Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs: Homeschool Agendas

Hmmm, an agenda they say? I'm suppose to have a plan? Really? A plan? Goals? Yikes!

Seriously, I do have a plan. In fact, this is probably the first year I've had such a pre-planned year. Last year I implemented a checklist of sorts. I've expanded on that this year.

What I did was plan out what subjects I wanted to cover on what days. I call this my "ideal" day. I know that I won't always get to everything, but this is my goal. Now I don't have to worry about how often I need to do history - it's on the schedule for four days a week, science two days, but math and spelling are all five. My weekly goal is to make sure anything I have scheduled for five days a week gets done. The rest I won't worry about - we'll cover as we can.

I have tried many other types of daily scheduling, but I always ended up basically winging it by the end of the year. I knew I missed great resources I had on hand. I am determined to not do that this year.

I checked in to Homeschool Tracker again. After all, they have a great free version. I had tried it in the past but didn't love it so I stopped. I have a great friend of mine who uses it & loves it & convinced me to try it again. So I started inputting the lesson plans I had written out (by hand no less) until I realized something. One big reason I didn't like HT was that I have to assign lessons to a day to input them. I knew I wouldn't enter them after the fact - trust me - I tried in the past. I found out I could reschedule them if we didn't do them on the day I assigned them. However, the more I thought about that the more work I realized I was getting in to. I had even briefly checked in to Homeschool, Inc. as it was mentioned on one of my Yahoo groups. It's a free web-based planner.

Don't get me wrong - those are both great helps in planning - if you like that sort of program. I just realized I don't.

So I have been diligently typing up lesson plans for the last month or so and working more so in the last two weeks as the start of our school year looms in front of me. What I have found that works best for me is to just assign a day to each lesson. So instead of a date assigned, mine are listed as "day 1, day 2, etc" until I reach 175 days (which is what my state requires). Then I add in a column to write what it is I need to do. If needed, I added a third column to refer to the teacher's pages I may need to use. The final column is a "date done" column where I will put the date we actually do it. Simple but it works.

I have created these as Google docs so I think you can see them. Please let me know in the comments if you can't. I promise not to share all of them, but here are some. And if you are using any of these books, feel free to borrow for your own use.

A Child's Geography 2: Exploring the Holy Lands
Story of the World Volume 2: Middle Ages
Math-U-See (Alpha, Beta & Gamma)
Easy Grammar (2/3 & 3/4 & 4/5)

I use my own hybrid of Spell to Write and Read - namely the spelling lists in The W.I.S.E. Guide for spelling. My middle son also uses Explode the Code workbooks - he loves these! I am still in the process of finishing up the plan for Christian Kids Explore Chemistry that I will be using with my oldest son. I'm about 3/4 of the way through that one.

To round out the rest of our schedule we will be using the following but I still need to work up plans for most of them:

AWANA hand books (B is in the 2nd T&T book & N is in the 2nd Sparks book)
Calculadder drills
Art (a combination of hands on learning using Heart & Trees blog particularly her watercolor tutorial, Discovering Great Artists, Art in Story, plus I have an Art Appreciation lapbook from Hands of a Child we'll try to fit in there somewhere - see why I need some sort of plan!)
Understanding Writing for writing
Music (another combo subject. I plan to cover reading music & teaching the boys to begin to play piano/keyboard plus talk about the great composers. One definite resource will be the book Story of the Orchestra and I was thrilled to find a free lapbook that goes along with the book at this link here.)

Needless to say I still have some work ahead of me in getting ready for this coming school year. I always have grand plans of starting in August but it never happens. At least in the last six years it hasn't happened! I was thinking of starting on September 2nd, but I like to start during a whole week and I obviously need the planning time, so my official start date is September 8th.

I'll be sure to keep you posted on how it goes! To see what other homeschoolers are using for their plans (and there are tons!) click here.


  1. Hope you have a great year! :)


  2. Oh ~ I am so with you by not putting dates on schedules, but days! Love your schedule forms.

    Have a blessed year!

  3. I found you by the memoir linky. We have several things in common, it was fun to read your post.

    Trujillo, Peru

    I'm having a blog warming party with cool door-prize drawing. You're invited to come over and take a look if you're interested.

  4. Thank you for sharing your agenda! I'm trying to glean all I can from veteran homeschoolers, as I am a new homeschooler. Have a great day!

  5. Wow, Lisa, great job organizing this year. I am still working on our plan. We are going to start next week, even if it is just with the basics.

  6. My kids are in AWANAs too...they're in the Cubbies program. This should be helpful in rounding out our schedule as well. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Good luck this year.


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