I love the idea of planning everything out and being the most organized homeschool mom anyone has ever seen. In theory.
Real life… Not so much. We’re definitely more of a go-with-the-flow, have-a-goal-but-flexible-on-getting-there kind of family. While my now 12 year old thrives on structure, any deviation from “the plan” can result in an anxiety spiral. We’re working on it.
Meanwhile, what works fairly well for us is to have a general plan (cover x number of pages in x subject most weeks) and outline each week or two as we go. Since I couldn’t find a planning book or pages that fit our needs, I did what I usually do. I made my own.
These pages are extremely flexible. Some weeks I’ll want to plan lessons for specific days to fit a unit study or special activities. Those weeks I’ll use the sections to assign lessons for each day. Other weeks I don’t care if he works on one subject all day or in whatever order he chooses – as long as the week’s work gets done – so can list lessons by subject.
The checkmarks to the left of each lesson we use as “done” to quickly see the week’s progres. The right side checkmarks can be used to show which assignments I’ve checked over or to indicate that he needs help with an assignment.
The second page has plenty of room to list all the “extras” as they happen. Books read, videos watched, field trips, library visits, special projects, etc.
You can download these pages for free below – or – purchase on Amazon a 128 page softcover book that includes
yearly attendance calendar
2 year (July 2018 – June 2020) calendar pages with space to note important dates
12 year overview planning spaces for yearly overview planning
52 weeks of undated planning & record keeping pages
extra lined and dot grid pages for book lists, co-op schedules, unit study planning, notes, diagrams, or whatever you need
Free Planning Pages
Free weekly home school planning and record keeping pages
Sometimes things just converge together and make planning a week’s worth of school nearly impossible. For me, that’s usually the same week I need the kids occupied so I can concentrate on other work deadlines. Last week was one of those weeks. While searching for something else I came across the Pack-N-Go Girls Mystery series and the related “extending the learning” packs on TeachersPayTeachers.com. With limited time and no plan in place I bought the Kindle version of the first Mexican book – Mystery of the Thief in the Night (Pack-n-Go Girls – Mexico Book 1) – and downloaded the free packs from TPT. I also added in some ancient civilizations videos & worksheets from BrainPop.com (Maya, Aztec, Inca, Columbian Exchange, Conquistadors) and our regular math and spelling schedule.
I don’t think this week’s lesson will win and awards but it was exactly what we needed to get through the week and not fall behind. With additional books set in Mexico, Austria and Thailand and more free related learning packs on TPT if I ever need another no-prep week I’m glad to know they are there.
My kids are HUGE fans of Wild Kratts. I’m pretty sure they have seen every episode, most more than once. When I heard there would be four new episodes all about reptiles this week it seemed perfect for a reptile unit study. I had to work Monday and a bit on Tuesday, a public speaking assignment to prepare and present on Thursday, and a gluten free lasagna to cook and deliver for a volunteer lunch on Friday. It was a bit of a busy week but we managed to get a good deal of fun and learning done.
Monday – Work day for me. No school / free reading.
Draw a rattlesnake using a shape pattern on the skin
Library to pick up books
**”What is a reptile?” – non fiction reading & comprehension passage – updated KWL sheets
Snake trail addition and subtraction math game – Mark alternating spaces with + and – signs, shuffle a stack of playing cards with face cards removed. Each child receives a die, dry erase board and marker, and game marker. Student rolls the die and moves the appropriate number of spaces. They draw 2 cards from the pile and write the problem & solution on their board using the operation they landed on. Continue until board is full. Fast finishers can go back and reverse the operation for extra practice.
Wild Kratts episode “Gila Monster Under My House”
Spike the Mixed Up Monster by Susan Hood (fiction book – Spanish vocab)
Friday **”Alligator” and “Crocodile” – non fiction reading & comprehension passages
**Alligator and Crocodile Venn diagram (compare contrast)
Wild Kratts episode “Mom of a Croc”
Reptile exhibit at Knoxville Zoo
Zoo journals – sketches of snakes at zoo & writing prompt “If I worked at the zoo…”
*KWL – Graphic organizer for many subjects “Know, Want to know, Learned”. Useful for establishing prior knowledge, eliciting questions to be answered during the week, and summarizing information learned during the unit. Example
The Wright Brothers by Andrew Santella
The Wright Brothers: Heroes of Flight by Carin T Ford (Famous Inventors series)
Stealing Air by Trent Reedy
You Wouldn’t Want to be on the First Flying Machine by Ian Graham
You Can Draw Planes
How Airplanes Work by Paul Ohmann
The Wright Brothers biographies were used for reading/comprehension of non-fiction text. Students were also asked to pick 5 events from the Wright Brothers lives and create a timeline from those events.
It’s the beginning of August (in a few more hours) and we’re back from our crazy Florida vacation so it’s time to start getting back to a somewhat regular school-ish schedule.
Our local zoo has just completed a new giraffe encounter area and zoo members (us!) can feed a giraffe for free through Sunday so I’m putting together a mini unit for Thursday, zoo visit on Friday, and art project for Monday.
Spring is in full bloom here – just ask my allergies – so it is a perfect time to do a unit on butterflies! Our local zoo has a beautiful butterfly garden exhibit that should be open and make a great addition to our unit.
Introduction video – The Story of the Butterfly (Amazon Prime). We’ve discussed butterflies and their life cycle before but videos are always welcome for breaking into a subject.
Library Trip – We have books due (and we’re out of milk) so we’ll take a quick trip to the library (and grocery) for our books for the week. (See resource list below.)