I have been using the Simply Charlotte Mason Organizer for a long while and mostly, I love it. I think the reason that I love it is that it automatically changes the assignments on your schedule if you are unable to complete one. Yes!! I HATED erasing my lovely, well-laid out plans when life happened and we didn’t get something done. So for a while the SCMO worked for us. Then I discovered two serious things…not about the SCMO, but about myself that aren’t so pretty. *ahem*
1. I have a hard time not being distracted by the computer…forums, email, sometimes blogging, research, news…any and all excuses to be plugged in constantly.
2. The other issue is that when everything is on a daily planner on the computer, apparently no one in the house can do anything related to school since they don’t have a list. *sigh* That meant on days when I wasn’t feeling well, had outside appointments, couldn’t use the computer for some reason, or whatever – nothing got done.
So this year, I wanted things to be a bit different. I needed to pull back and see what we could do as a family to make things work a bit smoother. I researched it a bit (like everything else) but disliked all the pre-printed planners available. There are gazillions – I think every blogging homeschool mom has designed one that works for her. 😉 I discovered two posts from fellow members of the SCM forum that really made me realize that I could design one that would be completely personalized for each of us. Tristan shared her planner for her oldest here and Christie showed hers in a video here (scroll to the bottom for the video). I took both ideas and morphed them into MY planner. (Sorry about the quality of the light of the pictures!)
Inside the covers behind the first term divider:
Everyone’s book lists for the year
Our weekly schedule of subjects by day
The second divider is Term 1 (Term 2 and 3 are identical to Term 1, except that I decided after I printed a couple of pages not to have the littles subjects on the same page, so I deleted them. I left in them in Term 1 because I didn’t want to waste ink/paper).
The first working page is a planning page that allows me to jot ideas or make more permanent plans for our weekly assignments. (Inspiration for this came from the Tanglewood Planner, which is a great CM paper planner.)
This is my weekly spread. I can get all my subjects scheduled on here for the whole week. The days are color coded so that my kiddos can easily keep track of which day they are on. Every Monday morning we have a quick planning session where we make note of what is coming up and what we need to accomplish to stay on track. Then I quickly jot down what lesson/subject each day. I can tell what needs to be done at a glance and can easily adjust throughout the week if needed. As we finish each subject, I make a diagonal line through the box. I can tell it is done, but it leaves the assignment legible for our records.
On the left is the Weekly Summary where I make notes for various things – what we studied for Nature Study, doctors appointments, additional books read, places we went, that sort of thing. The right is my Weekly Planning Page from above. Having them side by side helps me stay up and current on weekly subjects.
After Terms 1, 2, and 3 come the Littles Schedule in their own Term 1, 2, and 3.
The littles is set up very similar to the older kids. I love that I can tailor the subjects to certain subjects or be more specific with actual titles. That has helped HorseyBug so much, along with the color coded days. Since the littles are included in most family subjects and they are younger, their planning pages are not as long as the older girls.
At the end of the planner, I have included several pages of term and yearly evaluations.
I have three that I really like from Christie’s blog, Learning with Charlotte. Here is a link to them: http://learningwithcharlotte.blogspot.com/2013/08/2013-2014-curriculum-part-three-files.html
I have a copy of her Character Report (2 pages) and her Progress Report. She explains them very well in her video (linked above in the first paragraph).
This is page one of my yearly evaluation of each student (the whole thing is in the planner). I have a place for every subject plus general comments. Missouri homeschool laws require that I have yearly written evaluations and I finally created this form. It works well for me, especially when paired with the Character Reports and Progress reports.
The student planners look similar to mine, but are more specifically personalized:
Besides the student’s eval, I put the official one for each girl in their planners.
So far the only changes I have decided will be made next year are that their covers will get plastic 😉 and the subject/titles will be changed as they progress yearly.
What is really working for us with these planners:
- Personalized for each student – instead of saying “Language Arts”, I was able to put in specific titles such as “Discover the Old Testament” or “Writing with the Best”.
- The weekly assignments are there.
- The color coded days.
- Children are much more independent and are happier.
- I always know where I am and what I need to do.
- At the end of the year I will put the planner with a few examples of work and our required portfolios will be complete for the school year.
Adding it to my Table of Contents organizer (see here) and I have a really solid proof of achievement for my children’s records.