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How to Backwards Plan

Today's topic at the Schoolhouse Review Crew's Back to Homeschool Blog Hop is Homeschool Planning. Oh how I love to plan. I think I love the planning more than the actual execution of the plan. So, I do a lot of it.

This week I have referred to my love of "backwards" planning. This means that instead of planning an activity or field trip from a topic or piece of literature, I plan topics, pieces of literature and activities from an event or a field trip.

This is how it works.

This summer I checked all of the season schedules for the performing arts theatres in our area and then jotted down the dates. For instance, in January our local Performing Arts Center will be presenting a children's musical called "Rock the Presidents."

So, for the couple of weeks prior to the production, we will do a unit study on the Presidents. My first stop ... the library. I will choose several non-fiction and fiction picture books about the Presidents of the United States. I will search high and low for fun unit studies or notebooking pages. I will scour the internet for fun activities and crafts.

By the time we get to the musical, my kids will know LOTS about the presidents.

I did this same thing with The Lorax and Ice Age: Continental Drift.

Not only do I seek out upcoming plays and movies, but also local events and traveling exhibits.

For instance, in Missouri (where we are moving) there is a nearby botanical garden called Powell Gardens. They are having an exhibit through October called Fairy Houses and Forts. So guess what we will be doing ... reading about it, watching videos and movies, doing literacy and math activities, adapting our spelling list to the topics, doing lots of fun copywork, exploring nature, and then topping it off with a trip to the exhibit.

When I learn about these productions, movies, and events, I immediately calendar them. That way I can plan the units in advance of the event dates. THEN I supplement our units with Five in a Row. It is a fun way to learn about lots of different things.

What's going on in your area? Could you do some backwards planning?


  1. I so agree about enjoying the planning even more than the implementing! I think it's because the paper can't roll its eyes at me. :)

    I really need to get my behind in gear and sort out September and onwards. I have so many things I want to do this year that I'm kind of overwhelmed about where to put it all. Maybe I'll blindfold myself and spin in a circle until I hit a subject.

  2. Backwards planning...... I like that idea.

  3. Great idea! Maybe I will do a little backwards planning for our school year. Have a great year!

  4. This is such a great idea. Nicole, you could probably make some extra money selling your units online- especially the ones that go with an upcoming nationwide movie release or holiday!

  5. I kinda think this way as well~ I just think it works better when we have a goal/field trip to work towards.


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