Monday, July 20, 2015

Planning My Principle Approach® School Year- Part 1

As I begin planning for my family's upcoming school year, I'm evaluating how last year went for us. This year, I'm using the evaluation format posed by Homeschool Tracker.

1. Evaluate Last Year


My plan last year:


Teach Dreamer from The Noah Plan® first grade curriculum. Teach Explorer from The Noah Plan® third grade curriculum. Write curriculum for Song Bird from the 5th grade overviews, write curriculum for Artsy Girl from the 8th grade overviews, and write curriculum for Scientist from the 9th grade overviews. (Quite ambitious, eh?)


How my plan changed as the year progressed: 

It didn't go exactly as I had planned. I started out writing lesson plans based off of the overviews for our older three kids, but at a certain point it became too much for me on top of teaching from The Noah Plan® Curriculum for the third and first grades. Add to all that managing a co-op ministry, managing a drama ministry, and the birth of a little baby, the loss of a loved one which resulted in traveling miles over several states, and I fizzled out! 

So, I ended up using the third grade curriculum as a spine for several of our older three kids' lessons- assigning them grade appropriate assignments and readings. Which is fine, because I'm a single individual. Uno. I'm not a whole Principle Approach® school with multiple teachers ya'll. And you know what? I have test results to prove that they are doing well with their education despite that we aren't following The Noah Plan® as purists (as much as I really would like to). :-)

How I feel I can improve the organizing and scheduling for this school year:


I've contemplated this deeply. I started out with making a grade specific planner to accompany The Noah Plan® second grade curriculum for Dreamer. That was actually a fun project for me so I decided to make one for her upcoming third grade year. Then, thinking about Sweetie Pie starting Kindergarten, I decided that I may as well make a The Noah Plan® Kindergarten specific planner. Can I say that I find this somewhat therapeutic? (If you're interested, I'll post on these planners soon.)

As I considered the school year more, I almost decided to toss the whole curriculum. I know, right? What was I thinking?! I sought counsel from friends and acquaintances (about other options), I talked with Cool Daddy, and we prayed. The outcome? We still feel led by the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit) to use The Noah Plan® as a spine for our curriculum.

So, this means one thing. I need to write lesson plans and I need to streamline them for my family (and for myself). So, I'm writing curriculum based off of The Noah Plan® overviews for sixth grade for all grade ranges. I'll explain about how I settled to base it off of the 6th grade overviews later. 

Did my kids accomplish all that I had planned?


No and yes. No in the sense that I had hoped to stick with each grade because I didn't want to feel like they'd be missing out on something. Yes in that they continue to love learning, to grow in their understanding of Scripture, in their personal relationships with our Savior Yahshua, and as a family. Really, it comes down to being flexible and relaxing (I really need to relax a bit... okay... a lot more than I have been lately)

Did I over-schedule or under-schedule?

I think things went well overall in this sense. I was really hoping for some areas in the pilot year of our homeschool co-op's new format to have worked out better: music lessons were dropped, debate was dropped, and a few other things that were especially important to our family. We'll just have to "shop" elsewhere to meet these needs... and maybe, just maybe consider not participating in a homeschool co-op...

Did I build in enough breaks, vacations, and fun family activities?

Yes! We love to celebrate Yahweh's Feasts! They are not only meaningful, they're 7-8 days long! Plus, we took time off to welcome our darling newborn daughter into our family. :-)

What can be done better this year?


Streamlining our curriculum and keeping it blended with the Charlotte Mason approach. And, I need to relax and enjoy it more this year! 

2. The S-M-A-R-T Approach...


I'm keeping the lessons Specific (read as simple and concise); measurable with note taking, journaling/narrating, discussions; attainable with how it best suits my family; relevant to what matters to us; and time-bound with the wise approach of Charlotte Mason's educational observations. 

3. Plan my yearly calendar


This is pretty easy because I'm breaking it down weekly and already have the dates for Yahweh's Feasts down. :-)

4. Lesson Planning


Yep. Moving right along with this. We have a lot of books sitting in the basket waiting for people in this house to open them up, read, and dialog about them. 

So, tell me how your lesson plans are coming along. Or are they? What are you finding helpful? What are you struggling with? I may be able to help ya out in a blog post. :-)



  1. Last year we used the Kindergarten Lesson Book and I taught my 5th Grade and Kindergarten/PreK level children together. I didn't actually like teaching together and we're doing separate lessons this year. I'm not really sure how much I'll be using Noah Plan this year because I wasn't as consistent as I hoped with the lesson planning. This year we will probably end up with mostly workbook for skills work and reading and note booking for the other ones. I love Noah Plan, but found it to be a lot of prep and so it's going to be "supplement work" this year.

    1. Hi Heather,
      The Noah Plan can work well as a supplement for sure. :-) I absolutely get the feeling of it being a lot a of prep work and I think it's because it's written for schools. The dynamics are so different between schools and the style(s) of home educating. I'm hoping to narrow it down for us home educators in the curriculum I'm writing.

      Thankfully, the Principle Approach (the 4 R's) method can be applied to any curriculum. I hope you have a beautiful school year and a lot of fun. :-)