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Yesterday I was sharing how I plan out my homeschool year in 6 easy steps. Today I’m sharing a little more about how I actually plan our lessons. I do want to say that doing things my way isn’t necessarily going to be the right fit for YOUR family. This is what works for my family at the stage our children area at right now. Our routines and lessons are always changing to fit the stage of growth of our children.
I’m a big fan of computer based and online planners but for some of my planning I really do prefer using paper. I start buy using a yearly planning page and on this I list all the holidays for each month, birthdays etc.. Then since we also use unit studies like Five in a Row I list the names of the books I want to “row” in each month as well. This is just a very basic outline for me to work from.
Back when I first started homeschooling my oldest 8 years ago (has it’ been THAT long already?!) I was using my file cabinet to try and organize materials.
Eventually I found another blogger who was also using a file system but she used a milk crate. What a great idea that was! You can read more about Dawns system on her blog By Sun and Candlelight.
Over time I switched my main file box from a milk crate to a “real” plastic file box. I found this was a better fit for me. They are waterproof and have a lid that closes well. This is helpful if I want to take the file box with me somewhere and keeps everything inside nice and clean.
My lesson planning file crate ready to start filling for a new year!
I filled the file box with 52 hanging file folders one for each week of the year. We homeschool year round and yes we do take breaks! I use 52 folders because I add fun activities to our weeks off and I like to tuck in recipes etc. for myself along the way to.
Ok back to the file box! After adding the hanging file folders in each folder I place 4 or 5 folded file folders, 1 for each week of the month per child. I label each folder by the week number NOT an actual date. To many things like sickness and unexpected appointments can turn your plans upside down. So I learned years ago that it was easier to plan by the day and week not by date.
Then I start working through each child’s curriculum and adding worksheets to the folders. Most workbooks I take apart and divide up by week and printable notebook pages etc. are all placed into these folders so everything is ready when we need it! If there is a curriculum that can’t be put into folders then I make a note inside the file folder of what page or chapters is needed.
One of our favourite unit study programs is Five in a Row. I keep a file folder at the back of my crate for each book title used in the study guides. As I find great worksheets and craft ideas I print these off and add them to the file folder. Later when I’m planning out what books to row for this school year I pull out these resources and place them in the right week folders. This saves so much time!
Now you might be wondering what do I actually DO with each weeks folder. On the weekend before our new week starts I take the week folders out and divide the pages up into daily folders.
I found some multi pocket folders that work really well for this!
This is great because I can have the kids list of work emailed to them each day or have them login and just work through the to-do list online. It’s also easy to print a copy off so they can work away from the computer. For me this blends the best of both worlds.
I have paper copies stored and organized in a easy to use way and a digital lesson plan that can easily be printed to!
If you would like to try my simple year overview planning sheet your welcome to use it!