There is no “one right way” to prepare for teaching with Weaver. Each family will use a slightly different approach, be it through the planning pages they use, or the amount of preparation they do, or both. While I’ve been using my current system (outlined below) for over five years now, it may not work for your family. But I encourage you to try it! With each system you try, you’ll find bits and pieces you like — pull them all together and you’ll have created your own lesson planning system!
For me, it all starts at my desk. I am blessed to have three desks in my office: one for my computer, one for paying bills, and one for school. Here’s my school desk:
The open binder at the front left of the desk is my Teacher’s Binder. It holds just the unit we’re currently working on. Since my children are grades 7 & 9 (the 12th grader is working independently) I only use the following sections in my binder: Weaver (intro, Bible, vocab & penmanship–basically all the white/multi-grade pages from the unit); Supplement (7-8 section, then a clear page protector followed by the 9-10 section); Student Texts (any pages I’ve copied that they’ll need for the unit); and Resources (the Resource pages from the main volume). The unused tabs are: Teacher Papers (it still holds blank journal pages, blank Romans 12 lists, field trip forms, and any other notes); Language Arts (still has notes on special days throughout the year for creative writing prompts, and copies of pages from Wisdom Words that talk about teaching reading… wow, I need to clean out my binder!); Spelling (holds the current spelling lists for each child); and two blank tabs (one has miscellaneous notes on high school transcripts and the other has all my Ready Reference charts behind it).
The place at the front right is where my children put things that need to be corrected. It’s also where I put my papers for the next day. The back right holds “future papers” as I like to call them. Starting at the bottom, there is my yearly calendar, future weeks pages, logic pages for the next week, blank Week-at-a-Glance pages, and this week’s logic pages (and math test pages). Center back has the current volume I’m working on and any other books I may need for the unit. You’ll see essentials, like Post-it® notes at the back left, and colored pens on the desk — besides those key items, there are two more things I find quite useful:
Colored paperclips — the large kind — and these really cool sticky-tab things I recently found at the store. You’ll notice they are see-through. These are fantastic for marking pages in books because you can keep reading right through them without having to stop and remove the marker! These are also plastic, so they’re much more durable than regular paper sticky-notes, and they’re reusable, which means I’ll have these for a long time!
The first thing I do when I plan is list all the subjects I need to cover. I don’t remember when I started using graph paper for this, but I always do.
I list the number of weeks I’ve set aside for the unit, then the actual days. This unit will take us through 8 weeks, and there are three weeks with only four days in them, so that’s 37 days. It’s important to keep track of days off during the week, otherwise you’ll find yourself doubling-up just to squeeze five days into four. As I look over the lessons for the unit, I’ll note how many there are and if I want to teach any over two days instead of one. I’ll split up the vocabulary words, note any field trips ideas, and decide on Bible verses for penmanship.
All our “school days” are based on the yearly calendar I created at the beginning of the year, which marks out what days we’ll have school and what days we’ll have off:
The calendar on the left is for next year, so it’s still blank except for the days my husband will have off of work. The calendar on the right shows our current year. I first mark down our start day and our end day, then any days off, such as Spring Break, Labor Day, Christmas, etc. Since I have a child taking classes at a local Tech school, we tend to follow the same schedule as the public school system. If any of the children are using LIFEPACs for anything, I jot down when each booklet will be due so they are all finished by the last day of school. I then fill in where they should be in their math books so they get finished as well. We usually finish before the end of the year, so it’s okay to miss a day or two — except it makes my calendar look a bit messier as I rewrite the lessons to push them back a day or two. The left margin shows the unit we’re working on; the right margin shows the number of days we’ll have school that week.
You’ll notice there are multiple colors on the calendar. Anything that is child-specific is marked in that child’s color. (It was really colorful when I had all five children in school!) I use pencil on the yearly calendar for things that affect everyone, but on the Weekly Sheets I use black or blue pen:
Originally, these sheets were designed to be filled out and given to the children so they could see what was expected of them each day of the week. I used a two-sided Weekly Sheet, and a Daily Sheet, for myself. When I was teaching four or five children, I needed more room to write out our weekly plans. Yet, I didn’t want to get distracted with the other days, so I used Daily Sheets to keep myself focused. Now, with only two, I can squish everything onto this one-sided page (shown above) thanks to colored pens. The subjects down the left side will change some years, depending on what classes we do. I’ve started leaving some sections blank for the children to write in, to teach them about planning their own time. The children will get a sheet similar to the one on the right, except it will contain just the stuff that pertains to them.
Bible lessons will always be filled in first. Then I fill in the History and Science lessons on the Weekly Sheets. Here is an example of the sheets for the current unit we’re doing:
You’ll notice that each sheet has a paperclip. As I plan, I’ll put papers behind the week where they’ll be used. Two of the above sheets already have the vocabulary word searches behind them, and some have grammar and logic pages.
On Sunday afternoons, I pull out the following week’s papers and copy the plans onto sheets for the children. I set aside anything not needed on Monday, and place just Monday’s papers on the clipboard:
In the above photo, you’ll see the Bible lesson, logic sheets, my Weekly Sheet and the children’s Weekly Sheets, along with the paperclip that held them together and the clipboard they will be placed on. At the end of the school day, I’ll only have the Bible lesson and my Weekly sheet on the clipboard, and the children will have put their completed logic sheets on the front right corner of my desk to be corrected. I usually correct everything on Friday nights.
After my teaching time is over, I’ll put away the Bible lesson from this day and pull out the Science papers needed for the next day, as well as the logic puzzles. Wednesday’s papers will include math tests (they don’t usually fall on the same day, but this week they do).
As I look at the above picture and at the actual Weekly Sheet in front of me, I see that I’ve forgotten to include the grammar sheets. They’re still clipped to the group of papers I’ll need this week and sitting on top of the stack at the back right of my desk. (A place for everything, and everything in its place!)
I hope this has given you a good overview of one way to plan Weaver lessons. Other moms have uploaded their planning pages to the U-Weaver group on Yahoo. If you’re a member of the list you can view and download them to see if they work for your style of planning. Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email if you have any questions!