Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Planning our School Year, pt. 2 (Monthly Planning)

Continuing from the planning discussion (see the Yearly Planning post), today I'm going to show you how I'm planning for next year using my monthly planning sheets.  First, I print out twelve of my monthly block planning pages.   Yes, I print out twelve even though we only really "officially" school for ten months.  I like to make a loose plan for the summer months (more on that in the near future), #1 so I don't forget major events, holidays, or activities, and #2 so I can plan for lots of fun handworks and art lessons in the summer (yay, mama gets to learn to knit and draw this summer!).  So . . . twelve sheets.

Now, before you start to wonder if I'm overplanning things or if I'm going to fill out every subject for every month for the entire year . . . well, let me just stop you right there.  No.  The reason for all of this is that while I liked the flexibility I had by not overplanning this year, I didn't feel I planned enough.  Or, rather, when I came up with an idea for something to do, I had no system to process that idea. No place to put printouts or notes, and lots got forgotten.  (Loving my file crate!)  These pages give me a place to put my ideas when they strike me.  I DO NOT fill out entire planning sheets in advance.  I simply took my yearly sheet and used that to transfer all of the major events and topics I knew I wanted to plan for onto the monthly sheets.  I added a few things here and there as I thought of smaller details.  Really, it took maybe half an hour.

Next, I took the two workbooks we're using for grammar this year, and I broke them up into chunks, to make sure we did enough pages each month to complete them over the course of the year.  I wrote that on a separate sheet of paper (I'll do that for math later, too, when I pick up the Singapore Math books), and I transfered that info onto my monthly sheets.  Here's an example of one of my sheets:

Most of them don't even have this much information on them yet.  It's a good way for me to see at a glance if I have a busy month or not, and where I can add (or not add) activities or subject material.  For example, September is a busy history/geography month, so I won't plan for any formal science.  Now when I go to plan French or our handwork for the month, I'll know to plan for vocabulary lists that deal with knights and castles and maybe get some little hands helping to sew costumes for the Renaissance Fair later that fall.  If I run across an idea on a website, I'll know exactly where to write notes to myself.  Basically, I consider these my Brain Dump pages.

If you want to download a copy of the monthly page I made, you can find it here:
Monthly Block Planning .pdf file (on Scribd)
Monthly Block Planning .pdf file (on Google Docs)

Next, I'll probably discuss our summer plans and save the weekly planning for later, since I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to do the weekly planning yet, and since I probably won't work on any of that until later in the summer.  For now, this is where my planning stops.


  1. One, I miss homeschooling an awful lot sometimes. Two, I need a better Brain Dump system. My husband uses his phone. I just have lots of notebooks everywhere and I can't always find which notebook I put which list into. Maybe I should adapt your homeschooling worksheets to life in general. ;)

  2. I keep a lot of extra stuff in there now (craft project directions, birthday sewing plans), and I'm even thinking of throwing a paper in each month with reminders for household projects and some sort of cleaning rotation for the big jobs. It depends how full the folders get and how much time I have this summer.

  3. michelle,
    as i was waking kids up LATE again this morning, one of your posts about "rhythm" came to my mind--can you email me with some ideas of where to find more on that?
    specifically i am thinking(my kids are older-14,12,10,7)that doing "blocks"of time based on their more natural inclinations might be more beneficial than a totally-structured schedule. for instance, thursday mornings are SLOW because of late Wednesday nights. . . i need to plan for "down" stuff to happen on thursday morning, then....ongoing. can you help me out? :)
    i would appreciate any direction you could point me in. . .

  4. Certainly! A lot of what I've read tells you to come up with your own rhythms, which is what it sounds like you're already doing. I'll dig through my bookmarks and email you what I find . . .

  5. lol. "doing already" NINE years into this! :)
    i appreciate your resource sharing. looking back over these two "planning" posts of yours, it starts to make sense. i am not much of a planner, and i NEED flexibility...yet have a tendency to be too rigid and so important things get left out. sounds like a TOTAL contradiction, doesn't it?


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