Planning the Lessons

When I began homeschooling, I had no significant experience with teaching, only ideas about it.  Now that I’ve got some experience my planning has improved, but I know I’m still not where I want to be.

At the start I began using Daily Lesson Plan books, one for each girl, and that has been invaluable.  On the pages for the daily plans there are five rows, one for each day; and eight columns, one for each subject.  We have homeschool six days a week, so I cross out the days of the week when they don’t match the days that I need them for, and I write in the appropriate days.

I’ve had the columns labeled in various ways.  The fundamental problem is that we cover more subjects than there are columns.  The current column naming scheme is as follows:

  1. Vocabulary and Grammar
  2. Reading and Writing
  3. Math
  4. History
  5. Life Sciences
  6. Physical Sciences
  7. Spanish
  8. Misc

The goal for the day’s typing lesson is recorded under the Reading and Writing category, as well as the lesson to be read aloud and the chapters assigned for independent reading.

Sometime next year we’ll probably add another foreign language, and the Spanish column will become Foreign Languages.

The first seven columns are for subjects taught daily, but I use the Misc column for subjects that are usually taught only a few times a week, such as Geography, Music, and Economics.  We aren’t getting enough exercise, so that topic will probably be added under Misc also, as will any other subjects taught.

I have a separate spreadsheet for the frequency of review for each topic, but I don’t refer to it or update it as frequently as I intended to when I set it up.

I write down in the Notes section of the planners the subjects that I intend to cover during the succeeding quarter, but I don’t have fixed dates by which a certain thing is to  be learned.  We study things one day at a time, and the topic is learned when it is learned.  After that, it is reviewed periodically.  If something is worth learning, it’s worth remembering.  If it doesn’t need to be remembered for future academic or practical use, then it doesn’t need to be learned.

I started out using store-bought flashcards for math and for Spanish, and they’ve worked out well for the information they cover.

I started making homemade flashcards of the different things I wanted the girls to learn, such as What are the main subatomic particles in the nucleus of an atom?, but I’ve moved to making one-page summary sheets that deal with a specific subject.   It seems to convey a more coherent sense of the relationships between the ideas.  In later blog entries I’ll post the sheets I’ve finished (although nothing is truly finished; it is always subject to revision).

Based on a system I read about years ago, but which I’d forgotten until I started writing one of the previous entries in this blog, I may start preparing learning-packets for my daughters to work on.  It will take a lot of thought to work out the exact format that I want to start with, so in the meantime I’ll just continue with my current format.

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About Mark James Wooding

I was born. I was scared. I tried to get back to the warm place, but they wouldn't let me. I cried. Since that quite unexpected and traumatic event, I've been trying to make the best of things. I've written a book called Seek Wisdom, Practice Kindness, which contains a philosophy of life as well as an attempt to describe why people do the things they do. I edited a book called The Magical World of Poetry, a collection of public domain poetry that includes many of the traditional favorites and a few others I was fortunate enough to come across. Both books can be read on their respective websites, which are listed in my Links section. I also wrote a novel called Sasha and Samantha Save the World, which is available on Amazon.com.
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