It’s possible that this title sounds really complicated, so just hang in there with me. I’ll try to make it as simple as possible. Creating blank templates is a step that has saved me hours and hours of planning time over the years. When I started using Nicole’s matrix idea, moving from the big, detailed matrix to a simple matrix to a blank template was the process I came up with that worked for me, and that’s what I’m sharing with you today.
Do Preliminary Planning
This will look different for each family, as well as for each curriculum. For me, “preliminary” means just that: I’m paving the way for when I sit down and schedule the year, but I’m not actually scheduling the year yet. (Still waiting for the books to arrive, plus I’m not ready to spend time on that.) But I want scheduling to be as easy as possible, so there are some things I can do to make that happen.
First, I duplicate an old Average Day Chart spreadsheet and clear out the content so that it’s ready for me to fill in with the new year’s information. I go ahead and add in things that are non-negotiable — like breakfast, or my morning walk. I leave other things that I think will likely stay — such as our morning drill and snack time. I deleted everything else.
I make my charts in Excel. I ♥ Excel. I really do.
Next, I make a weekly chart template for each child. This actually takes a lot of work and is probably one of the more complicated things I do. This year is another extra-difficult year because I’m adding a student and I have to figure out how to make the time work, as well as decide what we’re going to do separately, what we’re going to do together, and where everything is going to go.
So this is where I direct you to Sabbath Mood Homeschool’s entire series on Planning a CM Schedule. What she has there is very thorough and helpful. What I have here is an explanation of how I used Nicole’s ideas to create my own simplified matrix. Creating this simplified matrix is the groundwork for making my weekly chart templates.
So that was how I move from complex to simple and from lots of detail to only what I need to know in order to create templates for our days and weeks.
By the way: in the video, I said that Nicole only had a PDF up, and so I typed my own matrix. That is no longer true! In her post My Matrix she offers a link to a Google spreadsheet that you can use as a starting place.
Creating Blank Weekly Templates
This next step for me is where I get into what I call “pre-scheduling” — because I’m working with subjects like “history” and “literature” rather than specific books or chapter assignments.
In each video, I try and talk a little bit about the why as well as the how, so even if you don’t have children in these specific years, they still might be helpful.
I don’t know that all of you need to watch all four of the videos, however. That seems excessive to me. I would suggest watching the first one, because I explain a lot of stuff there that I assume in the other videos.
Creating a Year 1 Template
Some of you might want to know what “drill” is — I forgot to explain it in the video. Think of it as P.E., and you’re really close.
Creating a Year 3 Template
Okay, so while the Year 1 video was quite long, it enabled me to make this one really short, which is nice. If you have multiple students in one form, this short video will give you a quick way to make a blank template for each student in the same form.
Creating a Year 5 Template
This video was made far too early in the morning, so if my voice sounds sleepy, I apologize. I just couldn’t believe everyone was still asleep (I have a house brimming with larks) and so I took advantage of the time. Here I discuss a bit about why I combine my girls, even though they are in different forms. Etc.
Creating a Year 8 Template
This one will be helpful for those of you with children in the upper years.
Coming Up Soon
I think five videos in one post is quite enough! Goodness! In my next post — and I’m not sure when it will be exactly — I’ll do some final videos in which I explain how I move from blank weekly templates to really, filled-in-and-ready-to-go weekly schedules.
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