I am a HUGE planner and last year I killed myself planning everything day by day. It was nice to have the plans, but it was stressful (for myself) if we didn’t check off all the boxes for the day or get to something. It would affect my kids if I tried to push more activities to get them checked off or would affect me if we didn’t get to them. This is the beauty of homeschool that I had lost, that we can work at our own pace and take as long as we need to do things. But I was trapped to my planner.
This year I am trying a new approach. I am simplifying and letting go. Most of our curriculums are open and go, with a checklist already for me, for each lesson. (We use The Good and The Beautiful for most subjects. You can see all our curriculum for this year HERE and HERE.)
I’m leaving my planner BLANK for the week and filling in what we accomplish each day instead of what we NEED to accomplish. I’m still planning our unit studies and writing my ideas, etc. on the side, but am not planning them out day by day. Just taking it a day at a time.
Now if we miss a day, have an impromptu field trip or lesson, I won’t stress out or have to rework everything. If we get to something great, if we don’t there is always tomorrow. 🙌🏼 This will now allow us to do our lessons and let the kids interests lead rather than just what I have planned. A blessing of homeschooling!
We are 2 weeks into our new homeschool year and this new routine is working out great so far. My new system of planning is working for us (especially me) so well! Some days my daughter has even been asking to do more than one lesson in her Language Arts curriculum rather than just doing the one I would have had planned for her. 👏🏻 We are taking a little longer to get through our special unit study, but that’s ok, rather than pushing it to get done in a week.
The other day my kids were even playing so well together that I didn’t interrupt them to do schoolwork at all. They kept playing great for another 2 hours! Playing and using their imagination is so important to their learning at this young age. And I felt the freedom to let them just play because I didn’t have any boxes for them to check off. We would just get to it later or the next day.
To have a little bit of a rough plan in place we have been using this magnetic whiteboard to map out our days. I typed out our subjects on the computer, cut them out and put them on some magnets. (You can also get subjects pre-made HERE.) Now we can plan out what we hope to get to each day. This has been great for my daughter! She loves to see what she needs to get done and is able to pull off each subject as she completes it. If we don’t get to something we just move it to another day. Each Sunday I pull all the magnetic subjects out and she can even help me fill in the week and decide what she wants to do each day.
For every day of the week I’ve also been trying to do a fun loop schedule. These are just fun extra’s to add into our school day.
Monday’s is Math Fact Monday where we will work on my daughter’s math facts or number recognition for my preschooler. We play some math fact games from Let’s Play School or a board game. I just got this game Scoop Up and it has been a lot of fun (and many ways to use the pieces for counting.) Sum Swamp is next on my list. I will even just do something simple such as laying math fact flashcards on the floor in a path and she has to give the correct answer and hop over each one.
Tuesday’s are for Tea Time. My kids love tea parties so every Tuesday I would love to have a special tea time with snacks where we will learn about a simple subject and read some good books. For example, this weeks tea time we will be learning about Children Around the world and next week we will focus our topic on learning the 5 senses.
Watercolor Wednesday is for art and painting. We will be starting to learn the different patterns in Art first by painting them (stripes, plaid, chevron, etc.) or letting the kids paint whatever they want. HERE is our favorite watercolor palette.
Thursday’s are our themed day. I babysit my 4 year old nephew on Thursday’s and he loves Aunt Zz school. 🥰 So when he comes over on Thursday’s he is learning an alphabet letter per week with us. Each Thursday I plan a specific subject we will be studying that starts with that letter. For example last week we learned all about apples for the letter A. We did crafts, experiments, apple tasting, and much more.
And finally Follow Me Friday’s. Friday’s we do some schoolwork if we didn’t get to a lot throughout the week, but I like to leave it mostly open. This day is left to field trips where I follow them and let them lead. Taking a trip to the park for nature finds, going to a museum or zoo, or even just staying home and reading about something they are interested in. This day I follow them and see where what they discover on their own.
This is our plan for the year and I’m really excited how it’s working out so far. It will continue to be a work in progress and could always change as we want it to. For now we are loving the freedom homeschool is providing! 🥰
(Planner I use is just one of those teacher planners I got from the Target dollar spot. But HERE is a similar one. These Frixion pens are amazing and ERASBALE! They work great for planning and changing plans. 😉)