We are a very relaxed and eclectic homeschooling family. I create the curriculum that my kids use picking and pulling from many different resources. I find that homeschool planning and prepping 12 weeks at a time works best for us. My detailed planning and intense prepping can take a lot of time up front but saves me time (and my sanity!) when all is said and done.
Creating a personalized curriculum is wonderful but it involves a lot of planning. Twelve weeks seems to be the perfect amount of time for me to plan. I do not like to commit to a specific plan for an entire school year as this can be a waste if you make changes mid-year. Planning week by week doesn’t work as I tend to lose my focus. A twelve week plan provides me the time to plan but leaves me space to change things if and when I need to mid year, perfect!
Homeschool Planning & Prepping
Homeschool planning and prepping 12 weeks at a time is totally worth the work. At the end of my planning and prepping I am left with a box of 36 folders. 12 folders for each child. Inside each of those 12 folders are five packets paper clipped together, one for each day of the week. Boom!
Our youngest kids are in 6th, 4th, and 2nd grades and have always homeschooled. I finally (kinda) feel like I am getting the hang of this homeschooling thing. I don’t purchase pre-packaged curriculum (it’s fine if you do!), I pick and choose what we will use in each subject. This has always worked very well because it allows our kids to learn in a way that meets their individual needs and focuses on their personal interests.
Create Your Plan
I create my plan twelve weeks at a time, three times a school year (hopefully but not always). I type it up to use as a guide and put it in my planner. There are no dates in my planner. Simply week one, week two, and so on. We school year round and take time off when needed. Leaving the dates blank allows us flexibility to take off when needed without having to cross out and re-plan the dates in the planner.
Many of the subjects, such as Math, I don’t assign a lesson. I leave it blank to write in later. Leaving the lesson blank allows freedom to skip if needed and doesn’t leave me feeling me feeling as if we are falling behind. Science, history, and writing tend to be specific.
These are a few examples of my more detailed, week by week, plan:
Planning twelve weeks at a time works for me but it is up to you to decide what works for you. Maybe a full year would be best? Whatever time period you want to plan is what works for you. The following preparation steps will work for any amounts of time, just add or remove folders!
Time to Prep!
Prepping is the fun part…..in the beginning. 😉
First, I lay out twelve stacks of three file folders and my printed up planning guide. In each stack is a folder with each child’s name and week number, starting with 1 and ending in 12. My folders are nothing fancy, they are just what I had in the cabinet left over from our lapbook supplies. You could totally get all cute and organized with specific color folders for each kid or week.
Next, I start filling the folders. I typically start with subjects that the kids do together, such as science. I print or make copies of the necessary papers and stuff them in each child’s folder for each specific week. For science, Alex’s folder with have his logbook papers while Ava and Audrey have their lapbook and coloring sheets.
After the shared subjects are copied, printed, and placed in folders I tackle individual kids and subjects. This pic is of Alex’s reading comprehension. I print and stack five days assignments on each folder, then I place them in his folder for that week.
This pic is the following day and I am just getting to Audrey’s reading. Homeschool prep is quite the process!
Organizing the Folders
Once I have finished printing, copying, and stuffing 12 weeks worth of folders I get down to the business of organizing each folder into five days.
This is a folder stuffed with all of the work needed for Alex week 1.
Now it is time to separate the work into five days. I make a stack for each day.
Science goes in day 1 and 2. History in days 3 and 4. Grammar, spelling, and reading are everyday. You can create your plan and make your piles accordingly.
Now I have a pile for five school days. I bundle them and paperclip each day and stack them with day one on top, day five on bottom.
I keep doing this over and over again until all 36 folders are stuffed and organized. Then I put them in a file box, nice and neat(ish).
I have learning bins with daily drawers that I use for my kids. When a school week is completed I pull out the next week’s folders and stuff the drawers. I enjoy and appreciate the daily drawers because when life gets crazy and you don’t get everything done in the day I can take what is left in one drawer and put it in the next. I tend to plan for ‘light’ days on the fifth day anticipating that the drawer will have things added to it as the week goes on.
***IMPORTANT NOTE: No matter how much or how well I plan and prep life happens. I am learning that everything is OKAY. There are times when I feel ‘behind’ or that my kids are falling behind but I’m not and they aren’t . We homeschool. Life happens while we homeschool and we can roll with it, bend, and take breaks. This life, OUR life, is an awesome journey that we are on together.
I love homeschooling.
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