I’m a planner. I like making lists. I like crossing things off lists. I like making new lists. Except shopping lists – those are just depressing. Homeschool planning, on the other hand, is my favourite kind of planning.
It’s easy to get despondent when things don’t go quite according to plan, though, so I had to learn early on in our homeschool journey not to hold too tightly to what the plan looks like. Kind of like parenting, right? The more kids you have, the more flexible you become.
One of the great things about using Ambleside Online is that most of the planning is already done, which makes life a lot easier – especially when you’ve got more than one child to plan for. This year Emmy’s basically been doing a kindergarten year, with not much planning needed, but next year I’ll have two kids using AO and I’m not quite sure what that’s going to look like yet. (Ask me in October. I’ll probably have started planning by then.)
I have one A4 book that I use as my main homeschool planner. I’ve drawn a year plan in the front, added all the public holidays, family birthdays and other random special days (like Star Wars Day, and Talk Like A Pirate Day, because what’s life without a little fun?). I worked out the school year in six week blocks, then did a bit of adjusting to work around Easter, holiday Bible club, and other things. If we keep on track, we’ll finish up the year in mid-November, leaving a nice long summer holiday.
Then I’ve listed the free reads I’d like to do this year as well as a set of goals for each of the girls (academic, spiritual and personal). I printed out the year plans from AO, but I’ve given each week an entire page for more detailed planning.
I also have pages for our Bible reading plan, our language vocabulary, a hymn tracker (because the girls would be quite happy to sing the same two hymns forever), an expense tracker, to do lists, and a breakdown of our current booklist (so I know which book is a print copy, pdf file or on Kindle).
At the back of the book, I’ve got a list of next year’s books for both Angie and Emmy, because I’d like to have all of them before the year begins. I mentioned I like to plan, didn’t I?
I’m six weeks ahead in my pre-reading and lesson planning. I like to have the six weeks’ buffer time just in case life gets super unpredictable. Like when I ended up having emergency surgery last year and school didn’t happen for a while. (Who needs a gall bladder anyway, right?)
I have a daily schedule template that I print out each week. Then I write in all the information I’ll want to have on hand without needing to open my planner. By the end of the week the page is full of check marks, notes, and occasionally Rafe’s scribbles.
At the end of every week, I make notes in my planner about what was actually read that week and what needs to be carried over to another week. At the end of the year, the planner will be a thorough record of everything that we covered.
How do you plan? Do you use a ready-made planner, or make your own?