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Many of you are in the midst of planning for your home schools, so I thought it might be helpful to share a quick explanation of how I plan my weekly schedule.
I’ve been using this 1-2-3 method of planning a weekly schedule for about 15 years now, so you know two things: first, it’s simple; and second, it works. Here’s how.
Lay out your school days in columns, one day at the top of each column. You can do this on a spreadsheet on your computer, on a whiteboard with dry erase markers, on the table or floor with index cards, on the wall with self-stick notes, on grid paper with colored pencils, on a desk calendar with crayons, . . . the possibilities are endless. Use what makes you happy.
Step 1: Reserve Slots for Outside Activities
First, block out the time slots you need for outside activities. Think about any recurring errands, appointments, lessons, or meetings that you participate in. Write each one down under the day of the week on which it occurs. If it happens first thing in the morning, put it at the top of that day’s column. If it occurs in the afternoon, put it farther down in its day’s column.
So your columns might look something like this.
Step 2: Pop In Everyday Subjects
Second, write in the subjects that you do every day. For me those are
- Scripture Memory
- Literature/Family Read-Aloud
And the columns look like this.
Step 3: Spread Out Variety Subjects
Third, spread the rest of the subjects throughout the week to add variety, so each day is not exactly like the rest. Keep an eye on the big picture, being careful not to overload any day. (That’s why we put the outside activities in place first.) Here are the subjects that I sprinkle throughout the week.
- History (anywhere from 1 to 4 days per week, depending on the time period)
- Bible (anywhere from 1 to 4 days per week, depending on the time period)
- Language Arts (you can do this 5 days per week, but try to focus on different skills on different days, not everything every day)
At this point the columns might look like this.
Add the onesies and twosies . . .
- Science (2 days per week for younger students, more for older)
- Geography (1 day per week, but also occurs in other subjects)
- Hymn Study (2 days per week)
- Foreign Language (2 days per week)
- Picture Study (1 day per week)
- Music Study (1 day per week, but you can play the music in the background on several days)
- Nature Study (1 day per week)
- Poetry (1 day per week)
- Handicrafts or Art Instruction (1 day per week)
- Shakespeare (1 day per week)
And you’ve got your weekly schedule.
I highly recommend that you take a final pass through to look at each day’s column by itself. Make sure you don’t have two heavy read-and-narrate subjects back to back. You want them spread out throughout the day with other lighter subjects between.
I like to use one weekly schedule for a term and then rearrange to keep things fresh.
There you have it: a weekly schedule in 3 simple steps. Any questions?
Resources to Help with Planning
For more help with creating a custom schedule for your family, take a look at Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education.
If you prefer to have the planning already done for you, our daily lesson plan books could be what you need. Each gives you a complete year’s book list, weekly schedule, and daily itineraries so you know what to do for each day’s lesson. We have three series of lesson plan books, you can pick and choose or put them together to make a complete CM curriculum.
- History Studies—plans for history, geography, Bible; for the whole family
- Enrichment Studies—plans for Scripture memory, hymn study, foreign language, poetry, music study, Shakespeare, nature study, handicrafts or art instruction, family read-aloud, plus habit training; for the whole family
- Individual Studies—plans for language arts, math, and science; by grade level (Grades 1–8 currently available)