Well, it’s that time of year, isn’t it? When the new planners arrive and we begin to put things together for whenever schooling will begin again. It seems to be independent of whether people school year round or not. Somehow, the excitement is in the air no matter what.
I’m all about the planning. It’s one of the things I do best. Even as a public school teacher, my planning notebooks were immaculate (and they had to be for the curriculum supervisor I had). Over the years I’ve tried various planners. The first year and a half I had a spiral notebook that I wrote everything in. Then I graduated to more complex planners for FIAR that I had made or others had made. Then, of course, FIAR came out with their own set of digital planning pages. Last year, I reviewed the TOS planner which is huge. I made my own Morning Meeting Planner. Very cool idea, but in reality too much to keep up with for a 15 minute slot of the day!
Let’s not forget other planning posts I’ve done- this one details lots of the things I use to plan. And let’s not forget the preschool planner. Of course, in addition to the planner itself, I have a file crate system going too. Still like it, but I don’t always use it to its fullest potential.
If you aren’t a link follower, that’s ok. The links above show you various blog posts I’ve done about my planners over the years. Gives you the backstory on what I’ve done before.
This year I had a nice planner set up with sections for all the kids like the ones linked to above in a lovely binder. Guess what I found? I didn’t have time to keep up with all those forms. Somewhere around January of this year, I gave up. I gave up trying to have a fancy planner. I gave up trying to keep up with all the forms.
I made a decision. A new mantra. I cannot make planning an idol. Dan laughed at me this afternoon when I told him that, but it’s true. Planning is not the thing.Doing is the thing.
So, here we are. Behold…the spiral notebook.
I list out the subjects for the day and the assignment. I list what each child is doing for math and language arts separately. I put reminders and notes in the margin.
I put check marks beside those things we finish and an X beside those things we don’t. Those things usually carry over to the next day.
When I want to brainstorm a unit or write down a new idea. I do it. I just turn the page and write it down. Then when I do my daily plans, I go back to that page and reference it.
This was my unit planner for The Salamander Room. I planned for the things in the FIAR manual and I planned for the unit within that I chose to do on amphibians and animal classification. We didn’t get to everything here, but this was the outline I used for making daily plans. Nothing fancy. On the next page are the plans for the next day.
So, this is it! Nothing fancy. But it’s all there. I do still have all my forms and have you all ever noticed how you go through seasons with planning and homeschooling and well…family life in general? This is definitely the season of the spiral notebook for me.
I may try to use a binder with forms this year. I’m working on our Individualized Home Instruction Plans- NY State requires a yearly plan for each school aged child. I get to write it, with just a few requests from them, but I do need to look ahead and make decisions. I may find that using forms makes things easier depending on how many units are together vs. individual, etc. My friend Cindy is a form making queen and she actually made a cool one with some of my input. Still like that one a lot.
But still as I grew busier with our schooling this year, I would always refer back to the days of planning entirely in a spiral notebook. In those days, I had one for E11 and one for R10 who were 2nd and K back then. Even that’s too much!
The advantage of using just one book is that it’s all there in one place. Every lesson for every child is on the same page. It is simple. It’s not time consuming. But it’s all there. And when it comes to writing quarterly reports (and right now is that time!), it’s so easy to refer to.
I reserve the right to return to more structured planning.
But for now…planning is not my idol!