A Plan for Planning

I may have reached a new low.... First I was preparing to prepare and now I'm planning for planning.

You can go ahead and call me a control freak now!

As these children of mine keep growing I keep needing to adjust the way I plan.  Detailed lesson plans, outlines, goals...everything is getting more in depth as I try to keep track of what everyone is learning, where they are going next, and what materials I need to make.  Montessori is organized for mixed age students, but what I have right now really amounts to an Infant/Toddler, a Children's House, an Elementary 1, & an Elementary II.  (Technically by age I would have either 2 CH or 2 E1 and no E2s, but in reality it isn't coming out that way.)  Some days it feels like extreme Montessori, especially when it comes to organizing and planning lessons to ensure we continue to cover a variety of interesting content areas and topics!

I've simplified my planning into a list of topics/subject areas and how frequently they need to be covered and then am looking at  areas to cover those topics plus a rough outline of timing.  The schedule is deceiving because lessons may only take 10-20 minutes and the rest of the time would be choice work time or finishing follow up work.

Language 10-11:30 M-F
Math 12:30-1:00 M-H
Other Subjects 1:00-2:30 M-H 
(Religion M-H, Science M, History T, Special Projects W, Geography H)

Each day I choose from a list of possible topic areas for Language, Math, & Religion and then find an activity from our books and materials or find something on the glorious internet to cover that topic area.  Often I will cover religion during language.  I often include a sensorial or practical life lesson for Kylee in place of math.  You may also notice that we only do morning school work on Friday.  This is a holdover from our time in Minnesota when we took every Friday off to go to our gym co-op.  We have been substituting with Friday field trips, play dates, and other special projects (such as 40 Days for Life).

Language Topics
Narration Practice
Reading Fluency
Reading Comprehension

Math Topics
Basic Facts
Problem Solving

Religion Topics
Liturgical Year (including Saints)
Family/Group Prayer
Our Catholic Faith/Catechism

Science (Unit Study/Montessori), Geography (Montessori), & History (Charlotte Mason/Story of The World) will continue the same as always.

For example, today during Language we are focusing on Vocabulary & Writing.  I made the portable word wall folder of Advent words and we will go over those as a group and then as follow up we will each draw pictures or draw & write sentences about Advent using new vocabulary words.   Kylee will draw a picture and then dictate a sentence to me, Caleb will draw a picture and write 1 sentence (first grade), Aidan will draw a picture and write 3 sentences (third grade).  When the boys are finished they will use our check your own writing rubric to evaluate (with help from me) the areas they need to improve their writing.

I'm quite sure it all sounds more complicated than it actually is.  In some ways, this is more of a checklist to make sure we cover everything in the course of a week than an actual plan.  I promise, my last planning method was much more complex and I felt like I was trying to reinvent the wheel each week!  I test drove this more family centered approach last week and Aidan declared it the best week of school he has ever had.  He keeps saying I am "going easy on him".

I don't know about easy on him, but definitely easier on me!


Olivia D {The Road to Poland} said...

I just have to jump in here once again and say how amazing your blog is. It has really helped me organize some thoughts and steered me towards some wonderful activities and printables. Today is no exception.Thank you!

Heidi said...

What a sweet comment! Thank YOU Olivia!

My Boys' Teacher said...

Heidi, I read this post yesterday. I was just reading someone else's blog today and it suddenly just popped in my mind how grateful I am for YOU and YOUR blog. I stopped back here to tell you that.

This particular post is particularly timely in regard to some posts that I have been writing but haven't published yet. Thank you for posting about this...it's really important to all of us.

Heidi said...

Thanks, I will look forward to reading what you have to say! I am always looking for new ideas especially from other moms who have been using Montessori for awhile.