This entire week the Schoolhouse Review Crew members will be sharing posts on Homeschooling Essentials in our first Blog Hop of 2014.
Our little homeschool has a few key elements that make our days a success. Without these things, we would never make it! This week I will be sharing five of our Must-Haves for homeschooling. It is the ABC's (and D and E) of our Homeschooling Success. I hope that you will join me each day this week to see what things we can't live without.
The definition of essential is "Absolutely necessary; extremely important." And the first absolutely necessary and extremely important item we use in our homeschool is "A" Plan.
We are not unschoolers … far from it. I am not someone who can willy, nilly go through my day. I have a plan for my Bible study, for when I work on teaching my college course, for exercising, and housework, our meals planned out on my calendar, as well as proposed unit studies we will do in the future, and every other little detail of my life.
I am a planner.
I have, thankfully, learned how to be flexible when things do not go according to plan. I can put it off until another day and sometimes even scrap it altogether.
But I can assure you that if I do not have something planned, it will not get done …. ever.
This rings true in our homeschool. We have tried different ways of accomplishing our schoolwork and have found that the following mode of planning works best for us.
Each weekend, usually on Sunday afternoon, I print off enough custom planner pages for the upcoming week. My husband made this planner page for me. It's pretty simple … no bells and whistles, just everything I need. It has a place for the date and a block for each of our subjects.
I plan one week at a time so that if we have an unexpected illness or something come up that puts us off a day or more, I do not have more than just a couple of days to reschedule. I do have a paper calendar where I jot down upcoming unit studies that I want to do. It helps me start looking for fun ideas we might want to do in that week.
On our individual planner pages, I plan exactly what we will accomplish on that day, including lesson numbers and page numbers. If there is a website we will be visiting, I jot it down in the block. I also list all books we will read for that subject on that day.
At the bottom of the page I write down the number of school day it is (like the 75th day of school for the year), the time frame we do school (at the end of the day), and how many hours of school we did that day. These are for my easy recording purposes at the end of the week. (We are so scheduled that we usually do start at straight-up 10:00 a.m., sometimes counting down the seconds to start, and end exactly at 4:00 p.m. Our planning has our time down to a science.)
It takes me anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour to plan our lessons for the week. And then it's done, and then we are ready to go come Monday morning.
We do not do our schoolwork in time blocks (no 10:30-11:00 we do "this" business). We know that we are doing schoolwork from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every day. And we know we have to accomplish everything on our planner page (if possible). So, we start with our Bible lesson. After that, we have a system for determining which subject comes next. I have mentioned it before on this blog, but it will covered again on Thursday as a part of this series.
One final thing I plan is our reading time. We plan to read every day for 15 minutes just before lunch and again for a minimum of 15 minutes before we conclude for the day. If we have more time left at the end of the day that we need to use to reach our hourly requirements, then we read until 4:00 p.m. It just depends. But, we know that we read for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, and we know when in the day that we do it. No questions asked.
There have been weeks when I have been busy the weekend before, or just too tired to really plan. Those weeks are usually a disaster. We are behind all week, trying to figure out what we are going to do, and our lessons are just "blah" because I haven't had time to plan fun things. If we are going to be doing schoolwork, we might as well be having fun, right?
Who knew that the hard work of planning could to actually lead to more fun!
There are 89 Crew Members posting in the 5 Days of Homeschool Series. You can learn some awesome things about Homeschooling Essentials from newbies all the way up to seasoned veterans and I encourage you to grab a warm beverage and a cozy blanket and snuggle up in your favorite chair to visit some of their blogs.
I especially encourage you to visit some of my friends: Laura @ Day by Day in Our World, Julie @ Nurturing Learning, Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures, DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor, Lori @ At Home: where life happens, Adriana @ Homeschool Ways, Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool, Meg @ Adventures with Jude, Sarah @ Delivering Grace.