Schedule, Lesson Plans and Curriculum
I love to see how other home educators structure their school, so I thought I would share our current set up. This year I had more time to plan before school started and our first week was the smoothest yet. That being said, I still hold to the idea of planning as a compass or direction, rather than a rigid “thou shalt do” list. I used to have that mentality and it resulted in a constant sense of failure whenever we didn’t check every single box on the list.
Along those lines, our lesson plans are not meant to be finished each day, but rather to let me know what’s next. I frequently suffer from fits of paralyzation if I have a free moment or don’t know what’s next. However, if I have planned out our lessons ahead of time, I just have to look at what we did last and pick up form there.
Likewise, I created the daily calendar to figure out if there really is enough time in the day to everything I was planning. We don’t actually follow this schedule on a minute to minute basis. I don’t set a timer or rip a book out of an engaged kids hand, just because the calendar says time is up. But the schedule does help us know what’s coming up next and it gives the kids a sense of security and control to be able to go look at it hanging on the fridge and know what their day will more or less look like. If you want to read more about routine vs. schedule, check Julie BraveWriter.
If you take a look at our calendar, you will see something called Loop. If you’re not familiar with looping, here’s a quick definition. A loop is when you have several subjects that you want to cover but not necessarily every day. For us, our loop contains American History, Spanish and Science. The idea is that we do 2 of the 3 during loop time. The next day we do another 2 of the 3. We just keep looping through them all, rather than having a rigid schedule. This approach keeps us organized and on track without having to nail down exact dates and content ahead of time. We then “schedule from behind” by writing down what we did after we’re done.
Below are the weekly schedules I give the kids. They check off and make notes on what we accomplish. (This is actually just page one of three). I print these off on Sunday and they put them in their three ring binders on Monday. We all find these really helpful:
Finally, here is the curriculum we are using at the moment:
- Morning read aloud:
- Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
- A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
- The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning
- Bible Study
- Language Arts:
- Arrows and Boomerangs by Brave Writer
- Annotating Literary Elements by Rooted in Language (We will be using several of their resources this year, but starting with Annotation).
- Shormann Algebra 1
- American History:
- Khan resources
- Lots of different documentaries and historical drama movies
- Self guided research projects, starting with creating a timeline from the important events listed in the various AP history review books
- Field trip to Washington DC later this year
- Atlas of Human Anatomy, Netter
- Anatomy Coloring Workbook, 4th Edition: An Easier and Better Way to Learn Anatomy
- We use a Charlotte Mason approach but apply it to foreign language. We check read childrens’ books in Spanish to each other and do copy work out of them.
- Spanish language TV
Like I said at the beginning, I love to hear what other home educators are up to, so please let me know in the comments!