Scheduling Our Homeschool Year: Part 1


There have been lots of questions lately about how we schedule our homeschool day. With 6 kids schooling at home now it could be rather hectic, but its not. The grades I am leading this year are: 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 1st, and 1 is a freshman in college.


Here is how we do it, both ways…

Most of the calmness comes from my planning for the year in the summer. I make up a plan of study for each child before school begins and then use that to set up a hanging folder with the work I will require of them each month for the year.

If you have been following this blog then you may remember the post about how I plan out my year. Here is a link to that post.

That truly helps when I am getting the papers reading to go into the hanging folders.


Handling Paperwork to Send to the State…

Using the plans of study that I created for the state office, I collect all the papers I will have them do for the year in… let’s try MATH for an example.


If I was going to have my 1st grader to the following topics for the year:

  • Counting
  • Beginning Addition
  • Subtraction Facts
  • Measurement
  • Money

Then I would print up a page for each of these topics from the internet. I would collect each one of these pages and put a paperclip on them and put them in that childs hanging folder.

On the counting worksheet I would write September, and write October on the Basic addition worksheet, November on the Subtraction facts worksheet, December in the Measurement worksheet, and January on the Money worksheet.

When the month of December comes my 1st grader will do the Measurement worksheet (along with the worksheets for each of the other subject areas).

Each of the subject areas also have packets of pages printed up for them and I just have the children do the collection of pages that say December during the month of December.

This was I would have pages dated from throughout the year that correspond directly to the list of topic I stated I would do this year.


What do I do the rest of the month?

So when planning out my actual year for what the children will do from day to day my planning is different.

I still have the different subject areas and lets stick with MATH again just to keep things simple. We will also stay with the discussion of my First grader.

So, my First grader has done her packet for the month of December and now has the rest of the month do work on what?

During the summer I looked at what she had accomplished in her previous years math book and found that she was just under halfway through it. (In her case she had started the 1st grade ABeka Arithmetic book during her Kindergarten year so I had not planned on her being able to finish it.)


I know I want her to continue working on this workbook to completion. She has about 200 pages left. I plan on her doing about 20 pages a month to complete the book by the spring.

On my notes for her schoolwork I write: Math 20 pages a month

If she did not do well in math I would have her do less, but she loves math, math comes easy to her, and she loves working in workbooks. So, the plan stands.


What about an older child or one that has a tough time in Math…

Lets take another child. This child does not find that math comes as easy to him. He did not finish his 6th grade math book last year. This year the goal for him was to finish that book and then start the 7th grade book.

This would normally mean doing about 5 lessons a week but it takes him longer to complete a lesson due to math being not a subject he finds easy. So for him I have him do 3-4 lessons a week but sometimes less if he seems to be having a difficult time.

We use Saxon math for the older children and the 1st grader will eventually be doing Saxon math also. My 7th grader is working through Saxon 6/5  right now and thankfully is almost finished. (affiliate link)


So on his plan I wrote: Finish Saxon 6/5 start Saxon 7/6 try to get to lesson 60 (which is halfway through the book). For him no number of lessons are listed but maybe this year math will click with him and he will whizz right through the book, you never know.

For me it’s not that they finish a certain book in a certain year, but that the child understands the material. He will make it into Algebra 2 and complete it but it may just take a while.

Hoping that was a bit helpful. It really is just taking the child from where they are and looking ahead to see what you think they are able to accomplish in a year and writing it down. Around the middle of the year, evaluate and see, is your child going to accomplish what you have on your list. If not, was your list to huge or is the child having trouble with a concept and you should slow down for a bit.


Monday Musings

Plans for the week ahead

Can’t believe it actually looks like a slow week this week. We only have Co-op classes today, Ice Skating tomorrow, and Bible study Wednesday. We have the November packets of schoolwork to finish this week. The main focus this week is making a video for a contest the kids found.

This weekend they started with talking about all the movies they wanted to make. I finally said to them that they just needed to do it! I told them they could have a good chunk of time this week to work on one if they could find a contest to enter. There would have been 4 movies being worked on if they didn’t have a main goal ūüôā So, they found one and are having a planning session today and start filming tomorrow afternoon.

Thinking about

I was able to finish up neatening up the hallway upstairs. I still need to organizer it. I have containers to spray paint to match each other. I bought the spray paint and have the containers (in varying colors). The containers will go below each child coat and snow pants. The containers are to hold that particular¬†child’s ice skates, hats, gloves, and helmet for skating. Trying to cut down on the number of hats, gloves, and mittens around the house and get the hallway organized.

Out of doors

Brrr, it has been so chilly overnight. Tomorrow looks like a perfect afternoon to get outside and do some filming ūüôā

In the kitchen

Hmmm, what to do, what to do… We have so much time home this week. Trying to use the oven and get the house warmed up on these chilly days. Lot’s of cookies being made. Thinking we should change our focus to muffins and quick breads to have in the mornings for breakfast. Love to make these in bulk with our commercial size muffin trays that hold¬†2 1/2¬†dozen muffins. That should kill two birds: warm up the house and have breakfast all set.

A photo from last week….

This weekend we had a great time just hanging out with some friends after church. Here is a¬† cute picture of both¬†of our family’s¬†youngest children.















Hope you have a wonderful week!

Monday Musings

Plans for the week ahead

We are doing the Muscular System this week in co-op which should be fun. There are a lot of fun experiments to try ūüôā Ice skating starts this weeks which is also the same day as Soccer for just this one week, busy but exciting. Apiary field trip on Wednesday. Looks like nice big chunks of schoolwork days this week, awesome! We are hoping to work on wood burning for art this week. We have the supplies except the word burning tool. In the organizing of the craft room I still have not found this tool. Hoping to find it this week.

Thinking about

I bought fabric last week for a couple summer dresses for Princess and a night gown for her. I might start these. I also have an idea for a sewn advent calendar that I am still forming in my head. I need to finish organizing the craft room before sewing. I am close but not done yet. (updates on this progress will be here: Crazy8 Gets Organized)

Out of doors

We still need to finish up the bulkhead before the snow. Not sure if that will work this week with the weather forecast ūüė¶ The horses fencing needs repair and that will be first priority for this week.

In the kitchen

My goal this week is to try a new soup each day and bake a loaf of bread to go with it. This is huge for me because I always think I don’t have time for this kind of thing. Planning my menu today and will let you know how it goes.

A photo from last week….

We had a wonderful time at the Natural Science Museum this week. Here is a cute picture from our day. It was cold but we learned a lot about birds.

Natural Science Museum
Collector & Princess at the Natural Science Museum

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Week in Review & Planning Field Trips

Princess at the Fire Department Field Trip

This was an awesome homeschooling week. We got so much accomplished. Lots of academics and also some other fun stuff.
Our field trip this week got cancelled so I thought I would highlight planning field trips in this post. First, our week in review:

  • Church & Business Mtg
  • Digestive System Co-op
  • Homeschool Choir
  • Career Readiness Co-op – Writing a Resume
  • Breastfeeding Support Group Meeting
  • Online Computer Classes at the library
  • Bible Study
  • Skeletal System Review Worksheets
  • Workbooks
  • Easy Peasy Online School (my review of this curriculum here)
  • Blogging, of course
  • Director got & started¬†a bi-weekly¬†editing job with local TV station
  • Open Gymnasium time with the Homeschool Group
  • Natural Science Museum
  • Kids Carnival tomorrow

It sure seems like more when I list it like that. Ok, planning field trips next.

Planning Homeschool Field Trips

Our family plans most of the field trips for our homeschool group. Our group wasn’t¬†doing many field trips when we started attending this group years ago. I decided that if I wanted field trips to happen I was going to have to do it myself. Here is the process.

First I decide what my children would be interested in doing for a field trip. I look at what we will be studying that year. In 1st grade I usually do a “Community Workers” type of lesson so if I have a child going into 1st grade I will gear my field trips towards those occupations. I also ask my kids which ones they liked from last year and also if there are any they have thought of that they would like to do. I also ask them if there are any they would prefer to never do again ūüôā¬†I make up a list of all the prospective field trips and what specific businesses would be called if we choose to do that field trip.

Then I ask around and see who would like to go on a field trip. I¬†usually ask¬†via email or during the monthly meeting or I just ask my friends that homeschool. I have found that to have a business host a field trip they like to have a group of people to make it worth their while. There are 8 of us and I can usually find at least 2 more people to join us for any given field trip. Most places require or ask for a group of at least 10 people for them to take the time to host a field trip. We have just gone with only our family, but still 8 is a pretty good size group. I don’t usually narrow my list down by these inquires into who would like to attend. But if your family is not as large as ours¬†you may have to narrow the list down to field trips that have at least 10 people interested.

Once I know I have the 10 or so people that would commit to go I start to call and schedule the field trips with the different businesses. Usually people say they will go but you end up with about 2/3 of those people actually going, just a heads up, I usually call to schedule anyway.

The process of scheduling:

  • I have a calendar printed up in front of me with our families major commitments on it like: homeschool co-op, appointments I can’t change, church commitments, sport commitments, etc. I also list things that¬†the majority of the things that the homeschool group will be doing like: open gym time, meetings, other events, etc. I figure that trying to host a field trip during the time that kids would normally be at say a soccer game¬†might be a hard sell when asking for family participation in the field trip. Also, the families might be a little miffed that their child wanted to go do both events¬†but I scheduled it during that time.
  • In front of me I also have an open email or Word document ready for me to type in the information so I can send it to the group when I am finished my calls.
  • I have made a list of the places of business for each field trip¬†and phone numbers. When I call I write down the contact persons name, their direct line, and any specifics they give me like: no more than 25 people, no kids under 3yo, no open toed shoes, etc.
  • I almost always schedule field trips for Wednesday mornings. Why do I do this? I have no idea. Whenever I call I look down at my calendar and that is usually the only day free. It looks like it would fit nicely in the middle of the week. I really have no idea why I schedule them mainly on Wednesdays. But you should have some idea what day you would like to go on your field trips¬†because the contact person will ask you, “When would you like to come?” I usually give the a list of the next ¬†3 Wednesdays that are available. I also suggest to them¬†that we usually do field trips in the mornings. Sometimes we have done them on different days and in the afternoon but for the most part they are on Wednesdays and in the morning hours.
  • I set up with them¬†the date, time, and special requirements for that¬†field trip OR I leave a message. In the message I say, “I would like to set up a school field trip to your place of business,” and leave my contact info and sometimes possible dates for the field trip. Some people still do not know what homeschooling is but they understand if I say “school field trip” so I usually word it that way.¬†Leaving a message is kind of a pain because I was hoping to set everything up right then when I call. I am appreciative that they are willing to host the field trip but waiting for that return phone call can¬†take weeks.
  • In my email or Word document that I have¬†open¬†I list: the date and time of the field trip or¬†I if I haven’t gotten ahold of anyone I write TBD or “left message waiting to hear back” just so the other families know that¬†it is in the works.
  • In the email to the homeschoolers I also ask that whoever is interested in coming to the field trip to let me know that they are interested.
  • As emails and texts come in from the homeschoolers interested,¬†I start a list of people wanting to attend. Some field trips only allow 25 people so when I hit that number I don’t stop, I continue adding names till I get to 30 because I know some won’t show up on that day, happens every time. BUT the opposite can happen. I have had field trips where people just showed up without telling me and we were way over our number allowed. The business still let us have the field trip but had to split us into two groups and it was hard to reschedule with that bank again. So try and emphasize nicely that you need to know who will be attending.
  • When I have reached my limit for field trip participants I send out an email stating that that particular field trip is full.
  • I also set up an automatic calendar update to come through the group to remind them that the field trip is coming up.
  • The day before the field trip I call and remind the business that we will be coming.
  • The day of the field trip I try and be the first ones there.¬†This¬†is not always the case but I try. I find my contact person and let him/her know we are here.
  • I thank them at the end of the field trip for letting us come.
  • I try and remember to send a thank you note to them for allowing us to come. I am terrible at remembering this. Not sure why it is that way. I very much appreciate all they do/did but I totally forget. But you (and I)¬†should send a thank you of some kind.

Here is a list of the field trips we have taken in the past just to get your thoughts going on what you could do:

  • Library
  • Statehouse
  • Transfer Station
  • Community Television Station
  • Waste Water Treatment Plant
  • Bank
  • State Police
  • Hospital
  • Buses
  • Natural Foods Co-op
  • Fire Department
  • Recycling
  • Apiary
  • Animal Shelter
  • Food Shelf
  • Farm
  • Dairy Farm
  • Stable
  • Post Office
  • Newspaper
  • Veterinarian
  • Town Office

Here are some pictures from our Fire Department Field Trip last week.

Checking out the Trucks
All Suited Up
Listening to the Chief
Our Group
Explaining the Equipment
Tech, Director, Artist, and two friends checking out the Fire Truck
Listening Intently
Fun on a Fire Truck
What does a fireman wear and why.
Everyone loved going in the fire trucks
Collector checking out the Fire Truck
fire all
Our Group
fire truck
Our Group again

Monday Musings

Plans for the week ahead

For this week: Skeletal System Co-op class Monday; soccer Tuesday; Field Trip to the Apiary on Wednesday; Natural Sciences Museum Friday (a friend gave us tickets); and Free Kids Carnival Saturday. Looks like we will be doing a good chunk of sit down schoolwork this week. Still working on fencing in the ducks this week and building a shelter for them.

Thinking about

In our state we have to report our progress at the end of each school year. I never like to be searching at the last minute for what to send in. This week I am focusing on making sure I have a paper I could send into the state in each of the required subjects. That means I need a paper from Math, Language Arts, Science, Health, Art, History, and Health for each of my school age children. I believe I am all set for Septembers work. I just need to have a page for each of them from this month.

Out of doors

We will be having an outing to the Natural Science Museum on Friday which should be a treat. We have bulbs to plant and more brussel sprouts to pick. Soccer may be cold and too wet to do this week.

In the kitchen

We ended up making pumpkin pie (Tech made this) and potato and corn chowder (Mechanic made this) to bring to the Barn Dance on Saturday. Also, we were given about 25 lbs of meat in exchange for harvesting grapes so I need to figure out what is in there and organize the upright freezer again.

A photo from last week….

There were so many pictures form this week it was really hard to choose…. Here is Tech with his best friend this week when we carved pumpkins.


Monday Musings

Plans for the week ahead

For this week:¬†Digestive System Co-op class Monday; soccer & Princess’s dentist appt.¬†Tuesday; Pumpkin Carving @ nursing home, Tech’s dentist appt,¬†& Fire Department Field Trip¬†on Wednesday;¬†dh Dr apt Friday; and Homeschoolers Barn¬†Dance Saturday.¬†Looks like we will be doing sit down schoolwork on¬†5 mornings this week including a small bit on Saturday. Working on fencing in the ducks this week and building a new shelter for them. The craft room organizing is ready for the next step.

Thinking about

My oldest daughter Gallop and her husband are expecting their first child in May. I would like to sew a layette for them. I need to look at what I have for patterns and figure out which on to do. I would like to only sew useful things for them but also a couple just cute things. They will be finding out what they are having so that will help with picking the material color out.

Out of doors

It looks like a beautiful week this week except for Monday. Hoping to focus on finishing up the bulkhead repairs before winter sets in. We have a friend who is willing to let us use a backhoe to finish the job. Maybe this is a good week for that.

In the kitchen

It will be chilly out this week so maybe a few soups will be on the menu. I know for class tomorrow I am planning on making edible intestines, sounds gross, but should be yummy. Also, on Saturday is the Homeschool Barn Dance and we need to bring soup or chili to that for the pot-luck part.

A photo from last week….

Here is a photo from out our front door. We sure do live in a beautiful part of the country.

Isaiah 66:2 “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”