Friday, January 16, 2015

How I don't PLAN homeschooling with my Erin Condren Planner- Teacher Planner

I see the question often: "How do you plan out your week for homeschooling?", " What kind of planner do you use?", "Do you plan?", "How to plan for homeschooling".  Here's my easy answer: I DON'T!!!  (anymore) Shocking huh??  Let me explain:

I am not really a plan everything out kinda girl, not in my recreation life, not in our homeschooling 
(not anymore) .  I used to plan.  I used to sit for hours and write out every chapter and exercise and reading list we were going to do that week.  But honestly, I didn't like to plan BECAUSE.....if I didn't  finish everything I had planned, it made me feel bad.  I feel like we didn't accomplish anything that week and the panic would set in.  But truth be told, we did a lot of learning, just not what I PLANNED on teaching that week.  What happens if I plan to get through 2 chapters of our Story of the World history curriculum but we only do one chapter because the boys were so interested in studying more about nomads?  Maybe we used our time instead of reading a second chapter in our book, we researched nomad tribes of the amazon?  What if the boys asked me how the nomads move from place to place?  We did more research.  What if they wanted to know what happened to the nomad's houses when they moved?  We did more research.  What if they want to know more about the day and life of a nomad?  Is it wrong to do more research?  Is it wrong to satisfy their curiosity? Absolutely not!  They were learning.  They were understanding.  They were processing the information and even coming up with more questions!  Homeschooling Success!!!!  This is one of the reasons we chose to homeschool.  We can dive deeper into a subject that interests us.  We can go down the "rabbit hole". We can skim over those that don't interest us!  For example:  my boys hate snakes.  Hate them.  Period.  When our Sassafras Adventures book got to Cobra snakes, my boys wanted to skip it.  We did review it.  But we didn't research it.  We moved quickly on.....thankfully!  (oh, I don't like snakes either).  But when we were learning about lions, Jesse asked me what a wildebeest was- one of lion's favorite foods.  Off to research we went!!!  Jesse (and Owen came back in to watch) watched wildebeest migrations, wildebeest life
 cycle.  We had an afternoon of research- all from ONE question!
This was a change of thought process for me, a change of attitude for me!  I don't need to plan everyday.  I needed to foster what my kids were naturally doing, on their own, learning!  I started writing what we did each day.  When it was all wrote in the planner, I was amazed at what we DID each day!  SUCCESS!!! Less stress for my kids and me!  This was life changing for me!!!  FREEDOM!!! :)  
So....the question comes up: How DO you use your Erin Condren planner in homeschooling then?
I use the teacher planner.  And yes, I do use it.  How?? If I don't plan?
I have two Erin Condren planners.  I use the teacher version- one for each child per year.  I am homeschooling only two of my three kids- so I only have two planners.  Each day, I write down what we actually DO!!!  By writing what we accomplish each day, I can look back and feel GOOD about what we did that day.  I don't look at it and see all the things we didn't get to!  We study: math, reading, phonics, grammar, handwriting, writing, history, science, and current events.  We don't get to everything everyday but we do cover them each week.  I would say my only goal would be math and reading everyday.  Beyond that, we work with the other subjects as they fit in.  Some days, history is a quick lesson.  Other days, it turns into more research!  Our planners show our progress.  I reference them throughout the day.  I make notes in them- sometimes my note is- DO GRAMMAR tomorrow since it is Thursday and we didn't get to it yet that week! (it happens!)  Sometimes my notes have a website that I found that I want the boys investigate more.  It is each child's portfolio of what work they have done.  I don't have to question, where are we at in a book?  What chapters have we done?  It is all in my Erin Condren  planner!  
This year I got each boy their own planner (I used one planner last year, one page for each child).  I found that it wasn't enough for my notes or to keep track of everything they were doing.  One planner for each child is working much better this year.  

And I even decorate my planners with some wash tape....just for fun!!!

Another thing that is great thing about the Erin Condren teacher planner is that it has a built in checklist section.  I use this section for our attendance record.  It makes it very neat and organized to have each child's information in one book for the year.  
Hope this helps someone with their planner.

This is the front of one of the planners- I did custom planners for each kid, they seem to like having their name on their own planner!
If you would like to order a planner, you can use my reference link for $10 off your order:
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  1. Michelle, I have an EC teacher's planner right now. I love the pages you share, but what about all the rest of it? There is a lot more to that planner that I feel like I am wasting!

  2. I use my other pages for notes: including websites that we use or that I want to visit, resources, ideas, book lists. I use the check list as a school day tracker.


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