Secular Thursday: Planning and Pre-Planned

I've spent the last three or four days immersed in lists, planning for next year. I have our actual curriculum determined, and will be placing the last necessary orders tomorrow. What I didn't have determined was all of the real books that we use. We use real books for literature, somewhat obviously, and history, too, but also science, art, and music, depending on the topic at hand.

My first item of business was to finalize what books to use for history for both EG and FB. There are a few that will overlap - thank you, David Macaulay! - but overall, EG is ahead of the curve enough that resources that are appropriate for her are just too much for a kindergartener, even a bright and inquisitive one. Which, of course, meant two lists.

As I approached the third or fourth hour of looking up books and eliminating those that were out of print, I reflected upon the fact that while it seemed somewhat like drudgery, I did enjoy it, for the most part. We very briefly tried a pre-planned curriculum when EG preschool-age, and I tweaked it mercilessly. Pre-planned just doesn't work for us.

However, it's a good thing that I enjoy planning, because if I wanted a pre-planned package, I would have considerable difficulty finding one to suit our needs.

If you are more conservative Christian, there are a number of pre-planned package programs using a variety of styles. There's Sonlight, of course, and Winter Promise, My Father's World, and Heart of Dakota. While not quite as packaged, there's also Tapestry of Grace.

If you want something a little more nonsectarian, you have approximately one choice, in terms of pre-scheduled guides: History Odyssey. It, however, is not a package as such, as you need to collect the various resources separately, which makes it perhaps a better analogue for a program such as Biblioplan.

As I said, I like this process - dividing up our spine text, partitioning the assigned reading, developing the written assignments to correspond with it. Even when I'm frustrated, I like lining up our literature to more or less correspond to what we're studying in history. So the lack of an appropriate program doesn't affect me very much. I suspect there are those out there for whom it does, however.

Sometimes I consider making my own schedules pretty, and making them available inexpensively as a pdf. I don't have a good sense of average reading speeds, though, much less average anything else. The plans I make end up being customized not just for our family, but for each particular child. So, in general, I lean towards making them available for free, so that the next homeschooling parent can use and tweak upon my foundation. I don't claim to be anything but organized. That said, some samples can be found at Scribd, and I'm happy to email those files which are not posted in their entirety.

And now I've got to get back to plotting out art & music appreciation. ;)


Daisy said...

Same here. I enjoyed HOD but it was actually too conservative for me in regards to avoiding mythology, mention of other religions, etc.

I've bought the complete package twice (HOD & MFW) and both times, I wound up tweaking it to death. We just like to do our own thing too much.

Though I am still in love with the notebook that comes with HOD. Might have to buy it and use it anyway. LOL. Going to check out your samples.

Bobbi (mylittlesoapbox) said...

I think this next year is going to be a challenge for me. Carving out the time to plan our days is one of my biggest challenges. It is just too easy for my dear husband to forget to actually occupy the children so that I may focus. So I was very much haphazard this year. I give thanks for my massive spreadsheet so I could at least reference that!

I plan on having a daily sheet for each boy this next year because they like seeing what needs done and I liked having the ability to simply move a sheet forward if we took the day off. But a years worth of school days times two is daunting for me! I believe I was lulled into a false sense of planning when i could put them both on a single sheet of paper for a week. Heh.

Crunchy Mama said...

This is totally the time of year I knock out the general plan for next school year too. I always end up having to spread my shopping out over several months though to cushion the blow to the budget. It's actually a form of masochistic torture to wait to purchase and then page through resources in little chunks.

Does pre-packaged stuff work for anyone really? Or is everyone I "know" just too cool for it?

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