Planning, planning, planning

Lesson planning goes a lot slower with six little ones at home. But I have been working on Fritz’s lesson plans. I’ve finished sixteen – so just over three-quarters – of the Layers of Learning units for next year which takes him through to the middle of April and the 133rd day (of 162) and the 28th (of 34) week of school. So far I’ve got 673 pages of his worktext all ready to be printed (I think I’m going to have to bind it in more than one part!). It doesn’t take a horribly long time to do a unit once I get a chance to sit down and work on them. It’s finding that time to work on them that’s the problem.

Just over two months to go before our school year begins…

Lesson Planning

I’ve been working on Fritz’s lesson plans for ninth(!) grade next year. I’m making him a worktext basically. He said he learns best from reading so there’ll be a lot of reading in there for him to do. I realized it’s going to be very, very long when the first four weeks took 88 pages. I’m rather proud of how it’s turning out honestly. I think it’ll work very, very for him.

Plan for Next Year

While we have liked Power Homeschool and it has definitely helped while incorporating the toddlers into our family, there are some definite negatives to it so we have decided we will not be using it last year.

So I’ve been lesson planning. I’ve been working on Fritz’s plans first. He’s going to be in high school. How did that happen? I started this blog when I was pregnant with him and now he’s almost 14 and heading into 9th grade. Crazy.

The boys will both be using Layers of Learning as a base for history, geography, science, and the arts, but I am making it so I am not so needed and they can do it on their own. Fritz will be doing year 1, 14 units for two weeks each and 6 units for one week each. Adrian will be doing 34 units from year 1 and 2 for one week each.

They’ll be using Writer’s Workshop for grammar, usage, and mechanics and vocabulary/spelling. They’ll be using Cover Story for writing. They’ll both be working on handwriting. They’ll be using Progeny Press literature guides. I haven’t picked books for Adrian, but Fritz will be reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, Romeo and Juliet, and Lord of the Flies as well as reading and analyzing a few Robert Frost poems.

They will be using Family Time Fitness for PE. For math, they’ll be using Art of Problem Solving. Adrian will be doing prealgebra and Fritz will be doing introduction to algebra. I have never seen Adrian get so excited over math as when I showed him the AOPS samples. He loves the idea of playing with numbers to make it all make sense. I gave them both several choices for math and they separately both picked the same one.

Fritz will be taking Spanish I from the Well-Trained Mind Academy. We agreed that truly learning a foreign language will work better with a live teacher. He’ll be taking that two mornings a week. He’ll also be doing on-line seminary, covering the second half of the Book of Mormon in the fall and the first half of the Doctrine and Covenants in the spring. He’ll have one evening a week in person at the church for that.

Fritz will also continue doing Code Ninjas. I’m not sure exactly how that will look by the time school starts. The dojo is currently shut down completely and he’s been working on Unity 3D/C# on his own a little bit at home and then taking some on-line classes from the senseis via Zoom. He takes digital logic once a week, Python twice a week, and HTML once a week. He is also on the esports team. He has practice two evenings a week and games on Saturdays. We’ll see how any of that changes in the fall, but for now he is loving it.

Our 2020-21 school year will be 34 weeks long. We’re going to start the day after Labor Day and finish the Friday before Memorial Day.

Thinking about 2020-21

I’ll only have two kids homeschooling in the fall. Fritz will be in 9th grade and Adrian will be in 7th. Foster kids have to go to public school and even if we adopt kids, I’m planning to send them to public school for at least the first few years in case any issues pop up that need to be addressed (kindergarten/1st grade is often when they do).

Fostering takes a lot of time. Babies take a lot of time whether they are foster kids or not. So do toddlers and preschoolers. Add the paperwork of fostering and my available time has shrunk significantly. So doing a lot of mom-intensive planning just isn’t the best idea for next year.

Jamie joked that we could just send them to public school. Fritz said that would be his LAST choice. Seriously, half a year in second grade scarred that kid for life.

Anyway, I’ve been looking at options where they could get a high school diploma through distance learning. I think I’ve narrowed it down to either Calvert or Keystone. I think. A whole lot less of me needed, an excellent education… sounds like a win-win to me!

That would be a bit different from what I’ve done with my other two high schoolers, but I think at this point in our lives – whether we are fostering or adopting little ones – this makes the most sense.

Lesson Planning


I’ve been doing a lot of lesson planning and getting assignments entered into Homeschool Planet over the last few weeks. We’re pretty much ready for school to start at the end of the month. Adrian will be a 6th grader, Fritz an 8th grader, and Cameron a senior in high school.

History, geography, science, and the arts will be through Layers of Learning again this year. We’re on year 4, modern history. We’re going to learn a lot of great stuff.

Fritz and Adrian will be doing Analytical Grammar, Beyond the Book Report, and Wordly Wise. All three boys will be doing Writer’s Workshop (which is new – and looks seriously awesome – from the Layers of Learning people).

Fritz and Adrian will be doing Teaching Textbooks for math. I was rather surprised when Adrian easily tested into pre-algebra. I shouldn’t be surprised. He’s been doing Math Mammoth for a few years and it’s really prepared him well. Fritz tested into Algebra I, but that was not a surprise at all. Cameron will be doing Khan Academy for math.

The younger two boys will be doing some test prep. They both need to learn how to do the whole bubble in an answer thing. In addition to basic test prep, Fritz will be doing some simple studying for the ACT and PSAT. He’ll be taking the PSAT for practice near the beginning of his 9th grade year so I figured now is a good time to start getting ready for it.

Fritz will be doing Visual Latin for his foreign language. Adrian’s going to keep doing Spanish, but he’s not going to do DuoLingo anymore. Instead we’re going to have him watch cartoons in Spanish with English subtitles and see how that works for him. There’s a lot of Netflix originals that allow you to do that, including some he’s watched in English so he’s already aware of how the storyline goes.

Lesson Planning

We’re down to just three more weeks of school. I’ve been lesson planning since late February I think. I’m getting close to done. I’ve still got quite a few books to pre-read for Cameron and Adrian (all done pre-reading for Fritz). I’m hoping to have the lesson plans and pre-reading the majority of the way done by the end of the school year so I can have a nice, long summer break just like the boys.

A Bit of My Bullet Journal

After doing my planning digitally for a while, a few months ago I went back to my paper bullet journal. I love it. It allows me to be creative and also helps me make sure I get everything I need to get done done.

Every month I start out with a spread that gives an overview of appointments and things and also a tracker for doing my daily/weekly/monthly chores. Since Jamie and I are going to Ireland this month, I decided to do a bit of a passport stamp/Irish theme.

Each month is split into weekly spreads where I put what we are eating, places we need to go, and random stuff I need to do. I also add in quite bits of things we did that I want to remember. I kind of went Washi tape crazy with August’s weekly spreads.

I have some fun spreads to keep track of ongoing things I do. For example, I colored in pictures as I planned our next school year, giving me a visual tracker of how much more I needed to do.

I’ve got a spread to keep track of my scripture reading (currently going through the New Testament). I came up with a picture to go with each book. Some make more sense than others. When I finish a book, I color the picture in. I discovered I am not too bad at drawing if I am looking an an outline example to copy. I’ve always thought I was really bad at art, so that was a fun discovery to make.

I made a nice little bookcase to write in the book I’ve read along with the date and my rating. I filled it up just with the books I read March to July. On the next page I am keeping track of the subjects I’ve completed planning for (just have literature left for all of them – it takes a while to pre-read all the books!).

Starting with this month, I decided to do a monthly bookshelf instead of an ongoing one. I also made the books a little bit fatter to make it easier to write in the titles. I attempted to draw raindrops on the blessings/gratitude page. Maybe I’ll get better at them over time… or come up with something I can draw better next month!

This is just the stuff from one shopping trip. When I checked out the conversation went like this:

Her: Did you find everything you were looking for?
Me: Well, I only came in for the pens, so…
Her: Yeah. That happens.

I might have a bit of a Washi tape problem. I have so much of it. But it’s so pretty! And useful! I have all my bullet journaling stuff – tons of pens, stickers, a pair of scissors, tons and tons of Washi tape, stamps, and ink pads – in a nice craft basket with lots of pockets of open areas to hold everything.

Sometimes, even on a boring page like this one where I was planning meals, I decide I need to be a bit creative and add a little picture to make it more fun.

I had quite a bit of extra space on the page where I listed the last bits of school stuff I was still waiting on from what I had ordered so I drew a cute little picture to go with it. Stuff like that just makes me happy and also makes my bullet journal extra pretty.

Sometimes a little one line note about something isn’t enough. For those times, I go to my next blank page and write whatever I want about it. My parents, the little guys, and I saw Christopher Robin on Saturday and it was just so cute. We all loved it. So for this page I decided to use some stamps (I just happened to have a couple Pooh ones) and used my pretty pens to write some quotes I like from the movie.

So much planning

I’ve been working like crazy on lesson plans for next school year. I’ve got almost everything printed. My parents brought an awesome GBC binder with them so the workbooks are nicely bound and waiting in the utility carts I got for the boys (red for Cameron, blue for Fritz, and sand for Adrian).

I’ve got ten of the twenty year three Layers of Learning units all planned and I’m working on the last book that I need to pre-read for unit 10. The printables for the first ten units all ready in the filing cabinet. I’ve got lists of supplies I need to get/assemble still.

I’m on a bit of a time crunch, though. In a month Jamie and I will arrive in Ireland to visit his mum. We’ll get back the weekend before school starts so I want to have everything for school as ready as possible before we leave.

Our Plan for Next Year

I don’t know why I picked March as the time I’d start planning for the next school year, but I’ve started (and sometimes finished) in March for several years now.

So here’s our plan for next year:

History/Geography/Science/The Arts: Layers of Learning Year 3 (that’s age of exploration to American Revolution)

Language Arts:
Cameron – Fix-It Grammar Book 2, Creative Writer 2 (and literature selections from Layers of Learning)
Fritz – Analytical Grammar (using the 2 year plan), WordBuild Elements Level 1, Beyond the Book Report Seasons One and Two, Spelling Power (and literature selections from Layers of Learning)
Adrian – Junior Analytical Grammar and Junior Analytical Grammar: Mechanics, WordBuild Foundations Level 1, Writing With Ease 4, Spelling Power (and literature selections from Layers of Learning)

Cameron – Actuarial Foundation’s Building Your Future
Fritz – Math Mammoth 7
Adrian – Math Mammoth 5

Music: 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die

Current Events: CNN 10

Spanish: DuoLingo (Cameron and Adrian)

Latin: Translation (Fritz)

Logic: Discover of Deduction (Fritz)

Religion: Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: Doctrine and Covenants (Fritz and Adrian; Cameron will be doing D&C in Seminary)

Drawing: Pencil Drawing (Fritz)

Recorder: Basix Recorder Method (Adrian)

Piano: Hoffman Academy (Fritz)

Interest Led: Whatever they want to learn about however they want to learn about it, but next year they’ll have to write about what they’ve learned.