Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Term 1 Plans and Daily Checklists

I've had some questions as to how I have organized our school year and how things are going so smoothly for us FINALLY.

I have to say that being totally organized for a change is making ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD!
  • I have an outline for the entire year.
  • I have the year divided into terms.
  • I have the entire first term planned out on one spreadsheet.
  • I have Daily Checklists for the Hippie, the Princess and for the Family.
  • The Daily Checklists are for the entire 12 week term on ONE page.
  • I have the days labeled as "Day 1", "Day 2", "Day 3" and "Day 4" instead of "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday" and "Friday".
Having this all laid out in advance is a life-saver. It is allowing us to get what needs to be done DONE even when there are stumbles in our path. For instance, this week we had an impromptu field trip to the zoo with our homeschool adventures group. We usually do all of our "adventures" on Thursday, but this was on a Tuesday. Now, if I had certain subjects scheduled for "Tuesday", I would have had to choose between enjoying the fun and doing school. Luckily, I did not have to make that choice. We went to the zoo and we did "Day 2" today. No worries. It's also a beautiful thing to have it all laid out so that I don't have to think. If I'm not feeling well or one of the children aren't feeling well (as was the case today), we can still get it done because it is not hard to curl up on the couch (pjs and all) and "just do it" ... when it is already planned!

This morning my oldest woke up with a tummy ache. On a normal school day, there is no TV. On a normal school day the girls come out dressed and beds made, ready to get to it. We do our chores and get to work and follow the schedule. Today, there were pajamas and Mythbusters before school and breakfast was at a different time and things were all muddled up, but we still managed to do every . single . thing on the list. And, that glorious feeling that comes with getting it all done was enough to make my daughter feel wonderful after school. Now, I have two blissful children playing WILDLY .... afternoon is FREE for play ... and school is already finished.


So, would you like access to my amazing files? My big secret? I've been trying to figure out how to post them for you to see. Let me try. If I can get them posted on here, you are welcome to use them to enjoy the same joys in your own homeschool.

You can look here for our plan for the school year.

You can look here for my plan for the first term.

You can look  here for the daily checklists for our family, the Hippie and the Princess.


As far as HOW to use these ... I am training the girls to be responsible for their own lists while I worry about the Family list. Each day, we work our way through the day's work ... whatever DAY is next. If something comes up and we can't do school one day, we simply pick up the next time wherever we were. As far as WHAT to do, if I don't already know, I look at the plan for the first term. It will tell me which chapter to read.

For Art, I didn't put the of the actual prints we will study on the term plan, but I have 12 prints by Renoir. I had an old calendar of Renoir paintings. I cut each one out to fit into a page protector and placed them in my binder. We now have 12 Renoir paintings to study this term. I can decide which one to do each week ... whatever strikes me. Today we studied the painting entitled "Two Sisters" ...

For Music, I didn't put the actual information on the term plan spreadsheet, but I did divide the 12 weeks into three 4 week chunks ... four weeks on Peter and the Wolf, four weeks on the the Pet of Met and Magic Flute Operas and four weeks on the Hansel and Gretel opera. For the specific plans each week, you can see my page at the top entitled Music Study. This term we are mostly introducing the orchestra and opera and general music appreciation. We will begin true Composer Studies next term.

For Nature Study, I only put ideas where they fit with the plans for Outdoor Secrets. For the other weeks, we will either follow some other ideas I have here (from Oak Meadow or from Simply Charlotte Mason) or we will follow the Outdoor Hour Challenge. My primary goal for Nature Study is to DO it. Just to get outside somewhere with our nature notebooks and pencils and OBSERVE and draw.

For our Burgess Bird Study, we are keeping a Bird Book. We are reading through the Burgess Bird Book for Children (I have a beautiful OLD copy ... I love collecting my hundred year old books!). While we read, the girls are coloring a picture of the bird (coloring it true to life, not just however they want to). Once we have finished the reading and they have finished their coloring, we are listening to the birds' songs and calls online and watching any videos we can find. Then, the girls paste their colored birds into their "Bird Books" (sketchbooks) and fill in the background. The Princess then writes the name of the bird on the top of her page and the Hippie writes the name of the bird as well as a few facts about it. We are excited to have our own sort of "field guides" at the end of the year, filled with all of the birds that we learned about.

My literature plans only list what Momma is reading during the day. We have an additional read aloud going all the time that Daddy reads at night. For instance, right now the girls and I are reading Little House in the Big Woods while Daddy is reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at night before bed. It's nice for them to hear both styles of reading, it's good practice for Daddy (lol) and it's a break for my vocal chords (seeing as how I am reading aloud to them

As for the rest of it, we do most all subjects the same way ~ Momma reads aloud and the girls take turns narrating (telling me what they learned from whatever I just read). I ask for oral narrations from Bible, History, Geography and Nature stories. Literature and poetry are for enjoyment only. Speaking of which, the spreadhseet says "four poems per week" for the poet. In actuality, we just read some poems each day ... so far we've done more like 4 poems per day. They beg for more, but I'm not complaining. Speaking of "begging for more" ... the Hippie BEGGED for "just one more lesson" in her English book today. And begged some more. Again, no complaints here! 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate. I just wanted to attempt to share what is working for us. If I can help just one other struggling Homeschool Momma, I'll be happy.

Of course, all of this is only possible because God's light shines through me. Give thanks for that!

Many blessings to you.


  1. Hi! I'm fotofreak618 on the Charlotte Mason Help forums! :) Thanks for leading me to your blog! Can't wait to poke around more! :) You can follow my name here in this comment back to my blog! :) My friend's is in the my blog list at the bottom...she blogs at Thank Full! :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by! I'll be eager to check around your blogs, too. :)

  3. Sounds lovely! Hope your sweet girl feels better. We stream Cake Boss on sick days. Anyway, glad you feel settled. :-)

  4. Thank you, Cindie. It feels SO good to have a REAL plan that I am excited about and that (for once) feels right. And, to have it organized and easy? OH MY ... so much better.

    Btw, I have not sent the OM stuff back yet b/c we are still doing Outdoor Secrets and would like to use the books you sent as well as we are reading the Fairy Tales and using the First Grade Readers .. I'd rather send it all in one box, if that's okay. But, if we get close to you wanting to use some of it, PLEASE tell me and I'll send it back to you.


  5. You're my new homeschool crush! I read your bit at the Holistic Homeschooler blog, and now this post, and I'm so excited to have found you! We are just getting ready to begin year 1 from I'm looking forward to poking around your blog!

  6. @Tasha ~ Love that ... "homeschool crush"! I've had a few of those myself. I'm happy you found so early! That is wonderful. I think it is a beautiful curriculum and if one can just follow it (with the freedom to trade books when they see fit), that would be lovely! I found it later in the game and so am meshing my own thing at this point. But, it certainly is a wealth of information! Thanks for stopping by! Stick around! :)


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