Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Family Homeschool Yearly Planner

We're gearing up for the 2012-2013 school year around here. Are you? (Or have you already started?)

Yes, we homeschool year round, but we stick to the basics during the summer months: math, reading/writing and some foreign language thrown in weekly (or so). Other than that, exploration is entirely interest and opportunity- led. We take a very relaxed appraoch to schooling, enjoy the summer weather and all the amazing things outdoor life in Maine offers, and generally don't loose sleep over what lessons we *might* have done. (Plus, working a bit during the summer allows us to only "do school" formally four days per week during the school year, which really helps to keep our family's pace of life reasonable.)

Still, as fall approaches there is a certain sense of excitement and anticipation that creeps up on us, and we begin to look forward to the new school year. Perhaps it's our teacher and mainstream-schooled friends who influence this feeling for us? Perhaps it's the media? Perhaps it's my own sense of ritual after so many years as a student myself, and then a public school teacher?

I honestly don't know why, but each fall I find myself lingering over curriculum catalogs which arrive in my mailbox, reading the Groupons that ofer deep discounts on materials and poring over other homeschool blogs trying to find out what's working for other families. I adore all of these things. Oh, the allure of possibilities!

But reality has to kick in at some point, no? *Sigh* It does. To simplify (and limit?) my grandiose ideas, I created this one-page planner to help me visually picture what the school year is going to look like in our house so as to not over commit myself and the children. 
 
It helps me greatly to see all ideas- for all children- on one page, seeing as though I'm the one who's supposed to be helping all three of them in their learning. It's harder to bite off more than I can chew when it's all staring at me in black and white, on one page. (Smile.)

So I invite you to take a look- the document is completely customizable for your needs (number of children, number of subjects, etc.). If you choose to link to the planner from your blog or website, please be sure to link to this page, not to the document itself. Thanks!

May I also make a recommendation about using the planner? Keep it as simple as possible! This is not the time to showcase all the great things you're going to do with your kids this year. We all know you're going to do some amazing stuff because you're a homeschooling parent! This is the time to put the basics down on paper so that you can assess if there are areas where you're over committing and if there are areas of your homeschool which you still need to develop. Only write down your formal schooling ideas, unless an informal approach IS your formal approach (in which case you may not need a planner at all...)

But I digress.

I've put up a sample planner, which is what I'm doing with our kids for the year. I wrote in only the formal lessons onto it. Please know that I will be doing social studies and art activities more than once per week, as I have on my planner- those are just the formal lessons which I am committed to preparing. The rest can be spontaneous exploration.

Enjoy, and I'd love to hear how the planner works for you!

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