Saturday, August 10, 2013

Paper Planning Procedures for 2013

In this post I thought I would try to share what I am doing to keep organized and prepare for this school year.   I like to plan (dream), but my follow-through is a completely separate journey, so it's challenging to find a system that works for me.   This one is still maintaining its robustness after 3 solid weeks though, and I am happy with it.    That doesn't mean everything is running smoothly on its tracks or that we never have struggles.  I am just saying that this one hasn't creaked to a stop or landed in the ditch, yet, and I am grateful.

I happened to make it to the Target school supply sale down in town and found a bunch of composition books.  They were inexpensive and solid and though I had browsed online for printable and hard-copy lesson planners, I didn't end up finding one that would work the way I wanted it to.   So when I saw pretty colored composition books (and college-ruled!)  for less than a dollar I got a stack of them.    I used a composition book for lesson plans with my second son when he was in high school and it worked GREAT. 

For years I have color-coded my kids in whatever things I can -- mostly toothbrushes and school supplies, sometimes drinking glasses, metal water bottles,  and sheets and towels.   I do it by their favorite color -- luckily none of my kids has ever had the same favorite color at the same time, and they maintain their favorites for years, so it works pretty well.

Kieron is green, Paddy is red, and Aidan is blue.
I color-code myself too -- either neutral or else pretty colors that boys don't tend to be attracted to.

For each student I have a colored composition book where I write daily lesson plans and a black book (with metallic sharpie color accents on the spine and front so I immediately know which book is which) for writing out things like course notes, ideas for what to do, spelling lists, problem areas,  and that sort of thing.  

These are those simple folders with prongs inside that you can use for reports.   I use them for lots of things, but here they are for containing the children's course syllabi.

The turquoise one is mine and contains things like my daily checklist, yearly calendar, yearly attendance record for the three kids, ideal daily schedule,  and my Motivated Moms chore schedules. 

Now here are some random pictures of the contents of the folders.  Underneath I will put links to the pages on Google Drive, so that if you want to look more carefully, you can.  Plus if I forget where they are, this will help me remember.

This is where I actually wrote out a play by play of a day where everything fits in its time slot.   Yes, just like Managers of Their Homes, I wrote out a schedule for each of us.   It is already outdated, but it helped clarify my mind and get a more spatial sense of my day.    I realized there were corners of time I wasn't really using very constructively. 

My conception of how the day should flow for each of us
This is a weekly overview. 
I tried to write out an overview of my week
Year 5 Lesson Details by Day Weekly Overview

 The breakdowns of what to do for different subjects on different days was the hardest part for me to create.  I used whatever lesson hints I could find in the Memoria Press or other teacher's guides, and then adapted them to our circumstances.     But having them down is VERY helpful.   For example, Monday is New Lesson Day, Wednesday is Review Old Work Day, and Friday is Quiz Day. 

A daily breakdown of what to do each day (Paddy)
Here is the same thing by subject/week:
Year 5 Lesson Details by Subject Weekly Overview
The same breakdown of lesson method, but in a subject format rather than daily
Year 12 Weekly Overview/Checklist

Kieron's Weekly Overview/Checklist
Year 5 Weekly Checklist/Overview
Paddy's Weekly Overview/Checklist
Year 8 Adaptive Weekly Checklist/Overview
Aidan's Weekly Overview/Checklist 

What I am really relying on, though, are these:

They came out of the weekly breakdowns shown above but I printed them out in blocks of six weeks (we do six weeks worth per two months year around, more or less).

I consult them to write out daily plans in the students' composition books.   Writing out daily plans is not strictly necessary, since I could just follow the lesson plans in their folders, but it makes a big difference to my follow-through, I find, so it's worth the twenty minutes in the morning.

  It also helps me balance between the lesson plans in an ideal universe and what we actually end up doing in a given day.     A couple of times a week I check off in the lesson plans what we actually DID so I can see at a glance that a given child is on mid-week 2 even though, say, we have been homeschooling for almost 3 weeks. 

Daily To-Do List in Student's Composition Book

Here's the contents of our folders that I use to plan the day.

 In my Folder

Calendar for First Four Months (August - October 2013)
Weekly Focus Overview
My Motivated Mom printouts for the current month (trying to see if this will help with my housekeeping structure)

In My Year 5 Student's Folder

In my Year 8 Adaptive Student's Folder

In My Year 12 Student's Folder

I also put printouts from Quizlet in each student's folder. 


  1. Wow, impressive planning. Love the colour of your books.

  2. Hi Willa,

    I love you charts! Are you willing to share the charts in a blank format that we can fill in on our computer? Thanks for your consideration.

  3. Blessings to you, Willa!

    While I haven't read this post or any of your posts yet, I wanted to thank you personally for speaking to my heart through your contribution to Suzie Andres' book, A Little Way of Homeschooling. I am new to the journey of unschooling with my oldest being five. I felt an immediate kinship to you when I read your sharing. Again, thank you. I feel less alone and that's always a good thing. I expect that I will read this post and some of your others here or your other blog someday. For now I just wanted to thank you and ask for your prayers as I embark on the unchartered territory ahead. Count on my grateful prayers for helping me and probably many others also.

    United in the Heart of Jesus and Mary,

    Shelly Schwartz (


We love hearing from our readers. Please share your thoughts or just say hello!