I said in the Monthly Planning post that I do my best work when I plan weekly. Over the years I have found that I am most likely to plan appropriately if I plan just enough for the week ahead of me. This allows me to take our family calendar into account, consider the weather, be mindful of our health and stress, and be responsive to the needs I am observing from the past week. Using those monthly planning pages as boundaries, I gather my planner, the kids’ school boxes, and a cup of tea, and settle into a time of prayer and reflection. I look over the work from the last week and consider any problems or successes we may have had. I study the schedule for the upcoming week and try to anticipate what we will need to honor our commitments and still get a good amount of school in. Then I dig into the boxes.
Each of my children has a simple assignment planner. A spiral notebook would work just as well. For personal reasons, we have these particular planners, but there is nothing special about them.
I divide my kids’ work into two categories: skill work and the humanities. Things like spelling, typing, and math are things that don’t involve my discernment – they just do the next thing. I don’t even need to record the lesson number – they just move forward.
For their study of humanities, I look over their work from the previous week and make sure that we are doing what we should be doing, that the work is rightly balanced, and that they are making the right kind of progress. In most cases, I just assign the same things as the week before. For my sixth grader, that means moving the bookmark forward one chapter per day. For my fourth grader, that means reading for fifteen minutes in each of her books. For my second grader, that means doing whatever we are able to do each day while keeping an eye on the requirements for his First Holy Communion preparation this year.
Many moms I know plot their kids’ work in their own teacher planners. I find that to be one step that I just don’t need to contend with. My kids’ planners are tidy and accessible to me and them. Instead, I have a column for each child in my teacher planner that functions as my to-do list for that child. I list the things that I need to supervise (typing), check (spelling test), or hear narrations on.
This side of the planner was a real treat for me… until we took a couple of weeks off from school. Since November of last year, I have been scheduling my reading, my Mother’s Morning Basket, in the first column. In the second column I was scheduling our Morning Basket work. In the third column, I was scheduling our Memory Work. I loved this. And then daddy was home for a couple of weeks and we weren’t doing school… and I was flummoxed. If I planned my MMB in the first column, I would waste the lesson planning pages! If I didn’t, where would I plan that reading!?
Ultimately I decided to move my MMB planning to my Day Designer. Since I use my DD every day no matter what, this works well for me. At the time of writing this post, I have not come up with a great plan for that now empty ECTP column.