Happy First Day of Homeschool 2015

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This is of course a roll-out start.  We have friends who started already, those who never stopped, and those who won't start for some time yet!  For us, however, today is our first official day back.  All week I will be sharing bits of our plan for this year and count on homeschool being back in the rotation for regular posting.


Starting a new year requires a lot of planning and preparation on the part of mom (usually mom).  Be sure to check out these posts from the archives on preparing for fall.  (Hint, the mom post is one of my all time favorites...I re-read it to reminder myself.)

Preparing for Fall: Materials
Preparing for Fall: Environment
Preparing for Fall: Mom

One of my largest jobs each fall is the creation of whatever planner or organizer the kids and I are going to use each year.  My thoughts on work plans versus lesson plans and how it all ties into my blended adaptation of Montessori have flip flopped so many times even I can't keep track.  There are advantages to both and ultimately I have come to realize that with multiple students (now 4!) across a variety of ages (K- 7th this year!) there is simply no way that I can keep it all in my head.

This year for Logan, who is not yet reading but is an "official" student, I made a planner with a blank calendar for each month with a few activities behind each calendar to supplement his lessons and build fine motor skills (which are still a struggle for him).  For example, tracing/cutting activities, printing practice, and a few pre/early reading activities.  These aren't meant to be his curriculum (more on that Friday), just to give him something that is "his".  None of his pages use my template, they were printed from Enchanted Learning.

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The older boys are using entirely my planner pages.  They have several types of pages such as subject planning records, music practice notes, daily checklists, memory work records, and a bible study log. I took the time to custom date the weekly checklists and include a few specific special events and breaks.  The subject planning records will be used as written records of their individual work in history, geography, science, and religion.  The entire planner will go with the music lessons for recording assignments from their teachers there.  The weekly checklists have core subjects written in to be checked off daily and space to record additional activities as well.  On school days the rule is no screen time until everything is checked off.

We are also instituting a new "no one is finished until everyone is finished" motto that will apply to both school and chores.  We've been trying it out on chores this past week and it does seem to be encouraging the older ones to help the younger ones rather than sit around and complain about how they (the littles) never help.  Tim is worried that it will encourage rushing, but we don't usually have that problem here (too badly anyway) so I'm hopeful it won't.  So far so good.

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Kylee is not quite into the full independent direction stage that the older two boys have reached so her planner is a combination of pages from their planner and activities like Logan's.  She has weekly checklists, memory work record, and music practice logs that are the same.  Since she is preparing for First Reconciliation and First Communion, she also has weekly religion activities and saint coloring pages behind each week.  The coloring pages were printed from Catholic Playground and the rest of the activities are linked up to my First Reconciliation and First Communion Pinterest boards.  I am sure I will be adding to these activities, but now I am absolutely sure that we will do this every week even without a formal curriculum because SHE will make sure I remember!

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The kids look forward to the new planner each year and can't wait to see what I come up with for them.  They stalk my office counter to track the progress through printing and assembly.  I will admit I don't feel quite as warm and fuzzy about the task as they do, but after this many years I have planner pages that are roughly what I want and I only do a bit of tweaking each year.   This year, I have compiled the student planner pages into one document available in my Teachers Pay Teacher store.  I am hoping to have my mom planner pages up soon, but compiling and formatting takes a bit of time and as of when I'm preparing this post, I don't quite have that task finished.

Stay tuned this week as I share our goals for this school year, along with our specific curriculum plans (including how these planners will be more specifically used)!

This post was shared on Montessori Monday @ Living Montessori Now.

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