One of the most common questions I hear is “how do you plan out your year? What do you study, and when?”
First of all, I get comfy at the computer. Coffee, chocolate, chips, and I’m good to go.
I head over to Calendarpedia and download a split year calendar in excel format. I tweak it so it begins and ends when we do (this year we’re going from March 2018-Feb 2019). This takes me about 15 minutes to do, but once it’s done, I save it and I’m ready for the planning to start!
On the calendar, I color all the holidays (I use a cheerful colour like purple). Next I use the same colour to mark off our birthdays (after all, who wants to work on their birthday? haha ). Now I decide how long I want our Christmas holidays to be, and mark them off in a lighter purple.
Now comes our scheduled days off. We don’t have any regulations here about the number of days, weeks, or hours to homeschool, so I follow a 144 day plan. I can bump it up to 180 in the future if we need to. We also school all year, so we don’t follow the local public school calendar. We find that schooling 2-3 months without a break causes us to burn out very fast. So…
We take every Friday off, unless we are sick and need to make up the day. So using another color (this time a blue), I color in every Friday box. We also take off every 4th week! Those get colored in blue too! Now our calendar is starting to look like a wonderful, colorful road map. As I count out the white boxes left, I see we have 36 week, or 144 days!
So what if we get sick, need an unexpected holiday, or something else gets in the way of my carefully planned out schedule? Easy, those days off become our days off, and the scheduled blue days will become our school days! We have up to 105 days that can be remade into school days! Talk about a lot of wiggle room! haha! (ignore the weeks under the middle row, this was an “oops moment”)
Now it’s time to gather all my resources, get another coffee, and start figuring out our weekly plan.
I take each book and count the number of lessons or pages we will need to do for the year, then I divide that number by either 36 (for # of weeks) or by 144 (for # of days). This tells me how many lessons/pages to do per day or week.
So for example if I wanted to finish Story of the World in 1 year, it means: 42 chapters divided by 36 weeks = 1 chapter a week, but every 6th week we need to add an extra chapter. But since each chapter has a lot of activities to do, this works out well.
Something like Math Mammoth that has 260 pages, I divide it by 144 to get 1.8 pages a day. I’m okay with doing 1 or 2 pages a day, depending on the workload that day.
So I have my pretty calendar, all my books with the # of pages to schedule per week or per day, so now to put it all together!
I love the teacher planner from One Stop Teacher Shop:
It’s a download, editable, free updates for life, and she updates it at least twice a year. It goes on sale several times a year on the Teachers Pay Teachers site, and it’s well worth the price! I fill out each week with my plans (this is where the bulk of my time is) and then I print out a few weeks at a time, usually between 1 and 2 months. This way, if things change, I can edit my schedule on the computer, then just reprint the pages that may have changed.
Punch some holes in the planner, put it in a binder, print out the cover page and spine, and I now have my year all planned out! And I’m probably shaking from caffeine and chocoloate overload, too.