Thursday, March 18, 2010

Planning Notes

I mentioned that I am in planning mode here.  I think I'm always in planning mode!  It is one of my favorite things to do.  Currently, I'm planning for several things but the most long term topic is school for next year.  Reading this thread  over at the 4Real Learning Forums has inspired me to post about what I've been thinking in this regard.  I still basically follow the method I spoke about here:

But I tend to tweak things when I find something that works better, so I've made a few minor adjustments.

When a new year begins I immediately set up a file on my computer called "Notes for Next Year" and make notes there all year long.  Then, about this time of year I go through them all and evaluate what is working, and what needs to be changed for the coming year.  As far as weekly planning goes, it's mostly working but I've included the use of clipboards for each of the kids, along with an assignment sheet.
This assignment sheet originated when we broke away from the workboxes for a while.  But now, as we're returning to our workboxes, I see the benefit of the assignment sheet and have continued it.
As you can see in the pictures below (click to make it bigger), they are pretty basic.  I keep them very general on purpose.  I don't need to write the lesson numbers in subjects like math, because we just follow the book and do one lesson a day.  I don't need to write the title of the book they need to read for history because it will be in their workbox.  All this information is written in my own plans though so that I can keep track of where we are.  So, why bother with the checklists?  Because I've discovered that my kids are like me - they are much more productive when they have a sense of accomplishment that comes from making that little check mark in the box.  For Social Butterfly, who doesn't have workboxes, it also ensures that she accomplishes all of her assignments for the day.  Notice there is also a checkbox for chores and piano practice.

So this is one of those things that I noted, in my file, as "working".   The only thing I would like to change about these checksheets is their appearance. There are several examples of beautiful plans in the thread that I linked to above and they've inspired me to add a little beauty to our plans as well.  My children and I are very visual.  They notice the little clip art picture I try to change now and then and even the font if I change it.  I would love to give these checksheets a more attractive appearance since my kids have to look at them all day.

The one other thing I would like to change a bit is the plans I make in my own lesson planner.  This is the record I keep of the pages we will read, the lessons numbers, etc.  Currently, I plan for each week.  I would like to change this to a monthly plan, or maybe even six weeks.  There are things we study in science or history that usually take 4-6 weeks to complete, like a unit.  Planning for a month or so at a time will help me to categorize by unit a little better. 

For now, these are just ideas.  I'll be sharing what I come up with once I get it figured out.

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