Hello my friends, and Happy October! Boy, it's a crazy-windy autumn day here in New England, and many local communities lost power overnight! Thankfully - *knock on wood* - we did not lose power on my street, so we're simply listening to the fierce wind howl, watching the colorful leaves whirl past our windows, and wondering at the beauty and power of a blustery autumn day ...
Anyhoo, I took some pictures of my lesson planner recently, in order to share how I'm merging our Oak Meadow curriculum with our weekly homeschool rhythm and my own seasonal homeschooling plans. Since I tend to get fairly wordy when I share things like this, I thought it best to post my pictures here rather than over at my social media sites. Actually, I'm sure I'll post some of it over there, too, but here is where I can get into the real nitty-gritty!
So as you see above, I'm using a rather straight-forward lesson planner this year. It's made by Blue Sky Planners and I purchased it at Target back in August. Mind you - AFTER I had already purchased a darling, smaller lesson planner at Staples - also made by Blue Sky - and in the interest of economy, perhaps I should have stuck with my original choice, but there are two things I prefer about this particular planner:
Larger format -- > room for more details!
Hard covers (front and back) -- > easier to write in!
Unfortunately I can't find this exact planner online - I believe they are sold exclusively at Target and are no longer in stock - but this one at Amazon is very similar - as well as more colorful!
(Fyi, I'm using the smaller planner as a place to record extra weekly notes.)
To give you a closer look at the inside of this planner, here is this week's spread, open on my desk this past weekend:
I'm not a huge fan of the blue-grey design, but this spread gives me a solid template for planning out what we'll be doing (or hope to be doing) each day of the week.
Best of all - and an absolute MUST in any lesson planner I purchase - the blocks are LINED! I love how they keep my handwriting neat and tidy.
A few more pics of the spread:
I added a little washi tape for fun and a sticker to highlight this week's seasonal theme.
In addition to our traditional first grade curriculum (Oak Meadow), I like to weave into our week my own style of seasonal homeschooling. I've talked about this concept many times before, so I won't bore you with the story of how this came to be our thing - but basically, I work off an outline of 52 weekly themes, and each of these themes reflect a particular nuance of the current season.
My primary goals for seasonal homeschooling are this:
• organizing meaningful (and memorable) family activities
• forging a connection between nature and home
• instilling in my children an attitude of wonder and respect for the world around us
• increasing our knowledge of and comfort in our own local habitat
• linking the rhythm of the natural year with the liturgical calendar whenever possible
Really, I see "seasonal homeschooling" as more than just a way of teaching my children - I see it as a whole family lifestyle. Like nature itself, I repeat most of my themes year to year, but I try to tweak our activities to reflect my kids' changing interests and abilities.
Back to the planner then, and here's a little peek at our week! I like to use the first column (after the calendar) for recording my seasonal ideas. I like to keep them right up front! Our theme this week is "The Magic of the Autumn Woods."
We didn't "do school" on Monday as it was a holiday and everyone (Daddy, brothers) was home. Instead we took advantage of glorious autumn weather and explored the changing woodland habitat around us.
On Tuesday morning my folks and I took Little Bear to a local apple orchard.
This tied in nicely with our Oak Meadow science lesson this week (observing plants and seeds). At home we took advantage of the brisk and bright fall day to scour our yard for small twigs for future craft projects. (We're making up a nature treasure chest.)
Yesterday we attended our weekly nature class at a local Audubon sanctuary ...
The kids and teachers searched the woods and fields for spiders and their webs, and I wove a funny little arachnid into our afternoon story time . Apples from the orchard were served alongside!
As I mentioned at the start of my post, we had a crazy rain-and-wind storm today, so our outside time was limited. (We quickly ran out to dig up a plant to sketch, filled the bird feeders, and grabbed the mail!) Tomorrow's weather promises to be much better, and so as "homekeeping day" during "autumn woods week," we will ...
• spend some time tidying things up - particularly toys!
• open up the windows to let in all that fresh, rain-swept air
• sweep our front steps and back deck of fallen leaves and debris
• polish our wood surfaces with some natural, lemony polish! :-)
(Over the weekend we will have an evening bonfire to take care of larger branches and take a woodland walk as a family before Sunday lunch.)
Well my friends, that in a rather large nutshell is a tour of my lesson planner! I thank you, as always, for stopping by and if you have any questions at all, please drop a comment below. As ever, I'm slow on replying (and posting ...) but I am trying my best to keep up! I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your autumn whatever it brings to your world. I have more blog posts in mind for the upcoming months - including a series of Late Autumn and Holiday Teas!
So please stay tuned and I thank you for your patience! Take care of yourselves and your loved ones and I will see you here again sometime soon ... ❤