Aug 13, 2010

An Up Close and Personal Look at My Planner

There are a multitude of planners all over the Internet this time of year. I've been checking them all out with great interest, because, really, are homeschooling moms ever completely satisfied? No. We always seem to be worried that there just might be something exciting, labor-saving, innovative, or guaranteed to turn our kids into geniuses overnight. So, even though we are happy, we still look, right?
Everyone has such pretty planners that they have purchased or have made themselves and I can honestly see why they are excited about them. But they all have one "failing" (for lack of a better word) that always turns me back, satisfied, to my own system.
My computer is my "brain". I use it to create school stuff, to keep track of menus, holiday plans, and ideas that I don't want to forget. I also use it for the Internet, of course, but my computer is almost always "on" and it is situated in the schoolroom. Therefore, I have no need to print off my lesson plans.
I type up my plans in a Microsoft Word document, including links right there in the plan, and, as we do them, I just highlight and turn them to gray instead of black. This keeps me from: losing plans; wasting paper and ink; having to bind them or put them into a binder. I also never worry about plans changing. If we don't get to something, it takes me only a few seconds to move it to the next week or even (shhhh! don't tell) deleting it altogether. If I find a new idea, a few quick keystrokes adds it in the right place. If we get a few weeks into the term and I want to change, drop, or add to the way I had things arranged, it only takes a little bit of my time. I don't have to re-print, cross out or struggle with White Out.
However, if for any reason I want to print it out, that option is always available to me. I have printed a week at a time for various reasons before. (I keep each week on its own page) And, I can fit everything on one sheet of paper because the computer can type MUCH smaller than I can write.
It's not beautiful or colorful, although I guess I could make it that way if I wanted to take the time. But it is rather easy and very efficient.


 This is what our second week looks like. I create a table for each "grade". The big kids actually do everything together and the little kids are going to as well, so they each have their own section, then I created a third table for the subjects we will do together. I highlight in a different color anything I want to catch my eye as I look over the week. The underlined words will take me straight from the plans directly to the Internet site when I click. And I use abbreviations and as few words as possible to keep it all on one sheet. (You'll notice nothing says Math U See lesson number... that is because it is covered by "journals" and I don't plan those ahead of time, just that we will be doing a journal that day.)

Week 2 (2nd and 3rd)
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Math
Journals
Roman Numerals
Addition tic tac toe
Journals
Penguin place value (1000)
Stepping Stones
Journals
Graphing worksheet
Addition board game
Journals
Money worksheet
Name geo. solids
Lens math
Logic sheet
Grammar
FLL 104
Journals
FLL 105
Journals
FLL 106
Writing
Journal

Dry erase board
Journal
Dry erase board
Geo copywork
Write on Blog
Spelling
--------------
Step 14
-------------
Step 15
-----------------
Reading
Read aloud K N
Read aloud K N
Read aloud K N
Read aloud K N
Read aloud K N
History
Cpt. 8
Read pgs 51-53
Narrate

__________
Read pgs 53-58 narrate
Color page 
Map work
Write your own fairy tale!

---------------
Geography
Vermont &
New Hamp.
Color state in US map
Read books
Online puzzle
Color state in region map
Read books
Trace, color, label state map
Read books
Color bird and flower
Color flag
Read books
Write a sentence
Bible
John 10:27-28
John 10:27-28
John 10:27-28
BGAA
John 10:27-28
John 10:27-28
BGAA
Latin
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
----------------
Art
Look closely at picture/ narrate

----------------
Look closely at pic/ narrate w/out looking

----------------
Reproduce picture

Week 2 kinder
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Math
Sort penny/not penny
Elephant color by number
Pooh number cards
Roll a die stamp # of dots on elephant
Intro to clocks
Feed the elephants
Addition mat
Skittles math: group, sort, count, add & subtract
Elephant puzzles
Worksheet fun!
Draw shapes
Glue “stuff” on number 2
Phonics
E
elephants
INTRO to Letter E e
E exercise card
Alphabet puzzle
Paint an elephant
REVIEW letter
Play with letter bag
“I Spy” something that begins with “e”
Add “e” to alphabet book
Alphabet stamp “E”
Phonics Path Starfall
Ee color page
 Fishing for “e”s
Find the “e” in the bag
E booklet for scrapbook
Match letters to initial sound pics and objects
Find the E e sheet
Pin punch “e”
SS
Discuss Emotions

-----------------
Emotions Memory

-----------------
Graph things that make me happy/sad
Bible
BGAA
Flannelgraph story
BGAA
Flannelgraph
___________
Bible Memory
Even a child is known by his deeds. Proverbs 20:11
Even a child is known by his deeds. Proverbs 20:11
Even a child is known by his deeds. Proverbs 20:11
Even a child is known by his deeds. Proverbs 20:11
Even a child is known by his deeds. Proverbs 20:11
Books
 My E Sound Book
Ella Takes the Cake
 Horton Hatches the Egg
Elephants on Board
Elephants of Africa
Jumbo's Lullaby
Emma and Kate 
Emily and Albert
An Elephant Grows Up 
Goodnight, Harry
Edna Elephant
What is an Elephant? 

2 Together
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Science
Read pgs 6-8a
Do TRY THIS
(put pics in book?)
Put salt in water… let evaporate see what happens… booklet for this!



-------------------------
Read pgs 8-10a
Ocean Currents experiment: add lab sheet to notebook
Read pgs10-11

What lives in a tide pool?
Label seas on Ocean Map
Make a river, dam and lake in a tub of dirt?
Work on vocab. list
Handwriting
Intro large letter, practice air writing
“e” playdough mat
Air write in funny ways with diff. body parts
Do a dot “e”
Finger trace the letter
“Write” letter in sand
Write large on dry erase
Free coloring
Quick review of 3 steps, write on paper
Health
Read about germs
----------------
Why we don't pick our noses.
----------------
----------------


As I work through the plans, I highlight in different colors things I need to copy or print or haven't even been made yet. Then, as I print/copy/create, I turn them back to black. So I can see at a glance if I am prepared for the week or not. After we have actually accomplished something, I turn it to gray so it is still there if I need to remember it, but I can see at a glance (again) what has been done and what we need to do. This gives me a ton of weekly flexibility. So if, for whatever reason, we don't do "afternoon school" or even skip a whole day, I can easily pick and choose which items to do whenever we have a free moment the rest of the week. Once the week is over, I turn every undone item to purple so that I can keep track of what we aren't getting to so that if there is a pattern, I can either fix the problem or dump things that aren't working. This also reminds me that it's there so if I want to catch it the next week I can remember that it is there. I could also move it, easily, to the next week, but I rarely do this because it would mess with my head a bit.
One other thing I would like to mention is my "Book of Lists" document. This is another Microsoft Word document that I title Book of Lists and add Kaytie's. So this year's would be 3rd Grade book of Lists. In this document I dump everything for the year that I can't immediately fit into the tables above. My planning tables only consist of 13 weeks at a time. So anything I find for the other two terms of the year that we might possibly need (ideas, links, lists, pictures, etc) I copy and paste into my Book of Lists. I roughly categorize them "Science" "Ocean Ideas" "Geography" etc, so that I can drop the current find into an easily findable spot later. Then, when I am ready to plan those terms, I can browse that document and plug anything I have already found into the current plans. The beauty of this is, it's all in one place, but each category is easily expandable if needed.
I have a folder on my desktop called Plans and these documents (and anything else that I create that pertains to the year) are inside, along with another folder labeled Completed. When we finish a term/year, I take everything that pertains to that term/year and drop it into the Completed folder. It's out of the way, but if I need to reference it, I know right where to go!
So, that's my planner and although I can't exactly offer you a printable, I can honestly say it works for me and I hope I have given you some inexpensive cheap free ideas of your own! Happy Planning!!!

3 comments:

One More Equals Four said...

I always like looking at planners, too...but I always go to my old system from years ago...not nearly this organized, though. I'm usually just one week ahead!

I'm all about cheap and easy, though!

Jen said...

This is a very detailed list! I seem to do better jotting stuff down after we have completed the activity. iCal has been a big timesaver for me this year. I love your organization!

Julie said...

This is great!! Thanks for sharing.

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