Back to (Home) School 2011 ~ Our Day (And Planning For It.)



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It’s been a whole month!! I can’t believe how quickly this month flew by.. I should feel a whole month closer to being ready to start school. (I’m not so sure about that! *Insert Mini Panic Here*)

Today I’m going to cover our school day and our lesson planning. I’m also going to show you a few pictures of our school stuff that I couldn’t share last week because my camera was spazzing. But first, I’d like to apologize to anyone who was on the ball and ready to link up today — I wasn’t! I’ve been swamped (see previous post about being “Overwhelmed!“) I’m all ready to go now, though, so I hope you forgive me!

Also, this post is doubling for the Letter “P” of ABCs of Homeschooling today, you can find out why at the bottom of the post (or I guess you can just skip ahead and look down there and see.) =p

Our School Day

Our school day is going to look very similar to last year but I’m thinking about making one little tweak. Last year we did bible, math and language arts before lunch and then scheduled either history or science in the afternoon with a big block of time to do our projects and experiments. This year I’m tempted to do all of our group subjects first and then break apart into individual work.. anybody have any experience or advice here? I’d love some. I think we’ll at least give it a go and then see how it works for us.

Our library bag and morning basket.

For the last several weeks we’ve been working on our morning bible study habit–which has the added benefit of pushing aside the morning tv habit, which was our biggest enemy for starting school on time. We’re going to keep nailing that habit down and hopefully that habit will help us have a better start to our day. It will also flow from morning bible study right on into starting our school with our “bible class” (which focuses less on personal edification and more on learning ABOUT the bible: books, verses, main ideas.) I’m very excited to work on this and grow this throughout the year. (You can read about our “Morning Basket” here.)

Planning For Our Day

One of our other big “enemies” of a smooth school day has been a lack of preparing ahead. Inspired by Samantha’s Planning post at The Kelley Eight, I’ve turned a new leaf in the planning and preparing ahead department. This year, not being prepared is NOT going to be an excuse! Ok, we still have to be self disciplined to USE it, but if something doesn’t get done it won’t be because we weren’t prepared for it. I’ve got two big tools for planning and preparing for our day: My Well Planned Day Planner and the Desk Apprentice Rotating Organizer.

I *heart* my planner. When I get my planner, the very first thing I do is turn to the full year calendar and start circling school breaks until I have 36 weeks left for school, then I number all the weeks.

I should have used pencil! Learn from me. ;0)

The next thing I do is turn to every month calendar transferring the week/break info to each monthly calendar, including holidays and birthdays, etc, while I’m there.

 

Filling in week numbers, breaks, etc on the monthly calendar.

The last thing I do to prep my planner (which I just started doing this year and I’ve already thanked myself for doing it!) is to flip through every month and label EVERY. SINGLE. school week up the side of the page, “Week 1, Week 2…” Now I can see what week we’re on while I’m looking at a weekly spread — that has already come in handy while lesson planning! Lesson planning is the next thing I do. Last year I planned a week or two ahead at a time. This year I’m going *crazy* and planning the whole year (it’s a part of planning ahead — if I’m to make copies and printouts ahead of time then I need to know what we’re doing and when.) I say I’ve gone crazy because I remember looking at a friend’s Sonlight curriculum back when Princess was in Kindergarten or First grade and FREAKING. OUT. Everything, planned out to the T, telling you to do so much stuff in a day, no flexibility! If you’d told me then that six years later I’d be doing the same thing myself I’d have outright laughed at you! The difference this time is that I’m in control and I’ve grown enough to handle it and not stress out if we don’t get something done on one day and do it on the next. See? God *can* teach an old homeschooler new tricks. ;0)

 

Filling it in. Science (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and Language Arts (every day.)

The rotating organizer is new and still being filled in, but it’s already being used. I’ve got some weekly folders for “summer school” and the upcoming year. It holds MY pens/highlighters and other teacher supplies. It conveniently contains what I’m working on right now (which is lesson planning for our science.) Once school gets underway it will serve as convenient filing for upcoming and finished work, both, as well as a place to keep record keeping. Record keeping is something I still needs LOTS of work on. The Well Planned Day planner has some record keeping pages (weekly) but I really need some help in this area and I’m open to some tips!

Folders to file in as I make copies. Books I’m reading to prepare for the year, curriculum to be lesson planned, and so much more!

Living it Out

In addition to our morning basket, my planner and the organizer, there are a few other things that will help us get our work and projects done. As I’ve mentioned, most of our school is done in the living room, so the bulk of our school stuff is in there in a kind of “school center.” We’ve got our books, the printer, a desktop, a whiteboard and a bulletin board – not to mention comfortable couches and seating for reading and learning together.

 

Our “school center.” I hope to build a wooden cube-style bookcase for this. Note the American flag stuck in the fake plant. =p

In the living room, I’ve also dedicated the bottom shelf of the bookcase to extra school books/resources. I really need to go through this and purge some things, I’ve got plans to add much more to this shelf for the upcoming school year (I may need another shelf.) ;0)

 

Wow, um, I need to dust!!!

Of course, projects and experiments are best done at the dining room table or in the kitchen. With that in mind, I’ve turned the cart in the corner of the dining room into a craft cart. This also needs to be totally revamped (I have no idea what or how but it needs some help!) The science experiment box (still working on that, I’ll post pictures when it’s done!) will also go in here so that everything we need for science and art projects are available and ready to use.

Not much to look at…. YET…

So that’s the plan.

I’m always really great at the ‘planning’ part — the real test comes with the “doing” part! Incidentally, my planning post coincided with week “P” of the ABCs of Homeschooling at 5 Kids And a Dog! Dawn and I have both decided to use our Back to School posts about planning for her letter “P” link-up, which she’s posting TODAY instead of tomorrow — I’m sure you can find even MORE planning tips over there!

I’ve really enjoyed this month of sharing and blog hopping with you all. Thank you so much for joining in and making it a great month!



You can find all of the Back to (Home) School posts here and all of my ABC’s of Homeschooling posts here.

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