Sunday, January 28, 2007

HOW I plan -- overview

Here is the basic template I use when I'm planning a literature-based unit. (I do units, I guess, but they're not activity-driven and they're usually either a divergence from or a more indepth exploration of whatever track we're on that year). Here is a post I wrote 3 years ago about planning literature themes.

Here's where I wrote a bit about a very general Scope and Sequence and some of the Logistics. Though this was written for 2006 it still applies. More on the fundamental curriculum here... starting with preschool and building on it.

As far as practical details go, I like Dawn's idea of starting planning for the next week on the Wednesday before. I may try something like that.

I realize that I plan a bit differently every year. Last year a lot of my planning was oriented around resource-finding for the childrens' interests and for finding spaces in my day for the leisurely conversations that reveal so much about their hearts and minds. The rest of my planning energy went towards looking for things to strew. I also used a lot of planning energy to develop some(better, not great) household routines and prayer habits. These things are still helping me a lot and I don't want to let go of them.

When we were more actively doing our Story Meeting (oh yeah, I forgot that took some planning energy too) I realized that my stories work best if I have a general vision and a few specifics of the way in, but too many details written out ahead of time kill the interest and creativity for me. That wouldn't be so bad except that when the creativity isn't there, I can't "see" and if I can't see I feel like I am putting on a puppet show rather than writing a real story. It occured to me then that this might explain why I seem to have to reinvent the homeschool wheel to some extent every year -- new process of lesson planning, new morning schedule. There is a fair amount of consistency in the big picture as I've already mentioned but the details get a lot of shaking around.

Now how does this impact my kids? If I felt one of them really was asking for more consistency and structure in the daily things, that would be incorporated into my plans. When my oldest reached his high school years he definitely did communicate that he wanted more structure and consistency, so I rearranged things to provide that for him. Then I over-generalized the lesson and started requiring more structure and consistency of my second son and that was not successful. He didn't really benefit from what had worked for his brother though it wasn't a complete disaster.

This year for planning I've been using the Tanglewood Corebook along with the CHC Lesson Planner.Together they cover most of the areas I want to be reminded of and they are both pretty. I use my spiral artist's sketchbook to brainstorm and mind-map ideas.

The general process goes like this:
  • Look at overview, booklist, etc.
  • Brainstorm ideas and write out.
  • Collect resources.
  • Put into daily form.
  • Write into plan book.
  • Expect that it won't go exactly as planned.
I think one mistake I made in the past was trying to make my lesson plans too laid out and structured. Then they would just bore me dreadfully to look at them. I'm trying to figure out a way to put more creativity into the planning and writing. Look at Alice's!

My biggest challenge is probably making TIME work for me. Being visual-spatial, I don't move very consistently through time. I can get a lot done in a short time but the corollary is that often the day goes by and I haven't gotten to most of the things I wanted to. This lack of sequence is difficult for my kids so I've had to work hard to make myself stay on some sort of track. Once I have a general routine in place, I can usually get a lot more done.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Thanks for posting and linking to past posts, etc. I like seeing how other people do planning. I like the story meeting idea. I'll keep it in mind for when my dc are older.