With the first day of school less than a week a way, planning is in full gear. This yearly planning, that takes all summer it seems, is about complete, but today I'm going to talk about how I do my weekly planning. The items in the picture above are what I use to get my coming week organized.
The basket holds a file folder dated for each week of the school year. In these folders are the copies, books, worksheets, etc. that I will need for each week. This basket is mostly geared towards the Liturgical Year activities we will do, since these have a definite date. For example, if I pull out the folder dated December 6th - 12th, there are activity suggestions for the feast days of St. Nicholas, St. Ambrose, and our Lady of Guadeloupe. Also in these folders are activities that might go with a monthly theme that don't have a specifice date. An example of this would be Advent activities in this same folder. This whole idea was inspired by Dawn's File Crate System at By Sun and Candlelight. It's not exactly like hers since I adjusted to meet our needs and my file crate is strictly used for school activities ...for now.
The binder with the light green cover (with holy cards glued to it thanks to my lovely daughter) is my "Liturgical Year Binder". I used this exclusively before I developed the file above, but I think the files will be more efficient. I keep this binder because in it I have lists of the years feast days and a chart that shows me what activities I have available for each. I also put copies of special prayers or other items dealing with our faith in this binder. Sometime, I hope to combine the binder and the basket, but I'm not there yet.
The blue binder is my Homeschool Master Binder. It's a 3" binder that gets used ALOT. I'm trying to find something inspirational to put on the front but for now the picture of the ocean is there. This is sort of like my "Teacher's Plan Book". I have sheets for lesson plans behind dividers for each of my children. I also have a section in which I write goals for each child. I have a list of all the books that we have on our bookshelves (which I take with me when I shop used book sales at our Homeschool Conference or the Library. Our collection of books is getting so large it's easy to buy something I already have!). I have the syllabi for each child which I typed into a checklist style to make it easier to keep track of. Finally, I have the information for my Mother Of Divine Grace consultant along with pages for notes.
The black planner is simply a monthly planner. After using this one for a while, I've decided that I really don't need a fancy planner. All I really need is a monthly calendar type planner with plenty of space to write, and a stack of paper on which to write my "to do" lists.
Finally, there is the clip board that I keep with me during the day. This is where I clip my to do lists, schedules, copies for activities we will use that day, menus, etc.
So, those are the components, here's the plan for planning. (Writing this all down makes it seem long and tedius, but really, it doesn't take long at all. Setting aside a little time for planning and organization allows the coming week to run more smoothly.)
Ideally, I take a little time on Thursday evening to start this. On Thursday, I do the planning that will bring some order to our home life. On Friday, I do the planning for school. My goal is to have this all done BEFORE the weekend. Our weekends are so busy and if I don't get to my planning before Saturday, it ends up being a rushed job on Sunday night, which I don't like.
So, Thursday evening, I pull out my black daily planner and I print off a weekly menu and grocery list from my computer. I also grab the school binder and open it to the new week's lesson planning sheets. I use the planner to note feast days, errands, appointments, etc. onto the lesson sheet and the menu sheet if they affect dinner. For example, on Monday night we have boys at football practice from 5:30-7:00. That evening we will have a meal in the crockpot for when we get home. If it's a feast day for which I have a special recipe to try, that will be recorded on the menu as well. I write up the menu then use that to mark needed items on my grocery list. Because I do my errands and grocery shopping on the same day, I use the grocery list to also jot down any errands I will need to run. The grocery list and menu are attached to the clip board. I also attach a "to do" list on which I write household chores, phone calls that need to be made, etc. This really only takes about 30 minutes. The thing that could potentially take alot of time is the menu, but I have a rotating menu that I use the keep things simple. It is a month of favorite recipes that I use. This changes for feast days, birthdays, holidays, etc. but having it really cuts down on the time and energy it takes to decide what to make for dinner every night.
On Friday I do my planning for the coming week's school activities. I pull out the week's file folder from the file basket, the Liturgical Year notebook, and the Homeschool Binder. Any activity pages that I need to make copies of are clipped to the clip board. I use the "check list syllabi" to write down the lessons for each child on the lesson plan pages in the binder. I then write down any other activities they will do for their workboxes that are outside of the syllabi. (I'll explain this in detail when I write about the workboxes.)
I write down any items I will need to purchase for art, science experiments, etc. onto the grocery list that is attached to the clip board. I finish by filling the workboxes for Monday and making sure the school room is tidy and ready for another week.
Whew! Seems like alot doesn't it? It's really not though, and the planning makes a world of difference when Monday morning arrives!