Wow, I am so thankful I read this post! The advice here is just what I needed too as I've been feeling just like you!
Running out of planning time for the new year - help!(27 posts) (14 voices)
THanks so much everyone - this is so helpful.
Sadly I don't have anyone to watch the kids other than my husband and he's as busy as I am!
Tristan, I have a couple of questions:
First, for history/bible/geog, I'm not strictly following the SCM History Modules as I like to do Bible daily. Also I started last year with Story of the World (as I was new to Homeschool and someone had recommended classical to me), and since my daughter LOVED it so much (she keeps telling me it's her favourite subject). So I purchased SOTW 2 for this year, but am planning on supplimenting it a lot with other books, including some of those in the SCM guide, and a few I've picked up from AO (eg Our Island Story - as we are a British family so felt it was important for us to read more British history). I kind of wish I was doing the SCM modules as they look so simple ...but I also like the other books I've chosen. So (after that rather long intro), my first question is: how to you handle books that cover the same time period? I kind of feel I should schedule them together, rather than one after the other, especially if they are long books - and just find a way of scheduling their chapters chronologically. I don't know if that makes sense, or if I'm just making way to much work for myself here! I guess it seems crazy to me to finish SOTW2, before beginning Our Island Story, and I feel I ought to work out which chapters go together chronologically and then plan to read the two books side by side. But I have a tendency to over-complicate things....!
My second question is: Do you suggest writing lesson plans (like the SCM Mod ones which I LOVE - you know, which say things like "For this lesson make a salt dough map" or "for this lesson, list the king's character traits") Last year, I didn't write out lesson plans like this - I just picked up whichever book was scheduled and read it then asked for a narration. But I'm wondering whether as my children grow older I need to be more proactive.
What do others do? I'm curious.
Hooray, I've reached "Planning Your Term"!
I must admit I'm a bit muddled.
For literature last year, we read a different book each day of the week - so 5 books (or types of books) spread out over the whole year. But Planning YOur CM Education suggests finishing one book before even beginning another. I guess that makes it really simple - though would they get bored of the same book every day? I've seen that the AO booklist seems to have multiple books going at once....
What to do?
About reading books.....I'm not sure if this is the most effective, but what we are doing is reading our lit book on Mondays, our history book on Tues, our science book on Wed, our geography book on Thurs, and something interesting (from any subject that doesn't fit neatly in the schedule) on Fri. We plan to keep the same book for each subject until that book is finished, then move on to the next book in line for that subject. We hope to keep chapter book free reads going for weekends, rainy days, or evenings. We've just been at this 2 weeks, so don't take this suggestion as tried and true, though.
With Story of the World it sounds like it could be used as a 'spine'. In the SCM guides you read generally 1 chapter of a spine each day, plus 1 chapter of another book for each age group (with proficient readers doing their own reading of this book, joining the family to listen to the spine being read aloud). They try lining those grade level ones to go with the spine's time period/order of stories.
For books that cover the same time period I have two ideas.
One, read them together, alternating days. You'll have to figure out which ones to do that with.
Two, the more radical idea but my favorite, choose one and ignore the other. Don't plan to read it. If you already have it you could add it to a book basket for free reading time. Many times less is more! Choose your favorite one and use it.
For literature (this is not related to the history period) if a child will get bored with the book reading a chapter of it every day then it's probably not a book worth reading! We do one book at a time for this, so, for example, we read Rebecca of SunnyBrook Farm last month each day until we finished it, taking our time and doing just a chapter or two per day. Then we picked up Mary Poppins this month to work through. Because we take it slowly (1 ch. per day usually) the kids still get a month to live with the characters of most books and think about them and the story.
As in everything, do what works for you! I would go crazy reading literature with one book taking several months, but I like reading 2 chapters of history each day. And I did write my own 'curriculum guide' for history this year and have lined up multiple books to fit with the spine, only 1 chapter of an extra book allowed with our spine reading in a day, and that actually only happens some of the time, the rest is just reading our spine.
I just replied and lost it! Here goes again!
Tristan, thanks so much, that's so helpful and sounds really simple.
I'm curious as to how you did your curriculum guide, and also as to how you fit it all in (I mean all the books you read), since you have a bigger family than me. I try to start schooly by 8.30 and be done by 11.30 for lunch, and then have free afternoons, and keep to 15 min lessons. But by the time I've done maths and copywork with my eldest, family bible, scripture memory, and beginning reading with both girls, then fitted in changing the baby's daiper, seeing to any accidents or upsets (!), hanging out the laundry (I dry my clothes naturally and save a lot on energy bills - the girls usually read to me whilst I'm hanging), the time just seems to disappear and we only have time for 1-2 chapters of a book, not to mention nature study, map work, singing, drawing, etc.
ibkim2, I sort of do that too with geog/science. But I have to read more than one book a day to get through my books (eg history has to be 3 times a week, and I like to do lit more than once a week. I guess what you're saying is read all my history chapters on the same day, all my lit chapters the next day, etc. I guess I could...though maybe that would make for long lessons
Thanks so much!
ruthm, I should have mentioned that I am only doing year 1 with one child (my dd is still preschool and everything I do with her is spontaneous). So for now, its a bit easier to plan out. I have it planned out to divide a lit selection each term divided by 12 weeks, so I have 3 official lit selections going/year (3 terms) that I am requiring narration from. Then our free reading books that just happen in spare time (like the EB White books, Mr. Popper's Penguins, later the Little House on the Prairie Series), I plan to be just for fun and not require feedback or narration. I am thinking ahead in a year or two that I will be doing some of those subjects more than once/week, at which point I'm thinking I will try the same thing only only double up some days of the week. By then, I will be starting the SCM modules, so I would just have a separate time block each day planned for his/geo/bible (doing each on the day SCM guide suggests), then a separate block to cover lit/science/other readings however many days/week needed to cover the material planned.
"Two, the more radical idea but my favorite, choose one and ignore the other. Don't plan to read it. If you already have it you could add it to a book basket for free reading time. Many times less is more! Choose your favorite one and use it. "
I am getting to this place as I survey the mountains of books I own! For this coming year, to do MA-R&R, I could use Biblioplan, which I own along with most of the books I'd need. I loved this four years ago and learned a lot, but the kids did not always appreciate the 1 hour history lessons or the LONG days and looking back, I don't think it's worth the investment of time. I could use a HOD package I came into quite reasonably, but would have to rewrite much of it as I don't like the spines. I could try to incorporate the HOD package books I like with Biblioplan's schedule. I could get the SCM guide - I own most of the books for that, and could supplement with all those others.
OR, I could go with that simple idea, use the SCM guide as written, or pare Biblioplan, using SOTW, down to its most basic, simple form, stop worrying so much and know that less is sometimes more!
To answer Ruth's question about using several books, I have done this for years and truly, it can be overkill. I might recommend doing something like SOTW for your history lesson, and sprinkling in some stories once or twice a week from Our Island Story, as bedtime stories. I would not try to line everything up chronologically if you do this - CM believed in letting the child make their own connections over time as they encountered things from the same time period.It's fun to see when this happens and you see the lights go on, and they say, "Oh, I remember when we read about this!" Connections, that you didn't make, will stay with them much longer.
In terms of lesson plans, I would not worry about those. I would, however, begin each lesson by helping them to recall a little of the last lesson, to set the stage for the new lesson.
To prepare my curriculum guide I read the spine series of books I wanted to use and took short notes on mapping opportunities, side topics, and the historical events going on in the chapter. Then I used the table of contents in other books to help me line up what chapters in those go with the spine chapters. I also have a set of dvds that I've lined up with the historical events. And if a scripture was mentioned or referenced, or if a historical event could be found in scripture as well I noted it with the chapter. I noted down hymns that were in the chapters so we can listen to them during the chapter. I made notes of plants (trees/flowers) that were mentioned so we can look them up in a field guide or in our local area. I even put in gospel topics that we may want to explore further in chapters that had them.
I've shared the first 45 lessons on my blog here: http://ourbusyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2012/07/church-history-curriculum-guide-release.html You can see I just number them 1-45 and if we do one lesson this week due to life filling up we can just pick back up on the next lesson when we're ready.
I'll be honest, my main spine is meaty enough that with the scriptures we could just do those and be fine this year. And many days that is exactly what we read. All the extra books I can offer to my oldest when they match up for free or assigned reading, or I can just use them if someone wants to follow a topic in more detail. I am all about simplifying.
For how I get things done, I just shared an entire post last Tuesday about our schedule when a reader on my blog asked how it works at my house. Check that out and feel free to ask any questions you have about it: http://ourbusyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2012/08/our-schedulea-reader-question.html
We're done by lunch except for one thing, and that happens after quiet time. Chores take about 30 minutes in the morning with all the kids having their own area of responsibility. It really is easier with 7 than it was with all little ones (under 5) or just a few kids. Many hands make light work. Nature study, singing, art, etc all happen in the kids free afternoons/evenings and are led by them. Scriptures may happen through the morning a chapter at a time, but often we try saving it for when Daddy is home.
I just want to second what Evergreen said - you don't neccessarily need to have them line up perfectly chronologically. I started out trying to do this and it was insane. And the kids really will make the connections. Its hard because there are just SO MANY great books out there and I think we all want to share them all with our kiddos. :) Like Tristan mentioned, I've started a book basket type thing with the "extras", and its really worked out well. hth!
Thanks everyone - all those comments are so helpful. I'm taking a break today but will be back to the planning tomorrow...had a good session last night and am making good progress now, feeling less stressed and able to see it more clearly, and working at keeping things simple, so thank you all...and I'll be back if I get stuck again...!
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