Sunday, May 7, 2017

2017 - 2018 Homeschool Plans

Grace - 2nd Grade 

Memoria Press Grade 2  (minus their Latin, phonics, math) 

Faith and Life Grade 2 (I'm teaching her CCD class!)

Tae Kwon Do - Forms, Weapons and Fearless Classes 

Suzuki Piano Lessons

Spiritus Children's Choir

Lots of legos, outside time and play dates with friends!

Gabriel - Grade 4 

Oak Meadow Grade 4 (minus their math)

Tae Kwon Do - Forms, Weapons, Fearless Classes

Spiritus Children's Choir

Suzuki Piano Lessons 

Lego Club  

Ella - Grade 7

Oak Meadow Grade 7 English and History only 

IEW - Local class 

Life Science - Local class 

US Geography and Cultures - HTH 

Mixed Media Art - HTH 

Critical Thinking (16 weeks - 1st semester) - HTH 

Typing (16 week 2nd semester) - online 

Tae Kwon Do - Forms, Weapons, Fearless Classes 

Junior Cotillion 

Spiritus Children's Choir 

Friday, April 29, 2016


Ella, Grade 6


Creative Writing - Mary Beth Balint
IEW Continuation, Writing Mechanics - online
Earth Science - Penny Starrs
Study Skills/Character Development - Lisa Alonso
Latin I - online
CCD - 6th grade

Mom Taught:

Grammar - Rod and Staff 6
Spelling - Rod and Staff 6
Further Up and Further In - Narnia Year Long Lit study
Queen's Copywork for Girls 
Trail Guide to World Geography 

Teaching Textbooks 6
Beast Academy 5a and 5b

Suzuki Piano
Tae Kwon Do
Junior Cotillion
American Heritage Girls
Saint of the Month 5/6
Celebrating Creativity Club

HTH Co-op Fall/Spring - 18 weeks/Wed morning
Session I - Life Skills and Old Testament History
Session II - Life Skills II and Intro to Acting

Gabriel, Grade 3

Grammar - Rod and Staff 3
Spelling - Rod and Staff 3
Queen's Copywork for Boys
Classical Academic Press - Writing and Rhetoric/Fable 
Angelicum's Good Book's 2nd Grade Literature
Memoria Press Cursive Copywork 3

Math Mammoth 3a and 3b
Beast Academy 3a,b,c,d

Trail Guide to World Geography 
Abeka Grade 3 Science
Queen's All Nature Sings 

CCD - 3rd Grade

Suzuki Piano
Tae Kwon Do
Saint of the Month 3/4
Daring Club For Boys
Wild Explorers Club 

HTH Co-op Fall/Spring - 18 weeks/Wed morning
Session I - Ecology and Geography
Session II - St. Sebastian's Athletes (P.E.) and Math Games

Grace, Grade 1

McRuffy  L/A, Grade 1
Evan Moor Daily Language Review
Memoria Press - 1st Grade Read Aloud Program
Memoria Press Copybook 3

Math Mammoth, Grade 1

Queen Homeschool Science/Farmyard and Dooryard Friends

Evan Moor Daily Geography, Grade 1

CCD - First Grade

Suzuki Piano
Tae Kwon Do
American Heritage Girls
Saint of the Month 1/2
For the Love of the Mass Girls Club

HTH Co-op Fall/Spring - 18 weeks/Wed morning
Session I - Music Class and Earth and Life Science
Session II - Art Class and Lego Workshop

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Homeschooling - Filing Your Entire Year

I personally know many, many families who homeschool.  A topic that always seems to be popular is what curriculum we each use and how we structure our homeschool days around sports, activities, clubs and more.  I get a lot of questions about how I organize my school year and I thought a blog post with step by step advice would be a great way for me to share without having to explain it over and over again.

First, I begin by sitting down with a calendar that gives me a view of the entire year.  I like this one by Donna Young:  12 Month Blue Calendar 

I note all planned days off for trips and holidays first.  Then I schedule the 36 weeks we will be "in school" for the year.    Doing this one simple calendar first gives me a great overview of our year.  Here is my yearly schedule for the 2015-2016 year (hopefully when you click on it you can see how I number our weeks:

Next, I print another calendar from Donna Young, a full sized month by month blank calendar that I make a lot of notes on.   This is the one I've used for the last few years, starting with August and ending the following June:   Donna Young Calendar - block     I note all CCD classes, club days, co op meet times, sport practices, play practices, piano and choir practice, special retreats, field trips that I know about during the summer, etc. Here is a sample of the month of December from my calendar for this upcoming year:

I make that calendar so I can get an overview of our entire year.  Some days we will be able to accomplish more at home than other days and looking at the full month and year helps me set pacing and helps me lesson plan week by week.  

After my master calendar is created, I visit Donna Young's site again and I print off this Grid Style Block Lesson Planning worksheet.   This is purely function over form for me.  I don't want to be able to type plans in, I need to be able to erase and move things around if need be during the week.  

I print 3 copies and create a master for each of my children with the days of the week along the top and their particular subjects (based on grade) down the side.  I then print 36 copies of each master.   

The following example is a 5th grade planning sheet for Ella.   Of note are that the 36 lesson planning pages are numbered first at the top, 1-36, indicating the week.  At the bottom I use my original master calendar and indicate the dates for that particular week.  I can keep track of my paperwork easily this way.  This also helps me plan for Catholic feast days and more.  I use the blank lines on the bottom to write notes to either my child or myself.   I do preplan most subjects in the summer for the entire year but I usually do not file math in advance because I cannot always predict how fast or slow the learning will be (we used a mastery based math program).   

Before I schedule any work I fill in the extra curricular activities and off site classes into the schedule.  This allows me to plan an appropriate amount of work for each child each day of the week based on what else is going on.   In Week 12 below, I already know that we will not be doing seat work at home on that Friday so I know all the work for that week must be scheduled in the other four days or it has to be moved to Saturday.  This gives me a lot of control over our school work and I am not surprised at the end of the year when we still have 1/4 of some texts to get through.  Plan ahead and you can always finish on time in the spring. 

I have found it impossible to use curriculum that is written on a five day schedule.  This is because we do not have a typical five day schedule kind of homeschool.  So using something pre-made requires a lot of tweaking to make it work.  With that said, I am using Memoria Press Grade K for Grace almost entirely as written (subbing out the phonics program for one I like better) and I'm using parts of Memoria Press Grade 2 (older, 2011 version) with Gabriel this year.  I use the teacher guides to help me plan but I move all the work onto the kids' personal weekly lesson planning pages.    

Once I have all the children's weekly planning sheets created with dates, activities, etc. written in I then file them.   Each child has their own hanging file folder bin and has their own color for their folders.  The folders are labeled 1-36, one for each week of the school year: 

The weekly lesson planning pages are filed first.  Then I slowly tear apart all planned work for the upcoming year and file it in the folders for the corresponding week.     This is helpful for me because during the school year I can pick up only that week's folder, see mostly what needs to be completed, schedule it on the weekly planning sheets and if we don't complete everything by Friday I can easily see what can be ditched and what needs to be completed for homework over the weekend.  WORK NEVER GETS CARRIED OVER INTO THE NEXT WEEK unless it is an ongoing project.   We see what needs to be completed and get it finished.  This is how you finish your school year on time!!

Tear up workbooks, teacher guides, WHATEVER.  I mean it.    Rip, rip, tear, slice. A pair of scissors and an edge cutter from Michaels will transform your life.  Do not feel guilty.  If some of the pacing is off due to prescheduling in the workbook it is OK to staple two weeks of work together, file it in the first and note clearly on the top page that it is two weeks worth of work!  

Also, as you are tearing up, stapling and filing, mark the week for that particular bit of work on the top right of the first page in the set.  That way if it gets loose, you can easily get it back home to its file folder again.  

What about subjects that are not easily paced that far in advance?  This is where the pre-planning with your yearly calendar becomes crucial.  It is easy to stay on track with one subject (math!) if that is all you are trying to coordinate as the year unfolds.  There is also time for rabbit trails and all those other things that come up during the year.  You can easily see what you'd planned to complete that week in the way of review, extra practice, etc. and decide whether or not it is needed more than an extra field trip or a play date with friends.   Folders also make unexpected life interruptions easier to plan around - taking a folder and a few books is much easier than packing up many books and trying to get work done if you have to travel for a funeral, wedding, etc. 

Because each of my children have different colored folders, it is easy for me to visually keep up with their work.  I work with my children all throughout our school day and I check independent work every afternoon/evening.  I immediately know what they are having trouble with and what has happened in their school day.    

Here are my children's folders for (K), (2nd) and (5th) from this week.  Note that Ella uses Phonics Road and it is impossible to file, and I do not file her math program either:

Because most published weekly homeschool curricula is written for a post Labor Day through June school year, the holidays never line up for me.  I take time in the summer to re-order the enrichment in Memoria Press so fall, winter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter books/crafts, etc. line up with our family's schedule.   This is more easily reflected on my own lesson planning sheets as I fill them in weekly.   

This year for the first time I took all the Memoria Press enrichment for Grade 2 and I retyped it up to make it more usable for me in my folder system.   I also used the MP Grade 2 Spelling and Vocabulary lists but retyped them into documents that were easier for me to file.   There is a page for each weekly: 

Last, but not least, because I am now teaching three grade levels each day, I created brand new daily schedules.  I laminated them and they are hung on our white board each morning.  The kids seem to really like knowing exactly what they should be doing all the time and when they will get my undivided attention.  It is too soon to call it victory but so far, so good:

I store all completed work in the folders.  At the end of the year, I pull out everything and store it in a box in the basement.  I reuse the folders each year.   This can feel like a lot of prep during the summer but it is worth it!  It makes my school year run very smoothly, holds both the children and me accountable and ensures that the school year doesn't get off track. 


Work I did not file this year: 

Oak Meadow 5: Science  - All completed work is filed once finished. The textbook is written to the student along with weekly assignments.  I've planned on her weekly sheet the work that needs to be completed and then filed for the entire year.

Phonics Road: It is its own entity with student work binders that are fantastically well organized.  I plan weekly on the lesson sheet and leave the completed work in the student binder because we refer back to previous levels as part of the curriculum. 

Math Mammoth - We move completed work into the files when finished.  I do not file math as the program is mastery based and I cannot predict her pace. 

Rod and Staff English 2:  Work is created based on the student text book which is then filed once completed.  I follow the daily lesson plans as they are written in the teacher guide and schedule them based on our weekly plans. 

Little Acorn Learning Enrichment:  We fit this in as I can based on our weekly schedule and my interest in completing various stories and projects.  Sporadic extra work doesn't ever get filed.  


Monday, June 15, 2015

K, 2nd and 5th Curriculum Plans - 2015-2016

Ella, Grade 5:


Phonics Road 3

Oak Meadow Grade 5 Science

Veritas Press Self Paced History online Explorers to 1815

Evan Moor Daily Paragraph Editing, Daily Language Review, Daily Spelling

Homeschool In the Woods Time Travelers: Exploration, Colonial Life, Revolutionary War, Early 19th Century (Co-op with another family, Friday afternoons only)

IEW Writing With Style and Structure A (online class)

Math Mammoth

Additional Literature (one book report per month, except December):

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (August)
Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (September)
Rose In Bloom by Louisa May Alcott (October)
Captain's Courageous by Rudyard Kipling (November)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (January)
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (February)
Call of the Wild by Jack London (March)
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain (April)
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (May)


Saint of the Month 5/6
Corporal Works of Mercy Club
St. Fiacre's Garden Club (spring 2016)

Religious Ed:

CCD Grade 5
The Bible From Genesis To Revelations using Emily Cavins Bible Timeline  (HTH Academic Class)

Extra Curricular: 

Tae Kwon Do
American Heritage Girls
Spiritus Choir
Junior Cotillion

Gabriel, Grade 2:


Memoria Press Grade 2 
*subbing in Rod and Staff English 2 (no Prima Latina)
*subbing in Explode the Code for phonics
*subbing in Math Mammoth

Five Ponds Press Social Studies Grade 2

Evan Moor Grade 2 Daily Paragraph Editing, Daily Language Review, Daily Spelling 

Additional Literature (read aloud to him):

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Arabian Nights Entertainments
Smoky the Cowhorse by Will James


Saint of the Month Grade 1/2
St. Fiacre's Garden Club (led by me!)

Religious Ed: 

CCD Grade 2 (taught by me!)

Extra Curricular:

Spiritus Choir
Tae Kwon Do
Suzuki piano

Grace, Kindergarten: 


Memoria Press K 

*subbing in Explode the Code
*adding Phonics Road Level 1 - first 5 weeks spread over the whole year (phonics drill for varying sounds of letter teams)

Queen Homeschool Come and See Science 

Additional Literature (read aloud to her):

The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by  A.A. Milne
The Fairy Books including Lilac, Violet, Pink and Olive
Treasury of Mother Goose
*she'll be around for Gabriel's read alouds too!


Around the Town (visiting fire station, post office, etc.)
Saint of the Month PreK/K

Religious Ed:


Extra Curricular:

American Heritage Girls
Suzuki piano