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    Creating Weekly Schedules for the Entire Year (A Planning Post)

    July 20, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    We already made a blank weekly template for each student. Today, then, I’m just going to talk through how I, personally, use this to craft a weekly AmblesideOnline schedule. Obviously, there are other ways to do this. So think of this as an idea, not the Absolute Right Way. I know some of you wonder why I keep saying stuff like this, but just know that some people need to hear that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    In the summer, I map out an entire year of AmblesideOnline assignments, divided into days, for each of my students. A lot of work, but totally worth it.

    This post isn’t going to have a lot of words. It’s mainly videos. I hope I’ve made things clear, but if not, feel free to ask questions (and share ideas!) in the comments.

    I only made videos for two years โ€” one and seven. The reason for this is because I think you will get the idea from these two, and making four videos would be totally overboard.

    It’s probably most important to watch this first video, because I give a lot of background on how to plan for theย whole year, which is, after all, the title of this post.

    This next one is for Year Eight. Sorry the ending is so weird. I was taping while my children were gone, and they came home unexpectedly at the end!

    And, yes, I did eventually figure out a couple of the mistakes you see me make in this video. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Anyhow, this video is just an example of how I take a week of AmblesideOnline assignments and plug them into a template so that it all fits and is scheduled in advance. I know that some of you really wanted to see how I handled scheduling the upper years, so here you go.

    One thing I want to mention is that while I do flex categories on a regular basis, this Year 8 video was extreme because I was working with a lot of introductions. If I had thought more about this in advance, I would have shown how I planned the second week, which would have been more representative of the actual way I do things. But I think this is good enough.

    I can imagine some people wonderingย about me removing a poetry time and filling it with something else. The truth is that we also do poetry in Circle Time, so I’m not worried about removing one slot in his week on occasion โ€” we usually doย more poetry than is prescribed, if that makes sense.

    I think that’s all. And now you know it took me almost half an hour to plan a single week of Year 8. Yikes, right?? Well, the good news is that the first couple weeks are the hardest, and then it goes a lot faster โ€” at least until you begin a new term and start working with new books again.

    Hope this helps!

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  • Reply Melissa Frederiksen August 4, 2021 at 7:05 am

    Hello! Are the videos available somewhere else? For me, each video is a black box that says, “This video unavailable.” Thanks!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 4, 2021 at 8:20 am

      My guess is that your browser is running some sort of ad blocking software — or maybe parental controls? These can affect embedded YouTube videos.

  • Reply Are You Sabotaging Your Charlotte Mason Homeschool? | Afterthoughts October 17, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    […] used them (in my own way โ€” you can read about how I create blank templates and then use them to plan a whole year if you like) to implement AmblesideOnline effectively. I really couldn’t have taught four […]

  • Reply Julia Trotter July 30, 2018 at 3:45 am

    Hi Brandy! Thanks for sharing these videos. I’m curious how your “Average Day” schedule reflects or takes into account the fact that on different days of the week you have scheduled the order and number of subjects slightly differently. Do you end up making a full “Average week” schedule at any point? Or do you just refer back to each child’s detailed weekly lesson schedule and keep your “Average Day” as a basic reminder of how things flow? I like the look of that schedule, but I feel like I’d forget the little differences of each day, so am trying to figure out the best way to use your template! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  • Reply Christine J. February 12, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    What do you do for copy work? Do you just assign different Bible scriptures? What do you do for drill? What is drill? Do you have a post about your circle time? Thanks so much for posting all this!

  • Reply Seven Quick Takes: Back to (Home)School Edition - Little Drops of Water September 16, 2015 at 5:25 am

    […] doing and having to write in my alternate choices – a bit messy. I read/watched some of Brandy’s planning series, and while she does a lot more detailed scheduling than I do, I did like the idea of copying and […]

  • Reply Amanda July 27, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Have you ever alternated the inspirational subjects rather than do a Fine arts Friday? We have another day with morning out of home lessons, so I can’t give a morning to those subjects. I could add them on to that afternoon, but I like the way CM alternated. Just curious. I need to go back and read your post on FAF.

  • Reply Amanda July 27, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Thanks for this! Watching Nicole’s videos and reading her posts, again… and then watching your videos has really helped solidify this in my mind. Wheels turning and planning commenced!

  • Reply Lisa A July 25, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Brandy, thank you! I have never been able to wrap my head around weekly planning. I could get the big picture stuff and plan for each year and each term, but every time I tried to get into individual weeks I felt like I was walking around in a dense fog and so I would just give up and muddle through as best I could. After watching your video I think I’ve got it! I’m so excited to try it out! Thanks again.

  • Reply Tanya Stone July 21, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Thank you for this. I just have a couple questions for you as I plan to dive in and make my plans.
    1) Do you do a daily chart or is that what your average day chart is for? My problem is I don’t really have an “average day”, so that type of planning won’t work for me. I sort of did one based on your plan for the three days of the week that could be called average. But even those aren’t consistent–certain subjects only need to be done one day a week, other two, and the juggling got interesting. So when you have your weekly schedule, do you make daily schedules?
    2) That kind of runs into my next question. I haven’t made separate ones for the kids because I like to have everything in one spot where I can see it. So I’ll take the AO PDF weekly plan and just tweek it–joining cells (I use Numbers instead of Excel, same concept though) for joint lessons, moving rows around for Family subjects vs individual, etc. For the actual week in question, I have it divided up into daily schedules, and on each there are columns for each child. So there’s one sheet for Monday showing what we all need to do, one for Tuesday, etc. I like the idea of what you did for each child, but not sure if that would be better than what I’m using. I can’t say mine has worked–define “worked” LOL–but it’s been ok for me. Have you ever done it that way and if so, why do you find this works better?

    Sorry if that was all confusing, it would be easier to show you what I mean but I’m not tech savvy enough to do that here. LOL

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 21, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      We have a lot of average days, so I find that the Average Day Chart has been enough for us. Our Tuesdays are slightly different, but they are close enough to the rest of the week that we just make a couple adjustments. Our Fridays are completely different, and they aren’t even consistently different. I think this year I’m going to end up with two separate Friday schedules — one when we are with friends for science, and one when we’re on our own!

      Anyhow, I don’t know if I’m answering your question very well. The short answer is: Average Day Chart + individual weekly spreadsheets has been enough for us so far. Of course, that might always change! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply Tanya Stone July 22, 2015 at 6:48 am

        Ok, good enough. ๐Ÿ˜€ Basically I need to adjust the ideas to fit our family. I started to make individual weekly schedules last night to experiment, and while it helped me better see what each child was doing–which helped me move things around–it was harder for me to see the big picture and make sure I wasn’t overlapping times when I needed to work with a child. But since we have just three days that could be called average, and the children aren’t doing everything on all three days, that didn’t work either. So I’m thinking I’ll have to make daily charts like before just so I can see the spread for each child, at least for those three days. The other two days it’s almost all family school or school with friends (sort of co-op-ish). Thanks!

        • Reply Brandy Vencel July 22, 2015 at 3:13 pm

          Yes. Definitely adjust for your family! I think managing to see that big picture all the time is key. That is what makes the beginning of each year so difficult, I think — to some extent, we have to *discover* the big picture because reality doesn’t always match up with our plans.

  • Reply Brenda U July 21, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    So the only writing you have him doing is the “Keep” section of Common Place, BOC, Nature Journal, and the other two journals? Do you require other written narrations and if so, when and where do they fit in?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 21, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      He’s been doing daily written narrations, and so the times listed would include time spent narrating — written or otherwise. Last year, he always chose the style of narration and the book he narrated.

      This year will be interesting. We’re going to be starting Lost Tools of Writing, and I’m not sure exactly how it will work out — how it will influence what we are doing or how we do it. I feel like we’ll have to do a couple lessons and see what we think. I know he’ll end up writing a bit on the weekends, but I don’t want it to take up too much time. I think there is a good chance I’ll be making some adjustments to how we do writing about a month into the year.

      All of that to say: I can give you a clear answer yet! I’m sorry about that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Cameron July 20, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. I just finished typing up all 36 weeks for my four students. It took me forever! I did not know you could cut and paste and insert from the AO homepage. That would have saved me a lot of typing. However, I am excited to use this knowledge to plan in the future. I tried it out and it works… Yeah! I am curious how you do your prereading for school. Do you try and preread over the summer or do you follow along slowly, but ahead of your kids? With a year 7, 5, 2 &1 next year I am overwhelmed with how much there is to preread, really for the older 2. Anyhow, thanks for this post.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 21, 2015 at 8:24 am

      Yes, I bet you ARE overwhelmed! So here is my secret: I only preread for my oldest child. Occasionally, there is a new book for one of my younger children, but that has been a rarity, and since I was usually reading them aloud, I didn’t pre-read.

      I tried doing summer pre-reading once, but it didn’t work very well for me. Perhaps if I had been disciplined about doing narrations after each reading it would have been better, but I found I didn’t remember very much when it came time for my student to narrate and discuss. So now I only stay about a week ahead of him. I find that reading it slowly and participating in the discussion with him solidifies it all in my mind enough that I’m able to do well with my younger children when it comes time for them to do the same books later on.

      I really didn’t start diligently prereading until about Y4 because before that I was reading most things aloud. I have since learned that there are benefits to pre-reading even something you are reading aloud but I wasn’t aware of that at the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Kim July 20, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I see at the bottom of your schedule you have Keep section for commonplace book, nature journal, BOC (just curious what this is)… Is this something the year 8 child is keeping on their own? Thank you

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 21, 2015 at 8:19 am

      BOC = book of centuries ๐Ÿ™‚

      And, yes, he keeps them on his own. I trained him when he was younger in keeping a variety of notebooks so that sometime around this age he’d be able to be self-directed in them. It worked really well for him! We’ll see about my other children. ๐Ÿ™‚ The book The Living Page has a lot to say about keeping these kinds of notebooks.

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