I’m a very visual person. You can tell me that something is 500 yards away, but I’ll have no concept of how far that is, unless you say something like “it’s from here to that tree over there… that’s 500 yards.” If I can see it, I understand it best.
The Weaver volumes have outlines at the beginning of each chapter. And the Day by Day (DbD) lays out each day so I don’t have to spend hours planning. But, for me, that’s just not enough. So, I created a Week-at-a-Glance page as well as a Daily page for our lesson plans.
My Week-at-a-Glance (WaaG) page is two sided. The first side covers Bible, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, Reading, Math, and Miscellaneous. These subjects run down the left side of the page. Across the top are the five days of the week. The other side covers Wisdom Words, Creative Writing, Spelling, Penmanship, Vocabulary, and Miscellaneous, all on the left, with the days of the week across the top again. I created this sheet with Microsoft Excel, and printed it as a landscape (sideways).
My Daily page is one-sided, with all the same categories going down the left (only one “miscellaneous”) and my children’s names across the top. This sheet was also created with Excel, but it’s printed as a portait (tall… you know, the regular way you hold a sheet of paper).
Some of the boxes are not as big as the others because the subject doesn’t need much explanation. For example, Math is a short box because I just need to write down the lesson numbers each child is working on. Spelling, too–I don’t write out all the words, I just write the lesson number. Creative Writing is a large box so that I can scribble my writing suggestions down. Bible is a big box so I can list key points and verse references.
When I sit down to plan a chapter, I start with my WaaG page. I transfer the activities and lessons from the DbD into their appropriate boxes on the WaaG page, using a different colored pen for each child, and black for activities that include everyone. Once I have the unit separated into weeks, I bring out the Daily pages. It’s not as neccessary to use different colored pens, but I usually do anyway, just from habit.
All the activities are transferred onto individual Daily pages, and the pages are dated at the bottom. As I prepare for the first day, I pull out the page for the first Bible lesson and any other objectives I need to teach and clip them behind the Daily page. I clip them at the bottom of the page, and then all the days are clipped together at the top until the week I need to use them.
As I finish teaching, and the children move onto independent work, I’ll place the pages from the day back into my Teacher’s Binder, and pull out the pages for the next day. I know at a glance what pages I’ll need because I list page numbers for each activity on my planning pages. Resource pages are pulled, books are pulled and pages are marked, and notes are jotted for the next day. The next day’s lessons are read-over and prayerfully considered.
This may be too much work for many moms, but when I do things this way I am much more prepared. I can mull over the next day’s lesson during my quiet times–this keeps me calm and less stressed.
Have you found what works for you yet? I started doing this last year, after 11 years of homeschooling. Yes, you read that right… it took me 11 YEARS to find a way that works for me!
If you’re trying to find what works for you, may I suggest trying the two extremes:
- Picking up the volume and teaching straight from it without any preparation.
- Planning everything the way I do.
Eventually, you’ll adapt one of these ways to work for you. But, I hope you don’t take as long as I did!