Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lessons (Un)Planned

I started Pip's kindergarten year thinking I needed a lesson planned for every subject, every day, all ready to go at the beginning of each week. While this certainly works for some families, it did not work for us. What I learned over the first couple of months was that if I had a general idea of what I wanted to cover, and had the materials for the week readily available, we would eventually get to it all by the end of the week. Or we wouldn't, and it would be pushed to the next week. By allowing myself and Pip more fluidity--one of the perks of homeschooling--we found a great rhythm, and she was excited to do what she was enthusiastic about at the moment. What kid--or adult--isn't?

As we enter her first grade year, I will continue using the planning and record-keeping method that seemed to best fit our situation last year. At the beginning of each week, I make notes of any subjects I intend for us to discuss, gathering reference books, noting page numbers, bookmarking websites, finding videos, scheduling related outings, and compiling any other hands-on materials. As we progress through our learning time, I use a chart like the one below to make notes of what we actually complete each day. I use the bottom portion to record her sports, lessons, activities, field trips, and any other learning-related events during the week.

At the end of the week, I type up my handwritten notes. This gives me an opportunity to reflect on what we've done and see what items will be carried over to the following week. It also gives me a neat record of what we've covered. At the end of our academic year, I will have prepared documentation of all completed lessons as the basis of my annual summary. Here's a completed week from this past year.

This system is likely to evolve as Pip gets older, but for now, it's a great fit.