Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Year 1- How We Fit It All In

This post might be helpful for those who are using my curriculum. It can also help Ambleside users who wonder how to fit everything in. Currently, I am doing year one of our curriculum with my last child. This will be the third time around for me. (My two oldest went through this year together.) The above daily checklist is what I am using for this term. It shows what each of our days look like in a nutshell. I simply check off boxes as I go. I use this template for all 12 years of school lessons. Older children check off their own lists. This means I only have to plan once per term and I don't have to write down page numbers every week. You can click on the image to make it larger. If you would like to use the blank template you can download it here .

This post is part of a homeschooling meme about schedules and routines.

one step at a time...


  1. I'm still at least two years away from Year 1, but I was interested by your statement that you did your oldest two in Year 1 together. How do you decide when that's appropriate, and how old were each when you did it? And did they continue working together?

    I always vowed I wouldn't drag an unready younger boy along like my mother did with my younger brother and me, but that was with a very visual/spatial learner and a very workbooky early curriculum.

    My older son, who is fifteen months younger than my older daughter, is extremely verbally oriented and of course I plan to do a literature-centered approach. Since they always listen to the same stories now, it seems like it would make sense to keep them together for almost everything at least until they are able to work independently.

    My younger two are twins, so I really expect to keep them together. But I have sometimes seen people advise against combining children. How did you feel it worked out over the long haul?

  2. Thank you so much for all that you share! This year I'm following your curriculum in many areas. We are enjoying it very much. And these organizational tools are what are making it happen for me!

    I truly appreciate this so much!

  3. bessiejoy,
    You are welcome!

    queen of carrots,
    I started the two together in year 1 but separated them the following year. They were 23 months apart and I felt the gap was too wide. I also wanted my oldest daughter to study the 20th century in high school. She wouldn't have had time if I had kept her back in year one, so I moved her up to my curriculum's year 2 when she was in 3rd grade by slowly combining a few things over time.

    If they had been only 15 months apart like yours, I would have definitely kept them together. It makes planning easier and they have fun learning together. A verbal child especially likes the interaction.

    I really don't think a younger child will feeled dragged along if you are truly applying a CM literature based curriculum. It is just too enticing for boredom or frustration to set in. He may not remember as much, however, if you begin him at a younger age than recommended.


  4. What a great template. I will definitely file this away for future use. :) Thanks for sharing.

  5. Your template is even easier than mine. I don't know how my dc would get by if I didn't write down the page # for the day. I like how you have down the amount of time each entry should take. Does each of your dc keep track of the time themselves?

  6. Anonymous25.9.08

    Hi Linda,
    This is so interesting. How old are your yr. one students, usually? Can you share how you use this? I hope that isn't a silly question! What are the numbers across the top for? And what is you curriculum? I am new to your site, sorry so many questions. Answer when you have time, no hurry.

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

  7. looks very nice and organized as always! :) Glad you did the Homeschool Memoirs.It's been a lot of fun for me.


  8. Ms Lindafay

    Thanks so much for sharing. I am trying to implement CM methods with my 12 yo son and I seem to be all over the map usually. So this was a big help and much encouraging. What is "complce" and how do you use it?

  9. I have an 8-year-old and we are still in year one in the CM reading. Listening is very hard for him. I suspect it is a hard-wiring problem, not just a listening problem, as he often asks questions that show he has heard or interpreted a word or phrase incorrectly. I know that especially for HIM, it is important that he really work hard at learning to listen and comprehend, but it is so difficult for him. It is realy WORK, more so than for his cousins who beg "Tell me a story please!" He can comprehend much better if he reads it himself (and he is a very, very good reader), but he has poor vision and even with glasses, his eyes tire easily and he misses lines, and it is necessary for him to take "listening" breaks, and he understands this. The most interesting thing I have read to him has been Winnie the Pooh, which seems young for him, but he is very interested in that, more so than anything else.

    Do you have any suggestions for a child such as this? Thank you, Jodie

  10. Do you schedule in field trips at all? I plan a field trip most Fridays that have to do with what we are learning. Last week we were learning about Jamestown and friendship with the Indians and we went to a living Cherokee Ancient Village.

    In two weeks we will be discussing the stars/universe and I want invite either a local woman teacher that went through NASA training, a star gazer with an 11 inch telescope who will come to the group for free, or our Air and Space museum.

    A couple of weeks after that, we will be talking about Jesus being the Bread of Life and I want to schedule a tour of Wonder Bread.

    It helps that I am the one that plans these things for our group because I gear it to my lessons. :)


  11. farmnwife,
    The page numbers are already on the 36 wk schedules so I just give them a copy of 12 weeks at a time and they refer to that along with this chart. In this way, I don't have to rewrite page numbers.

    I help the younger ones watch their time, but around 9 years of age they keep track of their own time with a timer. They like this.

    Year one is for 1st or 2nd graders. it is based on Charlotte Mason's ideas. I pieced this curriculum together myself with the help of many internet sources. You can read more about it by clicking on the curriculum link at the top of my home page. The numbers across the top stand for weeks. We have 3 13 week terms a year.

  12. Jodie,
    I wish I knew more about your situation. I can only give some general ideas that come to mind from what you have told me. If my child had these issues, I would take some of the unnecessary books out of the curriculum and use only the cream of the crop. I'd spend the needed time with him to help him understand as much as I can. I would make sure that all the reading sessions are VERY short (no more than 15 to 20 minutes) and vary the subjects so that he can get up, do something different and rest his eyes in between. For example, after he reads a book for 15 minutes, he narrates aloud while standing. This gives his eyes a rest. Or he could go on a nature walk with you before journaling in his nature book. This would help his eyes to focus at a distance rather than close up for awhile. Play math games in between reading sessions but use objects and a dry erase board. Write big. Don't let him use the computer very much.

    I rarely schedule a field trip. We would never finish what we have on the agenda if we did this every Friday.Ours are more spontaneous and occur kind of naturally. If something happens to be coming up that fits with our studies, we do it. Living on a farm takes care of many of those field trips ; )Sounds like you two have had some fun trips together. Hope you had a great summer. DH is raising goats as a side business right now with the kids to help out with the translation business. I can tell he is enjoying it. It gives him a break from the computer sometimes.

  13. Lynda,
    Where did you find complce?

    That refers to our commonplace book that my older children begin around 12 years of age. I have some posts about this on the sidebar under the categories. We love these books.

  14. Thanks Linda, sounds like we are doing about all we can. I have found that stopping frequently, like every paragraph or so to let him regurgitate (or process in some way) what he has heard, helps. But it's slow going. He is getting better at it. Jodie

  15. I have been reading your blog for awhile and have thoroughly enjoyed it. However, of all your ideas, curriculum, ect., that have been helpful, this one tops them all. It has given my boys (11,8) motivation, organization and self-sufficiency. They like the independence and it helps keep them on task! Thanks so much for sharing this!