I have recently decided to do a test run with Homeschooling my kiddos for pre-school/K-4. I’m still not positive what we will be doing when next fall comes around, but if Homeschooling goes well this year, I will continue with it. I am enjoying planning out the school year, but the only reason I am enjoying said planning is because I decided to make myself a curriculum planner, much like I made the blog planner (read about that here).
I will have many more posts about my curriculum choices in particular, but first I want to talk about the Curriculum Planner that has helped me to organize and come at this year with a little more confidence. Here is the process I went through to create my customized Homeschool Curriculum Planner for 2013-2014.
1. I did a lot of research on what exactly my kids would need to learn this year. What do they not know that maybe they should? Where they are ahead and just need to review? Where do they need to improve? There are a few Scope and Sequences where one can find a basic idea of what your kid should know and the skills they should be developing at their respective age/grade. I chose to use the Abeka Scope and Sequence for Preschool and K-4. The document I linked to has a Scope and Sequence for Preschool-Grade 12. Just print out the appropriate pages to get a good idea of where your kid should be.
(A note: One of the many benefits of Homeschooling is that your kid doesn’t necessarily have to be at a certain level at a certain time. I want my kids to be challenged, but also not to be overwhelmed or pushed or frustrated because they aren’t ready for something. This Scope and Sequence, in my opinion, is simply a guideline, not a hard and fast rule.)
2. I researched free printable Homeschool planners. I came across this gem: Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus. There is a link on the top of her blog labeled Free Printables Luv, and I LOVED what she had to share. I didn’t use everything, namely because a lot of it I felt I wouldn’t need for Preschool. She has a TON of options, a TON of great advice, and everything is super cute! These are the pages I used from her site:
- A. I chose one of her fun cover pages.
- B. List of Holidays. (Though I realized later that it starts with 2014, which isn’t super helpful for the first half of this year. Although, I still like having it in my binder.)
- C. Monthly Planner Pages. (I printed these out right and then put them in my planner backwards…grr. Annoying, but it still works! If you use them, just be sure to put them in your planner correctly!)
- D. Weekly Planner Pages. (I liked these as opposed to others I found because they were simple, but provided enough space to actually write out what I would be doing that day, and they are super cute! I printed out enough to cover 40 weeks of school.)
- E. Field Trip Planning Page.
- F. Progress Reports for Kindergarten & Pre-K. (These seemed to correspond somewhat to the Scope and Sequence I printed out from A-Beka. I printed out three of each. One to “test” my kids in the beginning, middle and end of the year, to see how far they’ve come.)
- G. Reading Log. (I decided to print out several of these so that I could keep track of the books I read to Chloe and the books Chloe will hopefully read all by herself. I wasn’t sure I needed these for K-4, but I thought they would hurt and might keep me motivated to keep on top of things.)
- H. Notes. (I printed off several of these pages to take notes throughout the school year: what works, what doesn’t, ideas for next year, notes on how my kids learn, etc.)
3. I searched for the perfect lesson planner and then decided to make my own. Although I loved a lot of what Tina’s blog had to offer, I wasn’t crazy about the lesson planner. I needed something a little more specific and organized in a way that I could use easily. I found a lot of planners that I liked elements of, and decided to make my own on excel. It was pretty easy to do. Feel free to copy me. It only took me about half an hour to put it all together. You should be able to click on these to get a closer look.
For Chloe’s Lesson Plans, I have 7 subjects, which are broken down on the side into more specific things we will be working on this year: Language Arts (broken down into reading, writing, phonics, spelling, poetry), Mathematics (broken down into addition, subtraction, counting), Social Studies (broken down into cultures, Columbia [our city] and Missouri [our state]), Bible (broken down into Memory Verse and Bible Story), Science & Nature Study, Art & Music, and Spanish.
For Jonas’ Lesson Plans, I did the same thing, just broke it down differently and added notes in the place of Spanish: Language Arts (reading, handwriting skills, phonics), Math (shapes, counting), Social Studies (cultures), Bible (memory verse, Bible story), Science & Nature Study (colors, science concept), and Art & Music.
4. I organized it all with dividers just the way I liked it.
5. I took it to Office Depot and had the whole thing coil bound. Tina’s blog has a great article about coil binding. She convinced me that it was the way to go. It’s also very cheap ($3-5, depending on how many pages you have to bind.)
I hope this article is helpful to all you homeschooling mommas out there. I think a lot of this could be used to make just a regular family home planner as well.
How do you organize your year? Do you use a planner? Do you have any additional suggestions?