty self explanatory. It's simple, but it works for us (so far!).

So that's how I plan weekly. Each school day I have to prepare for the following day as well. We do school on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. So it's basically like a two day week, a day off and then another two day week. The night before a school day, I set up our boxes, gathering materials (hopefully on hand by now), and organizing the boxes with every supply we will need for a lesson, down to the pencil or piece of chalk. This does take a bit of time, usually 15 to 30 minutes a night, so to cut down on that, I like to clean up the workboxes fairly quickly after the kids have used them up during school time. If they are both busy on work alone boxes, I start cleaning up what they have already used. I keep my school area really organized, with everything easily accessible and easy to store. That way, as soon as they finish something, I can go about putting it away, which means that night, when I am preparing boxes for the next day, I don't have to trouble with putting away used materials.

That is one hard thing about the workboxes--you use a lot of materials. I literally have to rack my brain at times because we never have something new to put in the boxes. We use all our materials again and again. I guess that's a good thing too. It just makes for more getting out and putting away though. So that is how I plan for our school days.

Still wondering what the workbox system is? Go check it out!


The Chabot's said...

thank you!! Very Helpful!

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

This is very helpful, and sounds very well-organized. I love hearing about how other moms plan their days and use their school supplies. Do your children get tired of using the same things over and over? I've noticed M always wants something new and exciting. Of course, he is only 3 and we are just doing basic preschool stuff, so maybe it's just his age. I really have to stay on my toes to keep up with him and I have trouble coming up with new (and easy, and fast) activities.

Jennifer said...

Nicole--We have a lot of different games and educational tools, and I try to use them in different ways to kind of keep things interesting. But, they do get tired of certain things, or there are certain things that they just don't really like. I try to do the ones they like often, and the ones they don't like, but are important once in a while. I do variations on things too. Like instead of just a little puzzle, I'll hide the pieces in a sensory bucket to make it more interesting and new.

As far as coming up with fast activities, I find that it really depends. If you can find something that really grabs their interest, my two will keep at it for a long while. Miss O is three also (her birthday is in July), but she can focus on some activities, like stringing or sorting for 20 or more minutes. Others, she will be done in less than 5. The hardest thing is figuring out what they will really like!

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