My Plan (ha ha) is to keep this short and sweet. As my Help for Growing Families topic has to do with homeschool planning, it, ahem, only applies to growing families that homeschool. Obviously. Just wanted to clear that up in case there was any confusion.
I've mentioned before how baby number six really derailed me. My life was going along, nice and predictable, and wham! My whole world was thrown up in the air and the dust is really just now settling. Right in time for baby number seven :o) And it wasn't Haven. He was/is an excellent napper, has a calm personality, and is generally a laid back little guy.
I think there were many things that contributed to the whirlwind that came along with the birth of sweet Haven, but one that I have finally identified was that my older kids' schoolwork was requiring more time, effort, and planning. Kindergarten, first, second, third grade, not such a big deal, I could kind of fly by the seat of my pants, but as my olders were getting older (you know you have a big(ish) family when you have olders, youngers, littles, big kids, little kids, first half, second half, etc.!), I was beginning to need to spend more time explaining, teaching, grading, planning, and identifying and dealing with weaker areas. Whereas I used to sit down on a weekend night, go over the prior weeks' work and plan the following week's work, (and it had worked beautifully up until this point,) it was no longer working. At all. I can claim exhaustion, busy-ness, poorly used time, etc. but regardless of the reason, it just wasn't happening. There were too many days when I had a whole line of kids clamoring around me asking me what they had to do today. Not to mention the preschooler, toddler, and baby that were just, well, clamoring.
Anyway, (why can't I ever keep things short!!) for quite a while I had planned on switching to year round schooling as it was just a better fit for our family. I'm the kind of homeschooling Mom that thinks outside play, especially creative play with siblings, has tremendous "educational" value, so on those beautiful spring and fall days and warm winter days when the kids long to be outside, I love for them to be able to go out. Not to mention that southern summers are too hot for much of anything, so it makes a great time for school. I don't know about you, but my kids get b.o.r.e.d. without structure to their days and something to do. We had loosely switched to schooling year round, but the planning thing was still getting to me. I needed a solution. One that worked.
So I came up with a plan. One that so far has been working out really well. It frees up a lot of time for me and works out great with a year round schedule.
My kids each have a school planner where I write out all their daily assignments. We've done this for awhile. (This would actually be my first tip.) That way they can look at each day and see clearly what is expected of them for that day. They mark off each thing as they complete it. No question about if they're done or not.
So I used to sit down, grade work, and write out "lesson plans" weekly. That's what wasn't working out so great anymore. There needed to be more daily oversight. Who wants kids adding improperly for an entire week before it's caught? Not such a good plan.
So this is the new plan. The one that works. I plan out six weeks at a time. And I go over work daily. Or at least every other day. That way, every day's asssignments consists of correcting the previous day's work, plus the new day's work. This allows me to see on a consistent basis what topics need more review and which concepts they are getting. That in turn allows me to tailor their daily assignments to better reflect their needs.
What is really nice about this plan is that every seventh week, we get a week off school, allowing me to catch up on house stuff, errands, and to plan the next six week's worth of school. We also get more time off at Christmas, about a month off in the summer, and there's plenty of time to take
I don't feel like doing school today days "sick" days or whatever you want to call them. It's also nice when I can get my aunt to come over and I can go out, sit down at Panera or somewhere and drink hot tea while spreading out all my stuff and doing my planning in peace.
So that would be my tip for growing families that homeschool. I'm not really sure how this will look as my kids get older and their work becomes really challenging, but maybe by then someone with older kids will have written a Help For Growing Families post for Growing Families that Homeschool Little Kids and Really Old Kids. :o)
And just so as not to add to that everyone else is a perfect homeschooler except me lie that I'm convinced every homeschool Mom believes, if you read my previous post, you would know that this time I procrastinated all week long and let the kids watch tv and then I feverishly planned everything out on Sunday, while scarfing down ridiculous amounts of candy. While
bribing paying my kids to clean the house. Just so we're clear here that plans are just, you know...plans. I don't want to be one of those homeschooling Moms that is an unattainable picture of perfection :o)