Sunday, February 21, 2010

mapping out our week


WHAT does your weekly plan look like?

Well for the visual among you click here and take a look. I created a table in Word (the program I'm used to and have easy access to). It has five columns titled day, read alouds, independent work, hands on work and other.

In the Day column I rather prosaically put the name of each day in each row.

In the Read Alouds column I put the books we will be reading that day with the page numbers if applicable, including scripture readings and things that Princess Doc will be reading to me.

In the Independent Work column I put any work that I will not have to directly supervise and instruct. Things that can be done at the table while I am washing dishes or doing some other task with just casual input from me. This includes copywork and math-u-see work that has already been explained.

The Hands On Work column is for any work that requires direct supervision and/or may make mess! This includes artwork and crafts.

The Other column is for other stuff that fits with our over all aims and goals but doesn't fit into any other column. This includes visits to the library and other excursions.

Because it is for my eyes only most of the time, I use a personal short hand that most people wouldn't be able to understand (for example, TBAS p20-30 is The Book Of Animal Stories pages 20 - 30).

Forty weeks worth are printed out and put into a ring binder which lays flat, a week to a spread.

WHY do you do a weekly plan when you have already got your Big Idea plans?

I have already blogged a bit about our BIG planning. That is, the planning that we do with the big picture in mind like our nature and science rotations etc. However, the weekly where-the-rubber-hits-the-road is what I wanted to talk about today. You see it is all very well to have these lovely big reading lists and lofty goals and aims, but you actually have to DO something to get these things DONE. If you know what I mean.

One needs to take into account the fact that there are four children and a pregnant Mama involved here. Yesterday, for example, there were three changes of pants for Tool Man, four molars cutting for Pigeon, Farm Boy desperately wanting to read a reader in spite of not being able to identify his letters, Princess Doc had a broken night due to a nightmare (therefore Mama Bear had a broken night), the boys played Tarzan with the curtains in the bedroom and destroyed them, the little ones didn't take their nap because Tool Man climbed in Pigeon's cot and played with her the whole time and we expected visitors in the evening. Our day just had to adjust. There is a rhythm and a logic to it all, but it is like abstract art - not everyone gets it at first glance! If I had to stop and rifle through all the big plans, it would soon get overwhelming.

The planner also meets our state requirements for attendance records.

HOW do you use this planning format?

Through the day we have a routine where specific tasks fit which dovetails with our weekly plan. Having the weekly planner laid out on the ironing board where I can see it means that if our routine is disrupted (as it often is) and I am occupied I can direct Princess Doc to an independent task. Because I tick the tasks off as we go I can see what is still to get done and at the end of the day evaluate what didn't get done that day. If something doesn't get done I mark it with either an X if I fell it is best to just scrap that activity or if I felt I was going to be able to get to it another day, I would put an arrow next to it to remind me to plan it in at a later stage.

I fill in our planned activities using my "big idea" plans each week, referring back to check if there are any pending arrows, factoring in expected events (like our once-a-month trip in to town to the library) and allowing one light day to catch up on school work or house work that has dropped behind or just to have a REST! A light day also gives room for spontaneity (is it still spontaneity if you plan for it?) because if something comes up on Monday, I know that any little arrows I put in can be taken up on our planned 'light' day (usually Wednesday).

When all the baby bears are schooling I plan to colour code. Grey pencil for things for all the family, pink for Princess Doc specific activities, Blue for Farm Boy, Red for Tool Man and Purple for Pigeon. Things that two or three are involved in will probably be written in grey pencil and underlined in the appropriate colours.

So where my "Big Idea" planning is like my Atlas, shows where I am in the world and where I want to go eventually, my weekly planning is like my itinerary and street map, it shows me what I am doing and where I want to go today.

I just pray that I use my Compass, the Bible and the Holy Spirit, Every day!

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