As R is my eldest child, I feel that the planning I do for her home ed has to be done very well so that when her brothers reach the same age, my planning for them will be very minimal inshaAllah because its all been done before.
As I said in my last post, I have been planning and organising quite a bit. I find out next week if I passed this year of my English Language and Literature degree inshAllah. Although I get my open degree if I pass that year, I have decided to go for my honours in the degree and so my last year of part time studying will start this October. I think it will be the hardest year that I will study and so I want to have everything ready for home ed way in advance.
So here is what I have been doing which I hope will make a difference in the organisation and quality of our home ed for next year inshaAllah.
1. Knowing what I have
I find that I have resources at home that don’t get used, either because they are stashed away in a box, or lost in my saved files on the computer or a fantastic website that I completely forgot about. So, this year I made these:
Okay, so basically here is what I did:
– I made a list of every single resource I had under the following categories: Websites and links, Books and workbooks, Saved files on the computer, Hands on resources (this did take time but it was worth seeing what I have and what I completely forgot about!)
– After this, I popped over to WH Smith and bought coloured index cards. Each of the above categories was given its own colour. So, Yellow cards for websites, Green for books, Pink for saved files and blue for hands on resources.
– I then wrote down all the resources onto the cards dividing them into different subjects. All saved files for Math were written onto pink cards and all Geography saved files were written onto a separate pink card etc. For some subjects, I had quite a few coloured cards per category.
– After all of this was done, I took all yellow, green, pink and blue cards for one subject and fastened them together with a paperclip.
– I then wrote a key as you can see in the picture to remind me which colour corresponded to which type of resource.
The reason why I did all of this was because I want to vary the types of resources my children use during their study. I don’t want them to simply use workbooks for everything. And it also ensures that the fantastic resources that I sometimes save as PDF files or great websites don’t just sit there unused. I remember this year R wanted to learn about bees. We took one of her Collins Bee books and she read it. It wasn’t until I made these index cards that I realised I had an entire unit study on bees that I had saved onto my computer. We could have used this but I had forgotten that I had it. Now, when it comes to home ed next year, if she asks me she wants to learn about something or I am planning a topic or want to reinforce a math or English skill with something hands on, I can go to my index cards and look at what I have got. This makes me feel better organised and I feel that our home ed will include variety which I have realised is important for R.
2. Computer Files
Now, this might be obvious to most of you, but my saved documents in my computer were all over the place. Now that I had categorised all my saved files as above on the index cards, I then had to separate them in the same way on the computer. So now, when I find a saved lapbook, activity, unit study or experiment PDF on my index cards, I can easily go to the subject file that I created on the computer and find it easily.
3. Back Up!
I cannot tell you the amount of times that my computer has either crashed or one of the kids has ‘accidentally’ pressed a button which has deleted a file or two, or my favourites have just disappeared into cyber space! The stress I tell you! lol So, back up, BACK UP! Yup, I don’t have a hard drive that I can save everything on and most of my files are too big to fit on the space on my USB stick, so backed everything up on a DVD. And I’ll keep doing this every time I find a new file so that I don’t lose anything. I want to be able to use resources for future home educated children and also its good to share with others too.
4. Year 1 Notebook
If R was going to school in September, she would be entering Year 1. Although I’ve planned for Year 1, I have used resources that are both Year 1 and Year 2 level as she has already done a lot of Year 1 work last year. Again the beauty of home ed is that you can move according to the child’s level. This year, I am going to record our daily lists in a notebook so that when it comes to planning Z’s or baby Y’s home ed at Year 1 level I can look back and see what I did with R.
The above book will include my planning for both R and Z this year. I like this kind of book as it has dividers so I can quickly flip to R’s section, Z’s section or our new Quran curriculum (I’m so excited about our Quran curriculum which I am designing myself for next year inshaAllah – more about that in another post).
So, in this book I have the following:
– A lovely poem on the very first page (thanks Umm Salam) to remind me of my priorities. The poem says:
“I hope that my child
Looking back on today
Remembers a Mother who had time to play
Children grow up while you are not looking
There’ll be years ahead for cleaning and cooking
So hush now cobwebs, dust go to sleep
I am rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep”
(I changed the last line to ‘I am teaching my children, and children don’t keep.’)
– In section one of the book, I have listed R’s goals for next year; our weekly schedule for next year; the amount of pages when it comes to bookwork that roughly need to be completed in a day (this of course can be adjusted) and the order I am going to work through when it comes to certain resources per subject.
– In section two of the book, I have listed Z’s goals, and his weekly schedule (this is very very rough as he is still very young but I want to give him some quality time too inshaAllah)
– In section three, I have my Quran curriculum planned out.
5. One Place
And finally, I don’t want to have to search for any of my planning stuff for home ed, so all of the above and anything else related to planning is placed into one box file.
Now, all of the above might seem like a lot of work. It wasn’t really. But seriously, being organised for home ed in my opinion is essential especially as I have a toddler and a baby to look after at the same time. Can you imagine the nightmare of trying to find something for R to do or trying to find a resource for a project she wants to do whilst my 2 year old throws a tantrum and the baby is screaming for a feed! At least now everything is inshaAllah sorted and easy to find.
Please read these two excellent posts written by another sister on the same subject:
In my next post ‘Part 2’ I will discuss our plans in detail for the kids next year as well as tell you about that new exciting Quran curriculum. Jzk for reading. Hope you are enjoying your summer.