When I began homeschooling, I would plan the whole year prior to the first day of school. This never worked because inevitably life would happen and falling behind (or getting ahead or just changing our minds) in one subject would throw everything off. So I started planning one week at a time which was very labor intensive and inefficient.
This new system occurred to me at the end of a long day/week. It's inspired by the house keeping system laid out in Side Tracked Home Exectutives. Here's what I did:
I hit Staples and purchased a couple of sets of colored note cards, note card dividers, and note card boxes (these I actually got at Hobby Lobby) - one set for each child.
Using a (word processing) table and the table of contents from each book we use, I typed in the name/number of the lesson. I printed these out, cut them neatly, and glued them to a colored note card. Each subject has its own color (Math-yellow, Religion-purple, Science-green, History-blue, Language Arts-white, Latin-red.) Each individual lesson was listed on one card. Each week is separated by a note card divider and the lesson cards for each week are then filed.
Here, I took some action shots to illustrate:
The advantages of this are:
- It's easily and quickly done for the year.
- It's easy to tweak and doesn't permanently undo any planning. The cards are separated in order, but I'm not dating the dividers so if we are sick for a week we just pick up where we left off. If they have trouble with math one week and need some extra time, a quick shuffle of the yellow cards will have everything back in order.
- The very best part: I can make supplementary study notes on the back of each card. OK, like you know when you wake from a dead sleep and remember that there is a Draw.Write.Now page on starfish? You just flip to the card on Phylum Echinodermata and jot 'Draw.Write.Now. Book 6 pg. 50' and go back to bed. Or maybe you just saw that Jim Weiss has a Shakespeare CD. Flip to History, Chp. 39 -'England's Greatest Playwrite' make a note and move on with your life. I have these thoughts bouncing around my head all day and night and it creates a feeling of panic because I know I'm not going to remember most of it.
So each week the children can just check the cards for lessons. We have a daily focus so they know what they are supposed to do on any given day. I might still print out a more detailed list for them but that would still take minutes to prepare, as opposed to hours. I've also thought about punching a hole in the cards and placing the current week on a ring but just haven't had the time to mess with it.
I'm very, very pleased with this new set up.