I have been working really hard planning our upcoming school year. We will be completing Heart of Dakota‘s (HOD) 5-7 year old curriculum Little Hearts for His Glory (LHFHG). We planned it over 2 years so we are entering our second year with this curriculum. There will be 2 parts to this post. The first part will just be a brief schedule and curriculum plan and the second part will be a more in depth description of how I planned. Now I must post a disclaimer first. HOD’s curriculum is meant to be a pick up and go. There really is not a lot of planning involved BUT I am a planner and I have an insatiable appetite to plan and organize and make things cater to our needs so I have a hard time just opening and going. So none of this is required if you are deciding whether or not to pick HOD in your homeschool year. Just know you can just open and go and you will have a great time!!
Kids of Integrity
LHFHG – History
LHFHG – Rhyme
LHFHG – Alternating Activity
LHFHG – Motor Skills
LHFHG – Math
LHFHG – Phonics
LHFHG – Storytime at Lunch
LHFHG curriculum is arranged in boxes on the page so you can really put it into practice in whatever order you want. I am a list maker and boxes don’t work for me so I created a daily schedule list so we can just work our way top to bottom and cross off as we go. If the task does not have LHFHG in front of it then those are the “add ins” I have put into our schedule to fit the needs/wants of our family.
Right now our weekly plan is Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are school days at home. Tuesdays my oldest, who will turn 6 in October, will be in a homeschool enrichment day at a local school district. Thursdays every other week is our field trip day and we will go to either the zoo or museum. The Thursdays of the off week will be another regular school day at home. So we will have 3 or 4 days of LHFHG which is similar to last year and why we chose to complete the curriculum over 2 years. Side note: It was hard for my organizational brain to be okay with spreading the Unit plans over a couple of weeks. HOD is organized into 5 days per 1 Unit and now we are doing Days 1, 2 and 3 during one week and Days 4, 5 into a second week and then starting a new Unit in the middle of a week. I thought this would really bother me but it actually doesn’t!
Now for the extensive planning part:
Get some iced coffee and turn on some music (Family Life Radio is great!). Set up play doh, paints or beads for the kiddos! Prepare a few days in advance by purchasing printer ink, computer paper and any type of file folders, paper clips, etc. you may need for organizing. Mentally prepare yourself to let your house go for a few days. This took me a lot of time to think and print and organize but I know it will be worth it. For me the more organized and prepared I am then the more likely I am to follow through. Also take breaks if needed. If the kiddos are going insane because of all your attention to the computer then just take a break and go play for awhile. If you begin doubting everything you’re doing and feel like it’s not good enough or that it’s too much or that you just want to give up… then take a break! Get some fresh air, go to bed, watch a movie, anything… then start again the next day when you’re refreshed. Remember the Lord is the one directing you and He will provide.
I use this file folder box ($3.47 at Wal Mart) and have folders for the months of the year as well as sections to put printed papers for Kids of Integrity, Seeds Family Worship, Seasonal and Holiday printable packs, etc. After we complete a week I put it into a folder with the Unit # and Name and file under the month we completed it.
1) I printed out a yearly calendar and mapped out how many days of school we’ll do as well as how many field trip days or seasonal/holiday learning weeks and how many homeschool enrichment days there will be.
I made this on Microsoft Word. I like having 4 months to one sheet with room to take notes. I have 3 of these sheets to cover the whole school year.
2) I determined from there what to complete daily and what extracurricular subjects to include and on which days.
3) I laid out all of the homeschool supplies for the upcoming year that I have gathered and organized them into subjects and then decided what to use and what to leave out for another year/time. There are a lot of new things I want to buy for our curriculum but as finances are tight I knew the Lord would honor me digging things off our shelves that I spent money for in the past and never used!
4) I printed out my LHFHG planning worksheet and began mapping out the weekly plan so I knew what projects/supplies to expect. I signed into my library account online and saved books I want to check out for each week under a “saved list” so I can just click and hold a few weeks before I need to pick them up. I printed the lists on the back of my planning worksheet to cross off as we read them and that way they are all right there on the same page.
This is another sheet I created on Microsoft Word as our Unit checklist.
5) I planned out our Kids of Integrity lessons. I determined how many bible stories for each virtue there are to see how many days we will study that virtue. Then I picked out crafts/activities from the lesson plan to complete each day as well as which bible verse to memorize for that virtue. I looked at the same library list maker and added books related to that virtue. I also consulted Right Now Media for any character building/virtue videos to watch on the tablet at the school table. I looked online for any coloring pages/scripture memory pages for the kiddos to color while I read the bible lesson to them.
6) I already had planned out Seeds Family Worship. It is pretty simple. We just picked which album to listen to and went to the BibleStoryPrintables website and matched up the album we picked out. I chose which handwriting worksheets and coloring pages I wanted and that’s that. So we listen to the song and color for a few minutes and practice reciting the verse.
7) BOB Books. This is what we are currently using for Phonics. I have been up and down and not sure what to do for phonics. Amelia is not really enjoying any of the programs we’ve tried (100 Easy Lessons) and she doesn’t necessarily enjoy the BOB books but we’re having more success with them than anything else. I really would like an official Phonics program and am looking into The Logic of English but will need to save up some money for that purchase. In the meantime I am continuing with the BOB books and adding in some fun activities and printables from these websites.
10) Extracurricular – US States Geography and Window on the World. We love our small geography time. We listen to the States CD. We pick an area (Easter border, Western border, etc.) and start coloring in the state on a blank US map. We color in the state for that area along with the song and then we look at our Atlas and our flashcard and just read for a few minutes about that state. That’s it! We are going to start a little into countries by working our way through the Window on the World book. We will look at the country and find it on a map and read about it in our Atlas and then pray according to the Window on the World book.
11) I then planned our field trips to the zoo and museum. I decided which exhibit to look at and looked online for printable packs, crafts, etc. I also made library book lists online for books related to the subject. The weeks that we will go on a field trip I will substitute the printable pack papers into the motor skills, math and phonics sections of our daily plan instead of using the books that LHFHG calls for. Other than that change our week of learning will look the same but we will not cover any of the unit of the LHFHG manual.
12) I planned our seasonal/holiday learning weeks. This looks basically the same as the zoo and museum trips. I looked for printable packs online and crafts and library book lists. And again our week will look similar with substituting in the printable pack papers and not covering a unit of the LHFHG manual.
Here are some pictures of our room and our homeschooling day!
Here is the view of our room from the kitchen. It is supposed to be a family/dining room but it is our multipurpose (school/play/office/dining room). We are so blessed to have this room! We do school at the dinner table in here.
Here is a different view of our family room/dining room converted to a school/play/office/dining room!
Here is the view of our “supply” room. We don’t do school at the little table but sometimes my 2 year old will sit there and play! And there’s my desk where all the planning occurs. The cubeicals to the R and L contain supplies, books and toy bins and our school box is on top of the cubeical to the L. I also have a small bulletin board with a blue and pink folder that I slip the completed work for the day into (1 for Josh and 1 for Amelia) and a small string with clothespins for any extra special papers to display. At the end of the week is when I collect the papers and file them away.
And sometimes the baby sits and watches too!