Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Homeschool Planning For My Almost-Kindergartner

Since Little T is now almost-five and Little Sir just turned two, I figured it would do me some good to be a bit organdized, as Winnie-the-Pooh says. Here’s how I went about my homeschool planning for the first quarter of 2013.

(To those who are new to my blog, I am using a literature-based program called “Five in a Row,” which is all about reading one great children’s picture book every day for five days in a row and discussing one topic per day. Click here for a look at how we do it.)

I Decided to Plan by Quarter 

I have always been a relaxed homeschooling Mama. I can plan “on the fly” – an oxymoron I know – and whip out our “lessons” for the week in an hour or two. I would look for a book that seemed interesting or relevant to current happenings in our life, and go for it. I would sit in front of the computer, make a lesson plan for the week in Word document format, and then gather our materials. Voila!

Sometimes though, I wouldn't even have an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon. I would then pick a book on Monday morning, read and cuddle with my children, talk about whatever comes to mind, and call it a homeschooling day. I believe in the general capability of children to learn something despite the (haphazard) methods of their teacher!

Well, this year is going to be different – I hope! Planning for the quarter allows me to map special occasions in advance, such as Valentine’s Day in February, and Easter Sunday in March. Once I've identified those and chosen our main books, I then work in our lessons for specific goals (next item on this list) that we have set. 

Quarterly planning gives me a road map I can easily follow, and change if I want to.

I Set Goals for the Whole Family

Well, ahem, I have to confess that I have not had any goals for Little T as far as I know. But as I said, this year is going to be different. I sat down and wrote goals for the whole family, including Wonderful G. He’s quite taken aback with this new organized me that he just harrumphed his approval.

I initially wanted to have a bit of academic goals for my almost-kindergartener. Formal math, maybe? But my wistfulness during New Year’s Eve made me change my mind. I decided to focus on equally, if not more, important matters such as character formation, art, music, and religious celebrations. 

Thus, some of our goals for Little T are not like anything you'll see in a list of goals for almost-five-year-olds. I then wrote some book and activity ideas under each goal as a reference list for the next step in my planning. It looks something like this:
  • Help improve morning mood
    • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Day
    • Another Celebrated Dancing Bear
    • Owl Moon
    • Sometimes I Feel Awful
    • Practice "stop, take a deep breath and relax" 
  • Help warm up to people faster and lessen apparent shyness
    • Halibut Jackson
    • The Story of Ferdinand
    • Work as greeter at The Learning Basket events
  • Help with sensitivity to sound
    • MaestroClassics' study on Swan Lake

For my baby boy, I’m happy to focus on his gross motor and fine motor skills. The little guy will definitely be pouring water, climbing, and running around to his heart’s content! 

I Plotted Activities into a Simple Planner 

I created an Excel file and wrote down the three months in the quarter as well as the weeks under each month. I chose monthly themes based on the goals that I've written, and then played around with which books to read when, taking note of special and religious occasions.

I plan to be flexible and change any book according to what’s going on with us. We will be guided, but not be ruled by a general plan that helps us work towards specific goals. 

I Created A File for Weekly Lesson Plans

Creating weekly lesson plans has been tremendously helpful to me in the past, not only in planning, but in keeping memories of our time together too as I highlight items that we were really able to accomplish. This helps in tracking and recycling learning ideas. 

I used to write my lesson plans in separate Word documents. For this year, I decided to consolidate everything into one Excel file that will let me browse through past lessons easily. I can also already build intended lessons if I come across great ideas and resources.


I'm sharing with you my homeschool planning files, except for our family goals, if you’re interested to see what I've come up with. True to form, I created very basic tools that serve my purpose and are very easy to use, modify, and print. 

- Provides me with a road map for the quarter

Weekly Lesson Plans 
- You'll read here the simple lesson plans that I made for Old Befana and If Jesus Came To My House. 
- You'll see that we are not able to do everything that I've set out to do

I hope this glimpse of our homeschool plans helps you in some way. Feel free to ask me more specific questions. I'll do my best to answer.

Make magic!

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TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE! :) Now I'm ashamed of myself for not documenting our earlier years! :D And not planning in advance! ;)

Sanne said...

Hooray for organized homeschoolers!  We're into Day 2 of our LOTW/BFIAR activities and loving it! Let's hope we can sustain it throughout the year. More for our sanity than the kids' "schooling", right? Hehehe

Daise said...

I'm not able to do  it, says files corrupt and can't be opened. Any workarounds on this? Would  really love to see it :)

Daise said...

I mean, I'm not able to see it 

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Hi Daise! I'll email you the files :)

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Oh yes! It's really for us :D

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

You have your blog, Mommy Tina, as your documentation! :)

TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

Are you online? :D

TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

Hi Daise! :) Wala lang.

Daise said...

Thanks Mommy Mariel! Kulit ni Mommy Tina! Thanks po for calling me the other day ha, parang I had a light bulb moment after our conversation. :)