If you take a look at our Curriculum Choices you will see that our homeschool does not consist of just one box curriculum for all subjects. We have tried a box curriculum in the past but it just wasn't right for our family. To describe our homeschool we are Eclectic with a mix of Charlotte Mason/Classical Approach. If that makes any sense at all, haha!
To explain: Eclectic Homeschooling is basically using a little of this and a little of that when it comes to our curriculum. I search for what is best for our boys learning styles and that's what I choose.
The Charlotte Mason Method is based on Charlotte's firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate the whole person.. not just his mind. She loved using living books in her teaching approach, not just dry textbooks.. and our family loves learning by living books.
Classical Education is where we first began. We still use many classical curriculum's and we still use memorization a lot in our homeschooling.. as well as reading good literature and keeping our history in a 4 year continual order.
So that's us.. a little of this and a little of that! Since we do homeschool differently I have been asked many times before how I plan my homeschool year. So here is a little run down of how I put it all together.
~ I choose our curriculum...
I probably spend the most time on this step. I start researching curriculum choices right after our school year begins. I save things that look interesting, jot down notes when something catches my interest and that goes on for a few months until it's time to truly get serious and see what we need. Some of what we are using is simply a continuation of what we used the year before, however, there are always new things as well. Finally, I make my decision and order the books. You can see our curriculum choices HERE for this year.
~ Next, I turn to my handy planner and I choose how many weeks we should have school... (I also plan Field Trips and Vacations during this time. Making a list of where we want to go and when. We try to have at least one field trip a month.)
This year I have planned for 40 weeks of school (we school 4 days a week, Tuesday-Friday.. because my husband is off on Mondays). I go through my planner and I write in the days I want to be off (holidays, birthdays, vacations, field trips and just need a break days). Then I pencil in those days through out my planner so that when I'm ready to write down curriculum I know what days we will be in school that week.
~ I divide up the curriculum...
I know how many days we will have school for the upcoming year, so I look in our curriculum and see how many lessons there are. For example if I homeschool 180 days and there are 182 lessons then I know that two days during the year I will need to double up on lessons. Or if there are 150 lessons then I know we can extend this curriculum and only have it once or twice a week instead of daily.
~ I start adding curriculum to my daily planner...
I write my lesson plans for the whole year in my lesson planning book. That's my messy book.. the book I don't mind to have pages all marked up, not written in pretty handwriting.. you get my point. Then I write a month worth of lessons in my nice, pretty homeschool planner. I only write our plans by the month in case things need to be changed due to sickness, appointments or life (during the year) then I can just change things in my messy lesson planning book and my nice, pretty homeschool planner stays looking good.
~ I make a read aloud schedule and a Grade level schedule for each of the boys...
Read Alouds are very important in our home. We use living books to teach lessons and to enjoy as a family. With our Read Alouds I like to type up the order they will be read since many of them go along with our history lessons. For the boys grade level reading books, I pick a few books I want them to read for the year and I let them choose a few books as well. I place them in their bookshelves in their bedroom and they choose which order they want to read them.
~ Next is a step that might scare some people. I tear all the pages out of every workbook...
No matter how the workbook is bound, I rip those pages out.. then I hole punch them all. I place all of the boys worksheets in my black box and it is organized by the week. That way when school starts all I have to do it pull out Week 1 and I have all the worksheets, stickers, manipulatives, etc.. all ready for us. It makes our school year go much easier. ((I will add that this year I did not rip up their Math workbook. There are many pages that ask you to turn to another page in the workbook.. so it was just too confusing to rip those pages out.))
There are a few papers that I do not add to our black box. Papers I jot down notes on about field trips we could take, teaching ideas, also answer sheets and certain pages I may need to teach a lesson that goes longer than one week. For all those pages I add them into my Curriculum Binder. Nothing fancy.. but it gets the job done.
~ I create binders for the school year...
This is where Aidan and Noah keep the work they are currently doing and also pages that have been graded and we want to keep (such as stories they have written, test taken and more). This year the boys have four binders: Morning Time Binder - for all their morning work, History/Geography/Science Binder, Writing Binder and a Big White Binder that holds all of the other subjects.
~ This year I have one more step for my homeschool planning. Our Morning Time Basket !
I write down the subjects we want to complete.. print out all of pages we will need and store them in our black box by the week. I have also created myself a Morning Time Binder with teaching ideas, poetry and numerous things to memorize and a list of what will be completed each month.
So this is how I plan our curriculum for an entire year. This process usually takes me around two to three months to get everything printed, organized and written down.... but it sure does make our homeschool year run smoothly!
How do you plan for your homeschool year?