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    Term Two Planning Notes

    December 30, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    It’s that time again! I told Siah last night that I spend my vacations planning what I’m going to do when I’m not on vacation. I am only partly kidding. But I’m not just planning lessons. No, no, no. December is busy for us, and we have a certain little girl turning three tomorrow. I might have been working for a couple days, but the weekend is supposed to be {mostly} all play.

    Except that someone has to make the cake and host the party, and I suppose I will have to be the one to do it. Thankfully, my wonderful sister-in-law is coming to help me.


    What’s New and Different This Term

    If you follow my Teaching Reading with Bob Books blog, you know that the biggest change this term is that Neighbor M. is going to commence learning at home with her own mommy. If you want to know about that, read about it on TRWBB.

    The important thing to mention in regard to lessons is that though I am losing a student, I am really gaining two students. Both of my girls are ready for more. A. began formal reading lessons during the last week of DecemberTerm, and Q. is ready for playing with letter puzzles together. Instead of clearing out my lessons-with-Neighbor-M. time slots for myself and my coffee, I’m putting in special times alone with the girls for these purposes.

    I did something new during my manners planning this time. {By the way, I have a very broad definition of manners, something along the lines of “proper Christian behavior”–I could call it “moral instruction” but I like that manners is plain and simple and allows me to add in things like “lower the toilet seat.”} I decided to plan it so that the Scripture, manner, and poem all have a common theme. I’m not sure I’m going to point that out to the children, though. I want to see if they make the connections themselves.

    Speaking of poems, I am going to switch to reading one poem daily for a week, instead of a new poem each day. We did this during DecemberTerm, and I realized that they absorb so much more at that slower pace. So I flipped through my book and picked some favorites and we’ll try it for a term and see how it goes.

    Also important is that A. is about to drop her nap, this time for real. I’m probably only going to nap her a couple days per week, which means she will be awake during Quiet Time. This puts me, first of all, in a training mode, acclimating her to what is expected of her when she is up during this time. But it also gives me a chance to share a cup of tea with her and assist her with her first handicraft. She received a pint-sized weaving loom for Christmas.

    Another addition is formal grammar lessons for E. This is earlier than planned, but he is ready, so here we go. He is also hitting the logic stage really early, and trying to reason with his mother. Thankfully, I just pull the Because-I’m-the-Mommy Trump Card and he leaves me alone.

    I hate it when he’s right. How it is possible that I’m wrong and a seven-year-old is right is almost unfathomable, and yet he really does catch me being illogical sometimes.

    How irritating.


    As I was saying, we’re starting formal grammar. I have no idea if we’ll really be doing this daily. We’re just going to try it and see what happens. I look forward to the day when I can make oral grammar lessons a part of Circle Time, but since my Circle Time is populated with mostly non-readers, it’s not a good fit right now. So we’ll have a short lesson before Quiet Time to give him something to think about in the afternoon.

    Other changes may include the addition of weekly swimming lessons into the schedule. I don’t usually have weekly commitments, but the children received Christmas money to pay for the lessons, and I’d like to see them advance in anticipation of summer. We have three or four solid swimming months here, and I intend to enjoy them this summer, barring any unplanned hospital stays like last summer.

    This is also the first time I’ve done any deliberate, formal handicrafts. I’m excited about them, and I think my children will thrive having them as a part of their life. We want them to have rich lives, no? I really do think this is an important part of that.

    Average Day Chart for Term Two

    This chart includes some bumper time so that if I get behind in one place, or we start late, we will still end up with Quiet Time in the afternoon. For those of you who are wondering, even though my son does his math worksheets alone, I check them and work with him until he comprehends what he is doing. If he needs coaching, we fit that into Quiet Time. I often find that my unavailability is what encourages him to really try and figure it out himself, something that he enjoys when he is able to conquer a problem alone.

    Here is the chart:

    Average Day Chart 2009-2010 (2)

    Circle Time Schedule

    Here are my weekly Circle Time plans. I think we’ll actually finish up with Little Pilgrim’s Progress before the end of the term, and if I’m right about that, then we’ll begin reading the real thing. If you notice, I’m using the Ambleside/Charlotte Mason model, but not really the Ambleside artist or songs suggested for this term. I wanted an artist that {1} was easier for art narration and {2} was dated before 1600 so that we could put him on our timeline. As far as hymns go, my goal is to teach the children the hymns our family and church sing regularly before branching out. In order to teach them well, it usually takes me the entire term {Ambleside is one per month}. Also, with folk songs, I was just in the mood for something Celtic. I adore Celtic music, and the children do, too.

    Anyhow, here’s the schedule:

    Circle Time Weekly Schedule 2009-2010 Term 2

    Here is what we’re using this term that is not Ambleside-specific:

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  • Reply swelb21 November 3, 2012 at 4:10 am

    This is really nice Brandy–I know this was a while ago, but perhaps you do the same thing still–Do you pick your own memory verses in order to tie in with your art selections, etc.? Or is this part of AO? Thanks! Loving your site πŸ™‚

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 3, 2012 at 4:34 am

      Hi. πŸ™‚

      I don’t *always* use verses with the paintings. I’ve only done it when the paintings were trying to imitate something specific in Scripture. So, for instance, with The Tower of Babel we read the story of the actual tower of Babel. Many of the other verses you see on the plans were part of a manners curriculum that I was writing as I went along at that time. Come to think of it, I should probably go through all of it again with my littles!

      The art selections, however, are ones on the AO list. I do not know enough about art to choose my own selections. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts January 10, 2010 at 4:39 am


    I get really organized at the very beginning so that all I have to do is follow orders thereafter! I’m just not very good at this if I have to make a million little decisions throughout the day.

    When that happens, I quit and drink coffee! πŸ™‚

    For Circle Time, I was very inspired by Preschoolers and Peace early on in our educational journey. Kendra views Circle Time as a way to draw in the little ones and let them know how much we love them. That is what really got me going on Circle Time. I didn’t want the little ones getting lost in the shuffle.

  • Reply joelle January 9, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Wow, this is amazing!. I am a wanna be very organized and schedule person (working on it). Seeing your plans inspired me even moee. thanks so much for sharing. I have been wanting to add a circle time but just have not figured out how yet. I think I might follow some of your pattern. Thanks again and I will be following you.

  • Reply Emily January 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Brandy, I’ve never posted plans on my blog, but will consider doing so if I can find the time. I’ve been known to “steal” ideas from time to time myself.

    Yes, we read one poem daily specifically for memorization (it may take a week or longer but we keep at it until she’s got it down) and then another for enjoyment and discussion. Of course, for us, reading poems is sort of like eating chocolates….one leads to another, then another, then just one more, and so on. Like chocolate, there is no such thing as too much poetry! πŸ™‚ Hearing my daughter beg for “just one more…pleeeeease” is music to my ears.

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts January 3, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Emily, do you ever post your plans online? I would love to see them. That is one of my favorite things: seeing what other families are doing. It is exciting, and I also like to steal ideas. πŸ˜‰

    So let me get this straight: you have one poem you are reading to memorize, and then also read a poem a day? Am I understanding you correctly? This is interesting to me because it sounds like a combo of what I was doing and what I’m planning to do…

    Mystie, Who said anything about weird? πŸ™‚ I look forward to seeing your plans on your blog (hint hint). Yes, I picked up Mother Tongue, but we are actually beginning with Harvey’s because that is what I’ve been studying myself. Harvey’s is so basic (i.e., what is a sentence? is one of the first lessons) that I think it’ll be fine, but I look forward to studying Mother Tongue myself during the term.

    You know, I feel like the Specerian Penmanship thing is very daring of me because my son’s printing is by no means exceptional. However, he saw it when I was ordering my Harvey’s grammar (they are from the same publisher) and was so intrigued that I figured it was worth a shot…

    I look forward to hearing how your switch to cursive goes.

  • Reply Mystie January 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    So for grammar did you get the Mother Tongue Cindy recommended?

    Spencerian penmanship — fun! I look forward to hearing how that works. πŸ™‚ I’m switching Hans to cursive copywork this term on a trial basis, because he hasn’t gotten better at writing his free-time letters the correct way and he loves to add flourish to his letters. So, we’ll see if this makes him a little more aware and deliberate.

  • Reply Mystie January 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    “I spend my vacations planning what I’m going to do when I’m not on vacation.”

    That’s not weird, is it? πŸ™‚

    Looks good, Brandy! I’m almost done with my term planning (and printing, and filing, and library visits), also.

  • Reply Emily December 31, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Everything looks great, Brandy. I can tell you put a lot of thought into your planning. Planning out the term is one of the most enjoyable aspects of homeschooling for me so I enjoy seeing what others are doing. Regarding poetry, we read one poem every day in addition to one or two others. Sometimes it’s on a theme, sometimes a specific poet. The poem we read daily is the one I want my daughter to memorize. Often, by the end of the week, she will have done so. You will love Pilgrim’s Progress when you get to it. We take tiny bites, think about what we’re read, then discuss it. Such richness! Have a wonderful term, and I can’t wait to hear how you’re getting along.

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