"From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised." Psalm 113:3

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I am a planner.

Let me re-phrase:

I am a Type A, Compulsive, list-maker and crosser-outer, who thrives with color-coding and anything that starts with the word "organizing".

Big time.

(My friends are on the floor laughing right now at my non-exaggeration!)

Now, that does not necessarily mean that I am organized or live in an organized home.  (It does, however, mean that I have a label maker ; ).

But boy, oh boy, do I love to plan--with a capital L.

Matter of fact, I've been planning all summer.

Wish I could have gotten something actually accomplished!

Just kidding--kind of...

I'm actually a little more organized than I maybe was last year at this time.  I think I've found a system that I am more comfortable using, and it's my second year using it, so I'm sure that helps.  

I've been asked about what we do, however, so, here, in my less-than-expert opinion, is how we homeschool-plan at Schooling in the Sun...

1.  Pray.  A lot.  I've realized more and more over this past year that I am not supposed to have all of the answers on my own.  Shocker, I know!  The only way we are going to be successful in this homeschool / family / life journey is to lean on someone way cooler than us who has actually seen this stuff before.  I pray before each planning session.  When I forget, I'm floundering.  Honestly.

2.  Work through this wonderful planner.  Sonya Shafer guides me through a five step process, helping me to look at the big picture for our family, our year, our term, our week, and then our day.  This year, I wrote out long-term (end of homeschool time) goals for each child staying home:  Bug and Firefly.  It really seemed to help me stay focused.

For example, my long-term goal for Firefly in math includes her having the ability to navigate daily life:  making sure she can balance a household budget, plan grocery shopping, use and understand monetary concepts, and form logical and critical thinking skills.

Does that mean she HAS to master all of her multiplication facts this year?

Does that mean she HAS to divide fractions?  Like, ever?

Math is not her strong suit, by any stretch of the imagination.  Looking at our long-term goals helped me take the stress off of myself, and off of Firefly.  We're going to continue our slow and steady approach to math, making sure she truly understands concepts, no matter how (excruciatingly) long it takes, before we move on.

It's OK.  We can do that.

Really.  We Can!

3.  After looking at our long-term goals, I got to decide which of the fun stuff we would be tackling this year for each child, and then got to look at a calendar and divide up our year.  This was really fun!

I decided we would try Sabbath Schooling this year, for the most part.  I originally really wanted to start at the beginning of August and just school year-round.  But, of course, Turtle is on the public school calendar this year, so that kind of messes us up (at least until she comes to her senses and that experiment is over and she comes back home, but we're not mentioning that to her out loud.  See above:  Pray!)  She will start on August 14th, so we'll go ahead and start that week at home as well.

From that point, we will go six weeks on, one week off, with extra time off at Christmastime.  We should end before Memorial Day, which is about right.  I have a thing about being done in May.  My brain kind-of shuts off, you know?

4.  At that point, I took the resources we would be using, the things we wanted to be learning about, and plugged them into our school year by terms.  For example, while we will be working on math, reading, grammar, and spelling all year, we will learn about meal planning in the first term, work on cooking unit studies the second term, and do some scrapbooking the third term.  Also, our world geography that we are working on all year is going to look like Christmas Around the World in term 2, from November to February.

See?  Fun, right?  We will hit all of the things I wanted to do this year, but we. don't. have. to. do. them. all. every. day.

Sounds like a simple concept.

Yeah, not if you're a control freak.  In that case it takes being hit over the head with it in order to understand the idea.

So I've heard ; )

5.  Now, I've taken our Big Picture and broken it all the way down to terms.  Then I split that into weeks and days.  To cover 27 lessons in Science, using only two terms, we need to do one lesson a week.  Totally do-able, even putting Science on the schedule just twice a week.

I did this kind of thing for each subject we were going to work in, plugged in our outside commitments on a weekly basis, like Art Class, Bible Study, Book Club, and then worked out something that looks workable for us.

Told you I like to color code!

This is for our group learning.  Each child has one for their more independent work as well.

Now, although the general schedule says things like "geography" and "picture study", my lesson planner tells me exactly which things we are going to hit that week in geography, and which artist we are learning about for picture study.

6.  And this is where my folders come in.

If you are going to make fun of me, stop reading here.



Those of you who are Type As like me and have continued reading, might I encourage you to explore here.  I've stolen her system from her and she explains it in way more detail than I can.

Essentially, I have the first six weeks of lessons planned and in file folders (theoretically, you understand).  When I am setting up workboxes for Week One, all I need is inside the folders--copies already made, workbook pages torn out, library books needed are listed, etc.

When the kiddos finish their work and I check it, back into the folders it goes, ready for a portfolio someday.

Bingo, Bango, Brilliant!

Now, if only I could plan how my kiddos are going to react to all of their new-school-stuff this year!

How do you all plan your school year?  Are you color-coders, like me?  Or are you fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantsers?  I would love to hear your comments and see your posts, so leave your websites and stories below.

Also, don't forget to check out how some of my Crew-mates plan as well.  They can be found by clicking below...



  1. You sound like you could my organizing twin! LOL I love to plan and organize, color-code, and label things with my Dymo. :) I do the same type of file box system but I do the whole year in one shot. If I need to rearrange as we go along, I just shift papers a week forward or back as needed. I love the idea of Sabbath School. I planned that in to our year this year but didn't know that there was an actual 'name' for it. I'm hoping it will help keep burn-out at bay this year. Thanks for sharing all your tips.

  2. I've adapted Dawn's system to my planning for homeschool also. Thank you for sharing what you're doing in your homeschool. I'm a type A too, lol!

    Thank you for linking up at NOBH.

  3. I think we need to have a support group or something, tee hee!



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