Planning Our Curriculum

If no one has noticed I’m a planner.  I love planning our curriculum.  Nothing like a nicely ordered book shelf to increase my happiness levels.

20150828_2

 

I’m a firm believer in the adage ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’.  However, I believe a good home ed plan (for us) needs flexibility, needs to, in practice, feel relaxed, spontaneous and unplanned.  I ask a lot!

I have no doubt children learn best when they are leading and shaping the way so Sam’s opinion and my experience of what works for him are the most important considerations.  But I believe there are some essential skills and knowledge children need to learn to have doors open to them and that life is easier with a certain level of general knowledge/cultural literacy.   Pretty much anything can be boring or interesting depending on the presentation, my job is to make as much as possible engaging to Sam.

My key starting points:

We need variety; short lessons and a range of style of resources.

With a good routine things feel effortless, routine is important but it needs to be flexible enough to absorb illness/days out etc.

Have a small set of achievable goals.  Keep these very realistic.  Plan beyond them, aim for more but don’t get disheartened if you don’t keep up.

Prep ahead!  In term time I need things to just tick along. The more I’ve prepped the more we manage to do.  But not too far, as it’s easier to jettison things not working if you haven’t spent hours prepping.

Alongside the one above be organised.  Place for every thing and every thing in it’s place.

Question the educational value of all resources you use and adapt as needed.  Is there any benefit to writing something down when they can say it?  Is there any point in continuing doing practice sums at maths when they’ve obviously grasped the idea?

Year Goals

Bold = First level priority, italics= second level, text = that would be nice if we can fit it in 🙂  In terms of judging success at the end of the year, failure on first level priority is a ‘should I consider school’ response, failure on second level says tweaking to approach/resources needed

Overall numeracy and literacy remain main concerns but start decreasing importance and increasing focus on science/humanities.  

Start to encourage more writing across the board as prep for KS3 but make sure it is meaningful.

Continue building basic literacy, more work on grammar and vocabulary

Maths – no learning objectives at all, build confidence and make fun

Languages – Latin and Spanish – build up vocab, continue with discipline of regular practice

Some Science reading and activity every week.  Focus on consolidating knowledge.  Have a scrapbook to show at end of year.

History and Geog – don’t let projects drift.  Reduce number of field trips to allow more time for other aspects to get better balance.

Do more group socialising.  Less individual.  Reduce demands on time and guilt levels.

Work through programming books

Regular exercise

Learn about the stories behind diff religions.

Read aloud regularly

Works of diff artists

More time for walking/outdoors

Routine

We don’t have a timetable as such.  We have a rhythm and a routine to our weeks and days.  Always a new one for a new year as we tweak the social side.

Our core basics (Maths, English, Languages and reading basket) I plan to a four day week.  The four days might be a different four days week by week to accommodate trips/events/mood.  I do allocate dates on a planner to individual tasks for Maths and English to try and make sure we progress along at a reasonable pace but this is very much a guide and I plan by week rather than by day.  I plot in catch up weeks every now and again at times I suspect we might have got a bit behind.  Plus try and have a very light schedule for the last half term as June is always a hayfever blur.

Year schedule (note this is a work in progress, waiting to see how somethings work before planning further)

It works best to get up and get on with core work first thing and ideally finished by 10.30.  Leaving rest of time clear for the more hands on/going out stuff.

We try and have a couple of regular social things on the calendar and everything else gets slotted in around those and one off events.  Aiming for 2 days a week that are ‘ours’ (no regular commitments) this year.

It’s hard to explain but I have a mental priority list of how things slot in.  I tend to over plan so when I look at science or project plans I know we probably won’t get through all of it but I have in my mind the most important.  What is most important will change as we go based on previous work.

Diary then gets done on a week by week basis.  I don’t use a proper diary, use a notebook instead for flexibility.  Start off with dates on the calendar and idea of regular events.  Then on one page of notebook have a list of the core tasks for English and Maths.  Then Science, project, RE.  Then have a column for carried overs.  Finally a list for extra ideas and at the bottom anything needed to be done for future prep or collected for that week.  On the opposite page have the days and allocate things to days as I can.  This is new approach so very much work in progress.  Will sometimes allocate stuff on day by day basis so we have a lot of flexibility.

20150828_3

 

Details on individual plans can be found on the below links.

Maths

English

Languages

History/Geography

Science

Art

Other Stuff

2 thoughts on “Planning Our Curriculum”

  1. I feel ashamed looking at this! Did you always plan like this even when your children were smaller? Does it get easier to plan as they get older, and as you get more experienced as a home educator?

    I’m having a bit of a wobble at the moment. J would have been moving up to KS2 next week and has seen a few old classmates during the summer. It’s tough having an ‘old class’ who are learning things, often different things to us, and trying not to compare whilst knowing that others are doing just that.

    I’m going to try to give this a bit more thought and see whether setting some more tangible goals might help us too. I’ve read your planning posts with lots of interest. x

  2. I’ve only really planned so much in the last few years.
    When they were under 7 we’d aim for some maths and a bit of handwriting/reading most days. By 7 we had about 2/3 success rate. Everything else was more ad hoc.

    Jack was a lot easier than Sam in a way. He liked the Galore Park books so we didn’t need a plan really, he just trotted through them. The only planning needed was every now and again check what he needed for science and arrange a few trips to spice up history.

    It is more situation that makes me plan. With the restrictions of one in school we have become 9-3, term time only HEers. I tried to go the opposite at first and let Sam be completely autonomous it was a disaster! He just became stressed, Moody and weepy. The social side outside the family became much more important with only one at home. It was the need to make sure we had balance between social and education that prompted planning.

    Mostly I plan because I know I need to have things to hand to keep Sam’s interest and it is easier to organise and prep over the summer when we’re on ‘holiday’. Things need to feel effortless during termtime for both of us.

    Yes definitely easier to plan with experience. I’ve nearly 10 years experience of failure and wobbles behind me, plus decent knowledge of resources available and what we like and don’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *