What fun! I’d love to start a few planning posts. I’ll start with a general one – one that shows you how I work my way in from considering the big picture down to the year and from there into smaller baskets of work. This is just how I work…it’s not the *official* method for home education planning!! There are just.so.many.ways to plan and prepare for the next year!
I’ve started gathering resources together and ideas are starting to take shape nicely. Our years always emphasize and invite creativity while we immerse ourselves in living books. I have fresh printer cartridges in my printer, a shiny new pad of paper, a bouquet of sharpened pencils, lots and lots of post-its, and a nice group of catalogs I like to look at for inspiration.
The first thing I do in planning is build an overall picture. I like to lay things out with post-it notes I can arrange and re-arrange so that I can consider the entire year – the subjects to be covered and each child. After that, I get down to choosing resources for each child. It’s wonderful that many resources already live on my shelves – I can just grab a book or group of books, or a booklist I’ve already worked on my laptop – and drop it into my planning bins and baskets.
Here are a few questions I ask myself before I start planning. These help me be honest with myself, be honest about my child’s needs, and seek to plan with God’s plan in mind:
- What season of life is our family in? Is it clear that God has planned for our time in ways that I might need to be considerate of as I plan?
- Is a child old enough to have identified life goals? Vocation?
- What is the educational path that would be most helpful to that child?
- What are the passions of my child – where do they self-propel? (These areas probably won’t need a lot of planning from me.)
- Are there any areas that need particular work focus or remediation? Writing? Reading/Phonics? Math?
- Reflecting on last year – how can I improve my time management in order to offer myself to each of my children?
- Do I need to spend some time with habit or discipline training before we start lessons again?
I just finished up my post-it note planning for next year for our crew and thought you’d like seeing a picture of our big grid.
This is the big picture plan for us. I like that I can move and rearrange the post-its as I build so that I can see what’s going on: who’s doing what, what we might work on together, the themes that will connect the learning for the year, where I might have some holes that need a little more thought in planning.
One of my favorite resources for helping me come up with a plan is from Simply Charlotte Mason – Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education. I enjoy planning and have a style that works well for me, but this book is so practical and well laid out it was still a big help! It walked me step by step from the big picture down to details in the planning. If your educational philosophy tends toward living books or designing your own curriculum at all, do consider looking into this resource!
So…I’ve got our yearly plan done. I will have a 9th grader, 5th grader, 1st grader, and a toddler next year! I just finished hammering out the details of my 9th grader’s plans! They’re lovely and what’s more, she had a hand in helping with the plans! Good thing, because at this age, it’s her responsibility to live them! She needs to be on board! I have the 5th grader’s plans halfway done. I’ll give you a peek into the details of those plans soon!
I have about 10! (**Note** I have written the kids names with sharpie on the front of my bins, but I smudged them out for the pic. Names on the front of the bins are a help though!) These are so helpful in containing groups and collections of things…like the books I’m pulling off my shelves to use for next year! Set out one or two bins for each child on a table or the floor. As you look to your shelves in your planning, hopefully you’ll find many books and resources that already live on your shelves to make use of. Methodically go through your shelves; when you find a book you might use, drop it into a child’s bin. Keep doing this as you work your way through all of your shelves. This is a frugal way of making sure you use the resources you already have!
Another tip…if you use living books in your plan like I do you won’t be able to fit them all in a bin (or even 5 bins!) I drop anchor books into the bins, and I keep a pad of paper in each bin for jotting down booklists of history, literature, and science books. With my pad of paper in hand I can list living books from my shelves that would be useful for the year on the paper without pulling half of the books on my shelves down. The pad of paper stays in the planning bin until I can build more detailed booklists and plans.
Now, with your bins holding the books, booklists, and your post-it note yearly plans considered, you should have a pretty good idea of what will need to be ordered and you can start working on a book-list for ordering!
How are your *big picture* plans for the year coming? Hope you’re all enjoying this time of considering possibilities and the potential in a new year! I’ll fill in a few more details with the plans in another post soon!
Follow up posts:
Planning Again – A Year Considered
Planning In Pretty Notebooks
A Considered Booklist
A Year Considered – Nurturing Wonder in the Preschool Years
A Year Considered – The Early Years – something between K and 1st grade plans
A Year Considered – 5th Grade
A Year Considered – 9th Grade
Charlotte Mason in high school
The Balanced Whole in a Charlotte Mason Education