I am eager to answer your dynamic reader’s questions because all of your questions are just the best. Too, I couldn’t wait to dig into answering this dynamic reader question if you need a homeschool planner if you are figuring out your own curriculum.
“I’m curious, do moms generally need planners if they are figuring out their own curriculum? I read so much about planners but I’m a little stymied…I’m just not sure how or why I would use one. I use a few different curriculi that pretty much map out exactly what we need to do (or I just decide, ie. math–4 pages per day kind of thing). We generally figure out at the start of the year which subjects need to be done however many times per week and we’ll write that down to reference until it’s memorized. I’m just wondering if I’m missing out on something important I should be doing?”
There are many reasons why you would use a planner and just as many ways deciding how to use it.
WHEN A HOMESCHOOL PLANNER ROCKS
Whether you are using one curriculum completely or making your own lesson plans, there are 3 reasons worth considering using a planner.
- When a Planner is more Journal than Planning. One feature of planners that is not given enough attention is the journaling or record keeping part of it.
In the beginning when I used a planner I was using more put together curriculum. Each day, I wrote down what we did for the day.
What we did for the day versus what was in the lesson plan often times ended up being totally different things. Some days, we did more and other days we struggled to complete even one lesson.
A huge advantage to plotting each of my children’s day was that a picture emerged of their strengths and weakness. For example, I could see how much one son was actually not completing in math because of his struggle with the subject.
In the future this know-how helped me to determine a pace good for him when I switched programs or when I started doing all my own lesson planning.
Little did I know that my journaling in the beginning would help me to not only keep a good pulse on what we were able to do each day, but to track my children’s progress.
- Completion versus Comprehension. That brings me to the second benefit I have received, which is understanding the difference between a child completing a lesson plan (in laid out curriculum or not) or comprehending.
When I used boxed curriculum, I started making notations on side margins in the teacher’s manual of what my sons struggled with and did not master or comprehend even though the lesson was completed.
The next year, I would hunt for those notes to reread because it was important to me to see if my sons were progressing.
However, as organized as I tried to be, it was tough to put my hands-on the correct teacher’s manual because of the numerous amounts of teacher’s manual that grew each year.
It was just too hard to keep everything from one year and not overflow with clutter.
I realized that having my notes for all my kids in one spot to jot down my concerns, write about my fears with tears, be specific in my notes about what was not understood in one subject and jump for joy when learning took giant steps forwarded was a must for me.
One book per year for all my children was a much more streamlined process because I could easily glance back at my thorough notes.
- Planner or Self-Checking Teacher Tool. My planner became a self-checking tool for me as a teacher because I could check for mastery and push myself, when needed, outside of my comfortable teaching zone because my notes were so clear.
I couldn’t blame anybody else for my lack of teaching ability because I had jotted down so carefully what didn’t work for my children.
The accomplishments in their learning can’t be minimized either because I jotted them down too.
Each year when I got discouraged, I would go back and read my notes. Part of my dogged determination to not returning to public school was reading about those tiny celebrations in my planner.
You know what I am talking about. Those light bulb moments for your children that are small but monumental and that only another teaching parent can understand. When a child reads his first word, then sentence, then paragraph, then chapter book, you can’t keep that excitement bottled up. For me, it started with reading my notes in my planner.
I didn’t need the approval of anybody else to homeschool because I wasn’t just checking off boxes on a teacher’s manual, I was tracking the progress of my sons from PreK to High school by daily journaling.
I can’t personally answer for each homeschooler what works best for them to see both a big picture and fine details when it comes to the progress of each child.
I just know what has worked for me and it is hard at times to just use the word planner because it implies that one is using a planner only for purposes of planning when in fact it can be so much more.
Whatever you decide, whether it’s using an app, typed out or hand-written, a planner should be a tool that fits your personality, brings a breath of fresh air to your day and should be molded to fit the way you want to track not just lessons, but forward momentum.
Hugs and love ya,
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