Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Planning or Unplanning & The Binder

One of the things I have bounced back and forth in is planning Kidschool, or basically what is "mine" that I'm going to bring to the kids to inspire them. Sometimes I just wing it and "unplan", just letting things fall where they may. Over the past four years I've tried several types of planning; strict lesson plans, subject planners, student planners, calendar, etc. My recent decision is somewhat both - planning and unplanning. It is a simple blank weekly planner with the following squares:
  1. Devotional
  2. Read-A-Loud
  3. Names of each child
  4. Do Together
  5. Me
Devotional (planned) - I plan a simple devotional from church magazines, scripture, scripture stories, or other gospel topic books.

Read-A-Loud (some planned, some unplanned) - The list of the book(s) I read to the kids. I rotate between history, literature, science, Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers, Mathematicians Are People Too, etc. Many days I read from more than one, but maybe once in the morning and again after lunch.

Children (unplanned) - For each child, I write in what they decided to do that day. Some examples might be the book they are reading, a math lesson they worked on, journal entry, etc.

Do Together (some planned, some unplanned) - I lump what ever else we do together in this block; science experiments, fieldtrips, etc. If we all do it together it goes here, otherwise it falls under the individual.

Me - This is what I do for my own Scholar Phase. I list my daily reading, journal entries, projects, and study materials.

This version of part planned/part unplanned has really worked for me over the past year. It is nice to go back over and see a little synopsis of what we have done. I do not include details, just simple bullet items. I also encourage my Scholar age child to keep her own simple records of what books she reads, her writings (journal entries), and her planning for large projects. Some other forms I use for planning the year are mostly from DonnaYoung.org (link available in the left sidebar as well):
  1. Course of Study to plan the books I am going to use throughout the year.
  2. Curriculum Key to keep track of what I abbreviated each item to be. For example, Story of the World, Volume 1 = STOW1 in our planners.
  3. Two Page Weekly Planner to write in what we actually do. The blocks I use are listed above.
  4. Book Lists for each person that includes books, journals, videos, etc. This is especially nice in mentoring in the Scholar Phase. It helps me to see areas to suggest classics for the scholar to read.
  5. Binder (which I call "My BRAIN") to keep my planner, lists, and whatnot. I have tabs for each child and myself. Each child has a notebook to keep the year's writings and keepsake items. We have a few pages for scrapbooking the projects, fieldtrips, and special events throughout the year.
Also See The Binder (Ingredient #16 in Leadership Education).
Do you plan or unplan? What works for you? Do you keep a binder? Do you keep records?


heathermommy said...


You are my idol as far as organization goes. I am really trying to get organized. I feel the need to plan. I feel happier that way. I know it is not necesary for everyone, but for me it is.

Ed said...


I thought I was your organizational idol!!!

HAHAHAHAHAHA-that's funny.

But seriously. Celeste, I think this is great. I already am using the 2 page weekly planner because of you! I love it but my scholar kids like it even more.

I do some similar things that you do. I made my own kidschool planner a couple weeks ago but I like yours' better. Won't you please share the form you created? I am too lazy to create my own.

I find that if I at least write things down like this and have it planned, even if i don't go with the plan I still get a lot accomplished!

For me, I have way too many things in my brain to keep track of to remember them all. But my system has to be simple or it gets too overwhelming and I won't use it. For instance, I can see the value of the curriculum key form, but I cannot bring myself to do it. At least right now. Maybe when I get more organized!

Jen said...

For Heather's benefit, That was me that was signed in as "Ed". I keep forgetting to sign in as me!


S said...

Wow, you are so organized.

I plan nothing and keep no records. That sounds really bad when I type it out though. I guess that's not entirely true, after all I blog. I keep up with books read and blog about the things we learn, but I have no formal records. I am supposed to keep an annual report by law, but I haven't even done that yet. I think I'll be more organized as the kids get older. There just doesn't seem to be much to keep track of with Core and beginning LoL phases.

.... said...

I keep a daily homeschool blog where I write what we do each day. I tied the binder, but it just didn't work for us. It is hard for me to keep things writting in stone of what we will do. I have stay flexible. But I have a general idea where I want to go and it works. I do have times when I try and get very organized, but it doesn't last long....

Sandra said...

By nature I am a big planner. I've found if I don't plan then nothing gets done. In the past I've planned out what we are going to do over the year and then broken it down for each week. If we do something I tick it (if not I add it to the following week if it was important), if we do stuff not on the plan I write that in. One book serves as plan and record. I just used a regular lined book and divided each opening into four (line down the middle of the page) since - conveniently for this - that's the number of kids I have.

We are gearing up to start our new year - the first I will be putting TJEd principles into practice. My planning looks very different. For my scholar daughter we brainstormed together about what she wanted (nad needed)to do, I researched and found some materials, she choose what she preferred and now she gets to plan how she will accomplish it all. Previously I have done most of that. My LOL son does not like being told what to do at all so the plan for him is simple. I schedule his time - 2 hours on academic pursuits - and he is responsible for the content. I'm gathering up resources that I think he might like and putting them on a shelf and in a folder and he can pick from there or pick something else so long as it meets with my approval. Very unplanned for us. My younger daughter (also LOL) loved what we did last year so we will continue with tha. Her day will have a planned kidschool look about it. Having said that it'll only last 1-2 hours per day so still lots of time to fill in with her stuff (and I wouldn't be doing as much with her but she insists). Child number four is, I guess, in depth phase, and off to university for the first time, so I don't have to plan for him either.All in all, I'm surprised I'm not suffereing from planning withdrawal.

heathermommy said...

I am dumb I can't get the link for yuor two page planner to work. Help me!!

B said...

Wow, thank you for the links. I hope to be that oraganized one day!

Celeste - The Solar Cook said...

The link for the 2 page per week planner is: http://batchelorfamily.org/weeklyplanner.pdf. When I click on the link in the post, the page that opens is the page to download it.

Olivia said...


Just so you know I'm Deanna's daughter.

I've found in our mom school(kids school) that just having a routine of different things with a wide variety is the best.

Our mom school(kids school) is usually 1 1/2 to 2 hours long and we try to cover a lot of subjects.
Some days We pick several extra books to read. Per kid.

I know that my mom has found that having a homeschooling blog like Becca works the best. She posts what we do everyday. And so you can start seeing the routine in that aspect.

We've tried a simplified binder and It doesn't work very well. I'm not a very organized person in my schedule, anyway and I like having me run my schedule not vise versa.

Does that help? Blogs work the BEST!

Celeste - The Solar Cook said...


I've seen your mom's blog and it is awesome! You guys get a lot done every day. I also keep a blog that I post to weekly for homeschooling in addition to our family stuff. I agree that you need to do whatever works best for you. I'm glad that a blog is working for your family.