My hope is to have our entire school year planned out by the middle of June (this includes any photocopies, research, etc.). I know this may seem a little overboard to some of you of reading this, but I can assure you that all of this makes my life so much easier! By being organized it helps to make the kids school days and learning go more smoothly and allows me time to spend with my husband, family, friends or just to relax on the weekends (and I have no nagging sense that I have to get something related to school done). At the end of each week I simply pull out the folder for the next week and I am ready for Monday because I spent the time now to map it all out. If you have any questions please feel free to ask me.
Normally I would spend the majority of our summer vacation putting together our upcoming school year. Since our family is venturing out into the year round homeschooling world next school year I have been busy after school and on weekends starting to pull together our upcoming school year (which begins in July). I am very organized and there is a reason to my madness. Over the past 5 years, through pure trial and error, I have used many different sorting and organizing systems, as well as planners. This past year I FINALLY found my stride and what works best for me.
In my pull out drawer of our computer desk I have hanging file folders with each month of the year. I use these file folders to help keep myself organized with Holiday and themed materials. All year long I cannot tell you how many times I stumble across a great idea or printable. This way I can just print it and place it in the folder for the month that I would like to use it for the following school year. In this drawer I also keep my homeschooling materials wish list , science forms , book report forms , ideas for next school year, random art projects as well as any important school forms from the current and past years.
Turning to my right I find one half of my planning lifeline, my file cabinet. I have a file folder for each week of school (and I number it so that I can keep track to easily find a week). Inside of every week folder you will find a detailed weekly lesson-planning page, list of materials needed for the week, and any printables. When I am on the current week I have everything needed in that folder and I can easily find and access it during the school year.
The only glitch that I hit last year was placing my lesson planning pages in each individual weekly folder. While this did definitely work I did find that I was constantly trying to look ahead to figure out what were we going to be doing in 1 week, 1 month, etc. I decided this coming school year to do something similar but keep all of my lesson planning pages, books to request from the library, notes, and so on in a binder. I hope it will make it much easier to look ahead to see what’s on the horizon. This is now the second half of my planning lifeline.
Our lesson planning pages have changed since last year. I have customized this free printable that I found HERE (it’s the plain and basic calendar). The top of the square is for our daughter and the bottom is for our son. Then I created a space at the bottom of the page to note any books or materials that I need for that week of lessons.
We are still using our workboxes, but not in the same way as previous years. The kids and I are basically using them to keep ourselves organized each day. We do not use them as independent workboxes but rather to keep the kids daily textbooks and assignments in one location (this does help prevent things from getting lost).
How far in advance do you plan your lessons/school year?