Planning: The Course of Study
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Before I can make lesson plans or create assignment sheets I must know what we are actually studying. My two favorite planners for planning our courses is the Course of Study page from the TOS Schoolhouse Digital Planner. Did you know that if you purchase a membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com you get access to all of the TOS Digital Planners? I know I digress but tomorrow I’ll be talking more about the different planners available from The Old Schoolhouse.
Yes, it’s a digital planner but what does that mean? It means that it is a PDF. It is not software like Homeschool Tracker Plus or Homeschool Tracker Online. But the TOS Planners can be printed out or you can just type right into the planner. You can use the SAVE AS to create a planner for each of your children.
When I first start to plan the courses I print out a copy for each of my students. This is like a scratch copy or rough draft. I list out the subjects we need to cover and I fill in all the materials I have on hand to teach that subject.
Sometimes, okay, frequently thanks to the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I’ll have to make decisions about which materials to use now and which materials to put aside to use later. My Course of Study for Supergirl shows that I have 4 items I can use for Bible or Religious Instruction. I have Bible Study Guide for All Ages, Who is My Neighbor, and What on Earth Can I Do. We used each of those programs to write a review and I want to finish all three of them but I can only use one at a time. I also have this lovely Children’s Activity Book that explains the Divine Liturgy.
This is when I have to pray and think through goals. What do I want to focus on with Supergirl? Sometimes it is helpful to write out goals. The TOS Planner, both digital and printed has goal sheets. Donna Young has some nice ones. I am partial to her Marble themed ones.
Once I have chosen what I want to cover and what materials I want to use, I type these into the Course of Study in the digital TOS Planner. I can save the whole planner but instead I “print” just that one page. I print to PDF so that I can easily grab that page when I set up assignment sheets.
The Course of Study is my Big Picture. Using the map analogy it’s zoomed out so all see are are the states and the countries but not the little roads or towns. When I get behind (as I always do) in creating assignment sheets, the Course of Study is my anchor. I can put it up and go oh yes that’s what I forgot to put on Turtlegirl’s checklist.
The Course of study will get modified throughout the year as I add stuff from the Schoolhouse Review crew, we finish stuff or just change direction, but having this Big Picture keeps me from melting in stress when I have to write out an assignment sheet or create a check-off sheet. (We’ll be using the Student Logbook with Turtlegirl and she is so excited. It just arrived yesterday. Look for a review in September!)
Do you a Course of Study sheet or a Goals sheet when you plan? Do you have a favorite?
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