Late night clickity clack

Up late with the Mr.
He came home a day early but still had to get up and work from 11:30 to 1:30am.  So I waited up for him to wake from his power nap. Here we sit, in our chairs, clicking away on the keys of our respective laptops. The house is quiet, tv turned down low.
I just spent a half an hour checking out Pinterest for cool craft ideas and homeschool inspirations. Wow. Just wow. So many creative people in our world!
I have so many ideas for school next year. I feel, at this very moment, so motivated to plan better and do better for my kids. I have little patience though and I can’t buy the curriculum I want to use yet. In a week or so I can afford to pick up another piece. Then it’s back to saving up for the big chunk. I need to sell off my old stuff but I can’t seem to get my act together to list it anywhere. Maybe after the holiday weekend.
I see blog posts about these easy craft ideas and I want to be that mom. When it comes time to actually DO something I bail on my kids almost every time. I buy the supplies but never prep them. I’ve even hinted that we were going to do something fun, but then allow them to forget about it so I don’t have to take the blame for it not happening.
I love to have the plans, work the plans, the prep, the design, the laying it out, the anticipation of it all.
The execution always trips me up. I’m so used to it not going exactly as I planned it and me getting upset  that I just don’t do it.
People have always said how I was a “go with the flow” kind of person. A flexible mom.
I am so very not that mom. At all.

New School Year, New Planning System

Once again we are trying something new.

A new curriculum, a new technique, new game plan, new planning style…. It will probably change again before Christmas.

Life changes and homeschooling gives us an amazing opportunity to change with it; to make adjustments that keep us working effectively no matter what the circumstances.

I knew having a new baby in the house would mean a few more ‘frazzled’ days then usual. Planning would be hard. Being the ‘fun’ mom would be hard (as I would be tired). I also knew planning our school work would be overwhelming. I felt that feeling coming on long before the baby arrived last June.

So instead of giving up, I changed the game.

I broke the year down into tiny pieces that were more manageable. (Funny, I broke it down into the same bites as the public schools 🙂 )

I’m planning in SIX 6-week sections. I have a composition notebook for each six weeks. This way if I don’t like my method I only have to put up with it for a bit, then I can change my mind.

SchoolPlanner

See my little tabbies?  They are mailing labels, folded in half over the edge of a page.  I skipped 6 pages (one for each week for notes and such), tabbed our first subject, and left 6 pages in between each tab.  Each page lists the objectives, work, ideas, etc. for that subject for that week. 

Some of them specify a day to do the work.  Some of them are blank waiting to be filled with the title of the book they read, or the recipe they learned.

Last week, I sent it to my mom’s house with the kids and their binders (I’ll show them in another post).  She LOVED it!  She knew exactly what the goal was, and had a place to write notes to me about how they did, or what she had to change. 

We’re on week 4 this week.  At the moment, I think I’m going to keep it this way for another six week period.

How do you like to plan your lessons?

Revamping Our Homeschool, Two Thirds Through the Year, Part One

On Friday, our girls left for an early “Spring Break” with my mom.  Mostly because we’ve been having a lot of cabin fever issues for the past two months and this pregnant mommy was on overload.  Recognizing that the arrival of our newest bundle is quickly approaching the Mr. and I decided to pick out, order and start planning for next years school work early.  
In the process of thinking through what was and was not working for us this year I found myself become more and more energized and excited about what we could STILL accomplish THIS year, with a little tweaking!
First step, let’s get Momma organized.  Part one of our revamp: My new binder.
I’ve tried binder systems before.  I don’t like them.  I find the binders bulky.  When they aren’t full, they don’t stack well.  Anything you set on top just slides off.  Drives me bonkers.
Saturday morning I found the almost perfect answer to my problem: The Five Star Flex Binder.  It holds more than a 1″ binder, but the spine is flexible. It is always flat (like a notebook) and you can flip the cover all the way around (JUST like a notebook!). 

It has five dividers total.  The first two have note card pockets, as well as full sheet pockets.  The next three are similar to sheet protectors.  All five are made from sturdy plastic.  It included some notebook paper and graph paper.

So far I only have one complaint and it’s tiny.  The flexible rings, which have no mechanism to open them, you have to open one at a time, open at the back of the binder.  This means if you want to insert pages to the front, you’ll have to remove pages first.  Not a big issue, just something I noticed.  For the joy of being able to use it like my notebooks, I’ll get over the ring issue!

So far I have four dividers in use: Schedule, Lesson Plans, Ideas, and Recipes.  Below is a sample of one of my schedule pages.  This is NOT my day planner. I have a BusyBodyBook for that.  This is so I can check off our basics every day.  I’m considering letting my girls mark their stuff complete with stickers!

 
Next section is my workbox planner pages.  I created this spreadsheet (a pdf is available for download below).  It’s set up for two kids, two days to a page OR up to four kids for one day.   These pages will change soon as I’m considering starting our new curriculum in mid March. We’ve chosen the Weaver Curriculum from Alpha Omega Publications.  It’s based on multiple subject unit studies with the focus being the Bible.  It covers multiple grades simultaneously and I think we can start now, do a little over the summer, and move right into full school next fall with ease.  Well, what we can do while getting used to a new baby!

“Workbox” Style Planning Pages for two children

My recipe section will have the recipe name and the url or book and page numbers of where I found it. That way I can go back and write up a note card for my recipe book.  (You know, when I get one of them Round Tuits!)  By keeping it to just the name and reference I’ll have a nice list I can use to help with meal planning. 

This was just the start of our revamping and reorganizing this weekend.  I’ll post some more tomorrow from the changes to our ‘set up’ and our workboxes!

Why system do you use?  Day Planner, Binder, Notebook, Electronic?  Why do you like it?

Have something in your binder system you can’t live without? Tell me about it!  My binder wants to hear all about it!