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MichelleL in Tn
06-02-2007, 03:23 PM
Well I am wondering what others do here.

How far in advance you plan your units?

If you do your fall planning do you plan the whole year and the books you are going to row? or the next 6 months, 3 months etc. Do you decide to row all of one volume in a certain amount of time etc?

I have a friend that is really good about planning all this out...And there were times I did some of that. But what I do most of the time is wing it..."Oh this looks like a good book this week"-Ta da here we go..

I am orgainzied and structured -but I don't do a lot of planning...In fact at one time I was typing up what we would do all week-yeah that was long ago...

A few times I decided that I would row certain titles in a month at the beginning of the month and I would penciled them in...That helped b/c I would actually get them from the library in time to row the book. :lol:

I always row all 3 volumes together interchangeably. (I don't do one at a time.) Perhaps this is why I never actually finish a volume. :crazy:

Hmmmm maybe I should focus on one volume. :unsure:

Candace C
06-02-2007, 05:59 PM
Michelle, am I that friend that has it all planned out?? LOL!! :lol: Yes, I do most of the time...but I must live that way or I'd drive myself crazy. (you remember that planning thread awhile back, some of us are just WIRED that way.)

I was thinking you, too, were wired that way...but maybe you're falling off the bandwagon, just kidding! :kiss:

I sat down for little bits of time here and there and planned out my books through December. I just like having a game plan. I like to reserve books at the library for a month at a time and need to be somewhat planned to do that. I also like to have my printables, like from Enchanted Learning, etc, printed off ahead of time. This sort of frees me up when we are actually rowing the book to enjoy it and not fret over each little lesson in the days ahead. If that makes sense...

I don't know that it actually would help you to row one volume over the other. I really just LOVE the flexibility of doing them all interchangably...fitting in with seasons, special family things, holidays, etc. I am just SO excited about all the animals books we're going to row after our creation unit. I can't wait!! (bee tree, horses of sweetbriar, salamander room, a bear unit including Before titles and celebrated bear...)

I'm not sure that I helped you...but I think you have to find what works for YOU. There are LOTS of ladies who successfully row by just "winging" it or picking up a book and going with it...alas, that is not me. But that's ok too...maybe you could try planning 1 month in advance. Just plan 3 books for 1 month and see how it goes...

Good luck figuring out what works! :)

DD in IL
06-02-2007, 06:12 PM
I just usually plan out 2 weeks in advance. The library allows the books to be checked out for 2 weeks so that helps me to plan.

MichelleL in Tn
06-02-2007, 06:33 PM
Michelle, am I that friend that has it all planned out?? LOL!! :lol: Yes, I do most of the time...but I must live that way or I'd drive myself crazy. (you remember that planning thread awhile back, some of us are just WIRED that way.)

I was thinking you, too, were wired that way...but maybe you're falling off the bandwagon, just kidding! :kiss:

IGood luck figuring out what works! :)

Yes you are the one...You know I did so well for a while...I was so organized and doing so well..I really don't know what happened. And now I just can't get into planning again...

Maybe when it gets closer to rowing time again..it'll get easier..I just cannot choose what to row,and when...Perhaps I will just put all the titles in a jar and let the dc pull them out for that month....and then row in that order...:lol:

I think it is all the home projects-decorating, etc. that I am having to decide about...You know I can't really have alot of decisions having to be made at one time or I go kind of kooky...:crazy:

Candace C
06-02-2007, 06:37 PM
Michelle, I understand!! And I definitely don't think you are worse off for not planning long term...everybody does it so differently, yet it always will still be a wonderful experience for your kiddos!! That's another reason FIAR is so great!

I could send you my list and let you row in the order we're going! :lol: Although we probably will be doing some you've already done!

Trish A
06-02-2007, 08:25 PM
I pick up a volume, pick a book, read through the lessons, call the kids in and away we Row.:D No planning involved. Thankfully, the art isn't on that first day so I have time to get all that together.

Paige P
06-02-2007, 09:24 PM
I don't do too much planning. Sometimes I know that I want to row a certain book based on a holiday or a season, but at other times, it's what I can get ahold of when. I really, really try to sit down over the weekend and plan everything, print things out, etc. so I'm ready for the week, but that doesn't always happen, either. Like you, I'd LOVE to be more organized. I'm really and truly hoping that this year I can be more "together," even if it's a month at a time. I like Candace's idea of going ahead and printing things out and having them ready to go. Hmmmmmmm... an idea just struck -- I usually scope things out and then go back to them -- maybe I should just go ahead and print it out and then file it away so it's "there" when I row that book.

Anyway, Michelle, I know where you're coming from, and I, too, am one of those "wing-it" people who would like to change :D

MichelleL in Tn
06-02-2007, 09:25 PM
I could send you my list and let you row in the order we're going! :lol: Although we probably will be doing some you've already done!

Well maybe you can just post your schedule on your blog and then the rest of us can just row right along...:roflol:

I guess I just go in spurts...Sometimes I plan for a 6 weeks, sometimes a month-sometimes not at all...Your right that is what is so great about FIAR, you can just wing it if you need to....:clap:

MichelleL in Tn
06-02-2007, 09:28 PM
I like Candace's idea of going ahead and printing things out and having them ready to go. Hmmmmmmm... an idea just struck -- I usually scope things out and then go back to them -- maybe I should just go ahead and print it out and then file it away so it's "there" when I row that book.

:D

I was doing good with this early this year..Having all my stuff printed early. I even joined enchanted learning...Then I just fell off the planning wagon and started winging it for a while...

Just the other day in the middle of our day I said "Hold it-I need to get a printable on that." :lol: Luckily I had the kids drawing something that related to occupy them while I did it....

Kendra AU
06-02-2007, 09:51 PM
I have boxes designated to each volume. They look like rubbermaid styled boxes (complete with lids), but they are designed to hold hanging files. So each book from the matching volume has a hanging file. For instance one box has Volume 1 written in sharpie on the outside, then each book has it's own hanging file.

When I find something that I know will be fun to incorporate with the lessons from that book, I open the correct hanging file and drop it in. It saves the time of wondering where I found it and then actually locating where it is now. I just open the file and I'm ready to go.

As for how we choose which books, I look at our calendar and the upcoming events in the community as well as holidays from Australia and America and we try to plan books around that. For my kids it's all about hands on, and the more we do something, the more completely involved everything is with it, the more they walk away remembering.

Once deciding which books will go well with the upcoming events, seasons, holidays, etc.. I open my planner to the correct month and write the name of each book at the start of the week. Then I look through the manuals to see which books I need to reserve at the library (if any) and be sure we have what we need on hand for art lessons.

Because we've been notebooking from the beginning I also make sure we have whatever printables we'll need as my boys are still pretty young to do a lot of writing.

This doesn't mean everything goes "smoothly" all the time. We hit lots of bunny trails or the boys strike an interest in something that we were only going to "graze" and so we might go to the library or the computer and hunt down lots more info on it.

Kendra

MichelleL in Tn
06-02-2007, 11:29 PM
I have boxes designated to each volume. They look like rubbermaid styled boxes (complete with lids), but they are designed to hold hanging files. So each book from the matching volume has a hanging file. For instance one box has Volume 1 written in sharpie on the outside, then each book has it's own hanging file.

When I find something that I know will be fun to incorporate with the lessons from that book, I open the correct hanging file and drop it in. It saves the time of wondering where I found it and then actually locating where it is now. I just open the file and I'm ready to go.

Kendra

That certainly looks like a good system...I have a unit studies folder, right now I just put it in that-but then finding it in there when I need it is another issue...

That give me something to think about though.

Hey I was wondering what do yall do on your weeks off? (I read on another thread about how you do 15 days a month...) I want to try that too, but for us (esp. me it works better to try to consistently do at least a M-F schedule, we can pick and choose the weeks in the month though.) We could occasionally break up a week-but I don't want to do it often-it would leave me feeling pretty scattered.

Kristina
06-02-2007, 11:42 PM
I just logged on to ask how to plan and if I needed to start with Volume 1 or if we can jump around. The very first post was this thread. How wierd is that? As I was reading the manual tonight, I noticed that Jane will refer back to "remember when we read...." So I wondered if something will be lost if am not going in the order that they are presented in the volumes. I was inclined to start with Vol 3 as it is the "summer" books.

Thanks for answering my question before I even asked it! Is this a great board or what?

Kristina

SoniaM
06-03-2007, 12:00 AM
I have planned what books we will row a year in advance, by the seasons that the book falls into(generally) then i open a folder on my computer and gather info for those topics and put it in , then i start a web page for that book that i play around with till that unit is finished .. i have uploaded june july august on our website if you wanna look.. once i have the website uploaded i have the children sit at there computers and we all look at the info together ,talk about it ,do searches together at the same time..it helps them to larn how to use the computer and they enjoy it more this way..

our homeschool website http://www.geocities.com/yeshuaeducare4life/index.html

LindainOK
06-03-2007, 01:17 AM
SoniaM, How did you make the beautiful digital Silhouette Pictures??? Well, back to viewing your website which is stunning and so full of ideas! Thanks for posting.

SoniaM
06-03-2007, 03:09 AM
thank you for your lovely comments Linda:kiss:
the pictures are made digitally on my computer,but 1st i take a side portrait of the child ,upload it, then in photoshop elements i use the threshold option to darken the picture,after that is done i use pretty digital paper i have on my computer to make a border and thats it.
Below are some cute sites about making them
http://www.cutarts.com/
http://karenswhimsy.com/female-silhouette.shtm
http://www.roving-artist.com/shop/

Paige P
06-03-2007, 08:16 AM
Kendra,
Your idea about the file storage boxes is great!

I do have files on the computer under the FIAR title names where drop good ideas I see on this site into the correct book file so I have the idea when I want it. It's all the "extras," though, that I need to keep track of, as well. Like Sonia mentioned, maybe I could add worksheet pages to the computer file, as well. Something to think about.......

Thanks for the ideas, ladies. Michelle, I'm glad you posted this topic :)

MichelleL in Tn
06-03-2007, 08:46 AM
I have planned what books we will row a year in advance, by the seasons that the book falls into(generally) then i open a folder on my computer and gather info for those topics and put it in , then i start a web page for that book that i play around with till that unit is finished .. i have uploaded june july august on our website if you wanna look.. once i have the website uploaded i have the children sit at there computers and we all look at the info together ,talk about it ,do searches together at the same time..it helps them to larn how to use the computer and they enjoy it more this way..

our homeschool website http://www.geocities.com/yeshuaeducare4life/index.html

Wow you are really a planner, huh?
I love your webpage-did you need a mac to make it? I always notice people with Mac's have these really cool web sites. Also how did you make all the other webpages-under the books you row -how can you incorporate coloring pages etc? (I need to mention I don't have a blog yet, so all this is foreign to me.) I hope to start one this summer.

Sue in MN
06-03-2007, 09:26 AM
I thought that the books were already arranged to fit the seasons. Vol. 1 works for fall semester and vol. 2 works great for spring semester. vol. 3 has a lot of summer books. I've never rowed them in order before but this time I am going to just pick up the volume and go in order. Some of the best things about FIAR are that you don't have to plan if you don't want to but it is all planned for you, or you can do a lot of planning if you like. Also, it is so great that every Monday is a new book and a fresh start! Even if last week didn't go so great you get to start over on Monday.

Melissa Crabtree
06-03-2007, 01:11 PM
I have tried it using the winging it style and the planning ahead style. The winging it style tends to not get done around here. Or it ends up being a very boring week! :lol:

What has worked best for me is having a general idea what I want to do over the next couple of months, so that I can be looking/gathering fun things to go along with it. I like to choose things that go with the season generally b/c I think that is the most uncontrollable part of the learning. (Like finding ducklings in spring, fall leaves during autumn, jellyfish at the beach etc.) It makes field trips and real life stuff easier to access and experience. The manuals are arranged a bit by season, but I've still picked and chosen (together with Candace mostly) which books I wanted to do near each other for a bit of a theme.

As far as the specific planning, I just read through the manual section on the particular book and put stars by the activities I want to complete that week. And if it says "discuss" or "study" something, I often find a hands on activity or coloring page/crossword/minibook to use. I have a visual learner, so we need the visuals to get stuff sinking in. Then when Monday comes, we do what looks like it will be a good day for. When it's Tuesday, we see what will be good that day, etc.

This has worked well for me and I think it will continue this way for this next year too.

LindainOK
06-03-2007, 04:03 PM
the pictures are made digitally on my computer,but 1st i take a side portrait of the child ,upload it, then in photoshop elements i use the threshold option to darken the picture,after that is done i use pretty digital paper i have on my computer to make a border and thats it.
Below are some cute sites about making them
http://www.cutarts.com/
http://karenswhimsy.com/female-silhouette.shtm
http://www.roving-artist.com/shop/


FIAR forums are great! Not only for the curriculum support and ideas but for the little gems that brighten our everyday life. Thanks for letting me find this Sonia; I am going to step out of my comfort zone (a reader, not an artist) and TRY to make silhouettes of all 7 kiddos at about the same age. We'll see....

Oh, back to your original conversation: I'm a planner by nature and after watching special friends, I learned to take it really easy and "wing it." Like others have mentioned, it's more likely that less or not much happens for us when I wing-it. Since we will continue our school year thru the summer (4x1/2 days a week) I am going back to the planning method. Then I will know exactly what my goal is. If something interrupts our week, that's ok, because I'll know exactly where we are and what I can adjust. I've learned, for myself, that it's better to have a well laid out plan as well as be flexible for the abundant life God allows us to experience!

SoniaM
06-03-2007, 05:03 PM
I use a PC not Mac ..I use adobe pagemill to make all my webpages if you go to my all about me page on my blog you can download it free http://joyfulhomemaker.blogspot.com/ i find it very easy to use compared to say dreamweaver( which is way past my intelligence)

Oh BTW the pretty graphics i use to make the webpages i purchase and still have a load of the free ones(from when you could get them free) from http://www.graphicgarden.com/ i just bought another 5 sets last night--her stuff is so cute

carolemc
06-03-2007, 05:20 PM
As someone who feels the need to have things "in place" I appreciate the balance of the different perspectives on this thread! I love the file box idea (Kendra) as it provides for "one stop storage" for related materials for each book.

Since I'm new to the forums can you help me understand what you mean by "notebooking?"

Mary FL
06-03-2007, 08:42 PM
As someone who feels the need to have things "in place" I appreciate the balance of the different perspectives on this thread! I love the file box idea (Kendra) as it provides for "one stop storage" for related materials for each book.

Since I'm new to the forums can you help me understand what you mean by "notebooking?"

Carol, try doing a search for notebooking. You'll get all sorts of information!:)

JenniferD
06-03-2007, 11:51 PM
I am currently putting together a "workbook" for DD. She loves to work with prinouts so I subscribed to enchantedlearning and saving to my hearts content.

After I have all that I want I am taking it to Staples and printing it all out in black and white. After that I will have it bound.

It's taking me forever and a day to get it done, but I figure I have the whole summer to get it finished and ready for fall use :)

Kendra AU
06-04-2007, 06:30 AM
As someone who feels the need to have things "in place" I appreciate the balance of the different perspectives on this thread! I love the file box idea (Kendra) as it provides for "one stop storage" for related materials for each book.

Since I'm new to the forums can you help me understand what you mean by "notebooking?"


Carol, for me notebooking is letting my kids put all the things they make or do in one spot to "show off" to their friends, relatives, and mostly for them to admire time and time again. It truly amazes me just how much they walk away knowing, and how much they remember as they glance back over their work.

I don't actually have photos of anything we've done, which is sad considering I'm married to a photographer who is also a web designer! LOL A lot of people have their own style for notebooking, which is great and what makes it so unique.

For my family, I am currently teaching two young boys (3 and 6) and so while they learn a lot, we may not have a lot of "paperwork". After all at six he isn't going to be writing reports. He can dictate REALLY well when it comes to writing stories though..

We follow the FIAR manual for the activities that we do. I tend to add a handful (3-6) science experiments to go along with our science day, and perhaps a craft or two as well. We own the FIAR cookbook, all though it's currently between here and America since our move.. so we tend to make a recipe or three to go with our studies as well.

Then, I put all that stuff (minus the real food haha :lol: ) into the scrapbook. For instance with Ping my kids colored the Chinese flag and a map of china. We then helped them find the Yangtze river and color a yellow line for it. Then I put both the maps and flags into their notebook (which for now we're using a 12x12 scrapbook. I bought one with TONS of pages so we could use the same one all year). The next day when we did Language Arts (my kids remember to this day that Once Upon A Time means the story probably isn't real) we came up with a few lines that might mean the story isn't real and they told the openings to me, I typed them into the computer and we put that paper in the notebook as well. They each took their hand at drawing a picture of Ping for Art, and those too are in the book. For their science experiments I make up little science charts that have questions on them. For Ping we did "Sink or Float" .. I listed several objects and then wrote "sink or float" they put a smiley face next to what they thought the item would do. Then on the next page we had "What happened" and we put a smiley face next to what really happened. We had a few other papers for science and if it required excessive writing, like "what will happen" they dictate to me and I write it down. We do science as a family so even Mom and Dad have guess as to what will happen. I staple them all together and slip them in the notebook for the boys as well. We did a few other "fun" things, like origami, and we learned to count in Chinese. We simply put these things in our book as well. Then the boys took turns telling Grams and Poppy all about what they learned using the notebook to point it all out. :)

For each book that we row, we generally have 5 pages (one dedicated to each subject) Sometimes more, sometimes less. Just depends on how much we did. I think our Peter Rabbit notebook pages has a bit more because we made some puppets we store in the book, and we each did a couple of water color pictures, etc.

Just think simple.. nothing fancy. My six year old prefers to let me put it in for him, but loves showing it off. lol He's also really intent on what should go in the book. Their notebooks are certainly one of their favorite books to show to relatives, and needless to say relatives look forward to seeing the new work. I know several ladies here have taken photos of their notebooks and posted them on their various blog spots so that might help you get some ideas! :)

Kendra

Kendra AU
06-05-2007, 06:27 AM
Hey I was wondering what do yall do on your weeks off? (I read on another thread about how you do 15 days a month...) I want to try that too, but for us (esp. me it works better to try to consistently do at least a M-F schedule, we can pick and choose the weeks in the month though.) We could occasionally break up a week-but I don't want to do it often-it would leave me feeling pretty scattered.

Hey Michelle!

When we "get back" to doing "school" we'll actually be doing the three weeks on, and probably one week off. For me that one week off is simply time to breathe and get things I've fallen behind on caught up. Be it housework or whatever.

We make lots of library trips (as if we aren't there often enough as it is!) and we tend to be outside as much as possible. We're about 5 minutes from the ocean where we currently are and this opens up TONS of possibilities for us. We tend to go there with the intention of the kids playing on the playground, but end up on a completely unintended nature walk. We LOVE scoping out the pools of water left behind after the tide has gone out to sea. We have found some really amazing stuff that way. A purple sea urchin, a living hermit crab, a completely intact spiny fish skeleton (he had teeth too!!) just to name a few.

Mostly, though, I use those days off to prepare for the upcoming weeks of school. Because I only "pencil in" what books I plan to do and subjects I hope to cover on our week off I can take a closer look at where we are and know much more clearly what we will have time to cover. Thus I write it down, make a list of supplies I may need for science or/and art as well as my library lists.


With my library system I have a HUGE range of books I can access, but sometimes it can take a while to get them in. So I look at what books are where and decide if I'm' willing to make the drive or if I'll let the library do it for me.I get all the books I'll need "called in" on my list so that I'll have them when I'm ready for them.

I also take the time to get any papers I need in line, maps, flags, etc. I also review each lesson (read through the manual) so I know what I'm doing. I'm big on making everything match up to our studies. So I even try to plan several meals from whatever location we'll be in, and even a movie or two as well.

With the new move that we've just made (to Australia) I suspect we'll use our week off to go on a few hikes and maybe even some camping trips. I'm sure we'll continue to learn, it'll just be a bit more like unschooling then what we normally do.

Kendra

Mi-chelle
06-05-2007, 09:46 AM
I didn't read all your responses. I thought I might make a case for the unorganized crowd. I'm an all or nothing kind of girl. So I either plan big or not at all. Last year I way over planned. So I'm trying to find a middle of the road this year. Here's what I have so far: 3 books lightly tied together. (Row 3 weeks then review/expand 1 week) My goal was to finish vol. 1. I'm going to use the scrap/lap book through the week. I'm going to use Fridays to assemble our books & go to the Library. One day a week I'm going to add some history. During my review week I'm going to try to do one day of art and/or science (nature studies). My plans are done in pencil & I'm trying to get as much done as possible during our time off over the next couple of weeks. I think I might borrow the file box idea because it never fails in my search to find things that really fit better somewhere else.

So there's my plan you can ask me in a couple of months how well it works:)

Nancy Ann
06-06-2007, 05:06 PM
I have goals I plan for the entire year, but they are academic standards not finish this book or do so many pages of this book.

When it comes to planning, I plan 2 or 3 weeks in advance. If I plan too much I end up feeling like a failure because we didn't do it all. So I plan a little at a time keeping with the goals I have for the year. I also keep track of what we have done or accomplished. This also works better for me than making a list of things I want to accomplish and than cross it off. It feels more positive for me to have a list that I am adding to.

I hope this makes sense! :lol:

Shauna
06-06-2007, 07:41 PM
It's interesting seeing the different approaches that people take, and I'm getting some good ideas I'd like to incorporate. Some weeks I wing it completely, and other times I plan ahead several weeks but no more than that. I must say that even if I did plan everything out a year in advance, I would just look at the schedule that I had written with my own hand and think, yeah whatever, and then do what I felt like anyway! :lol:

MichelleL in Tn
06-06-2007, 08:27 PM
Hey ladies, I appreciate all of your comments. There are so many great ideas here to gleam from....

thanks again
Blessings