Back to (Home) School ~ Planning Our Days

Welcome back to the third week of Back to (Home) School, in which we discuss how we plan our lessons and schedule our days.

I like using planners; I think it’s the visual organization that appeals to me most. I’m not one of those uber-diligent planner users, though. (I’m thinking about trying to become one!) Even if I don’t use our homeschool planner everyday, it still benefits me to have one.

Last year I went out on a limb and did something c-r-a-z-y. I sat down with my planner and our curriculum and filled out the whole year. I intended to not worry about not having a perfect day, or getting behind on a sick day, but let the book serve as a guide to what should be done and how much we needed to do to catch up if we did get behind.

Well, it worked. We worked through our days, checking off items, got behind sometimes, doubled up to get ahead and checked more things off again. Sometimes we were working on the calendar week we were supposed to be working on, sometimes we were a week or two “behind” that, working to catch up. What I did not do: I did not stress out too much. I could see what needed to be done on the page right in front of me. Wherever we were in the lessons, that’s what page we were on — nevermind what the date was.

What didn’t work: forgetting to use it for a little while and so not using it at all. When using the planner, we stayed on track better, were more likely to get all of our assignments and projects in, and remembered to read more books, watch more documentaries, and take more trips (which we were logging in our monthly calendar.) Without a planner helping me stay on schedule, I’m less focused and we’re not as good at that (not to mention that I forget to record whatever movies, trips and documentaries we do complete if I’m not using the planner regularly.) On the other hand, I did use this year’s planner much more and to a better degree than I did the previous year. I will take the improvement and try again this next year!

This year I’m going to use the Well Planned Day planner again. I’m also going to record the whole year at once, since that was helpful last year. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” right?

Something I’m adding: I’ve decided to use printable pages to make Princess her own student planner. I’m going with a printable planner because I can print off only a couple of months worth to give it a try. So far I’ve found this simple weekly planner but I’m still looking for something better. In any case, I want to try to teach her how to organize, plan and keep a schedule more independently. Since she’ll be doing Apologia General Science independently this year, there’s a good opportunity to do this.

Scheduling our days will stay much the same. We’ll be starting school between 9 and 9:30 for the basics (bible, math, language arts), breaking for lunch around noon, and then finishing out the afternoon with history or science and everything else (guitar, art, etc.) I’ve got to try again to plan in more weekly trips to the library, too.

I always look forward to the start of the new year. This year we’ll begin on August 20. I should probably get busy planning, huh?? Actually, I’ll begin working on that this week. The process of getting ready for the new year begins! The first day will be here before I know it.

How do you schedule your day and plan for your year?

(Reminder: It’s okay to link up posts you’ve already written for your own blog or someone else’s back to school carnival as long as it’s on topic. Thanks!) All the linkies are open through the end of August. To find all the posts in this series, click here.

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July 23, 2012 10:15 am

It’s always interesting to see what works for different families. I tried writing it all down one year and I just couldn’t make it work for us.
I schedule 9 weeks at a time, entering our lessons into iCal. I haven’t started scheduling for this coming year yet, as we had a late end to last year.

July 28, 2012 9:22 pm
Reply to  Paula

I used to rail against the idea of planning the whole year out — it wasn’t until I let go of the strict side of the schedule that I felt comfortable doing it. The page for a day shows what lessons we’re *supposed* to be on, we may or may not be. But that’s okay. It also shows me how many we need to do to catch up. I check them off as we do them, and I check off a whole day when it’s complete. The goal is to stay on the right date and get it all done,… Read more »

Amy @ Are We There Yet?
Amy @ Are We There Yet?
July 23, 2012 12:43 pm

Last year was my first time to plan out the year and it made huge difference! Sometimes we got behind, but at least I had an idea of where we were supposed to be. I will be doing a student planner round-up sometime in the next couple of weeks if you don’t find what you want soon.

July 28, 2012 9:22 pm

Yes, exactly what you said. That’s how I use it, too!

July 24, 2012 2:54 pm

My son started using My Father’s World last year for grade 9 and it comes with day by day plan. I also bought the daily lesson plan to go with his apologia science. I liked knowing exactly where he was in the school year so much that this year I am trying to plan out something similar for my two younger children. I will probably end up using it a lot like you did, as a guide and not a strict schedule.

July 28, 2012 9:23 pm

Yes, exactly. I remember looking at a lesson plan similar to that in my early days of homeschooling and I FREAKED OUT. Funny how things change as we grow. =)

Lisa h
Lisa h
July 27, 2012 6:15 pm

Last year I didn’t want to feel pressured to finish so I have myself a timeline but in my head and that didn’t work out quite well. This year I printed off copies from Donna young and wrote down the first 13-14 weeks. I hope I can feel like you did when we get behind. Not to stress and just keep going. So that’s my plan this year!

July 28, 2012 9:25 pm
Reply to  Lisa h

Yes, don’t stress just forge ahead! We’d double up on a subject or two at a time until we were caught up again. I didn’t try to do two days worth all at once that just stressed us out more!

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