I simplified my homeschool planning for 2013 by entering everything on Google Calendar.
[To be honest, I use my Google calendar for my planning and I haven’t put it to the test with our actual 2013 schedule … and I still love paper calendars … smiles]
But it is an amazing immediate planning tool! It is an easy way to capture all the basic lessons, add all the website-finds and organize the schedule with repeats to fill the weeks and months for a whole year!
For example,I quickly jotted the theme/ subject for each month and put these into the calendar. As I searched out my Famous Artist pictures, biography etc. for the month, I simply copied all the website links, YouTube URLs, PDF files and documents right on the lesson plan on the calendar. I used these details later to create my actual pages and detailed lessons.
A few extra tips for planning Famous Artist studies:
I often use Pinterest for picture searches. Repins add these new finds to my collection. I also right-click and “save image” to my computer and download images to each famous artist’s folder. Quick and easy = online visual record of my searches on Pinterest + a copy on my computer to use as a screen-saver or print out.
How Google Calendar planning works for me ~
- Create a calendar for each child. (Create each calendar in a different color.)
- Plot in all school holidays to create my school terms. (I downloaded the 2013 government school terms as my guideline) You can copy your calendar to any other calendar you create.
- Plan the year with subjects and topics divided across the 12 months. (I do this with good old-fashioned pen and paper first)
- Type in the Nature Study topic, Hymn, Famous Artist and & Famous Composer for every month of the year.
- Enter subjects as an event. In the event mode, I can also add #6, #7, #8, #9 and #10 below.
- Assign a color for each subject. (On the calendar it shows as a colored bar, on the printout it is a small rounded square of color)
- Click for repeated themes or lessons – Google calendar offers daily, specific days each week, all work-days, weekly, monthly etc.
- In the “Descriptions” box, add lessons, chapters & pages to the basic lesson entry. It may be easy to type in the book title for all and then go back to each repeat lesson to add the specific chapter and page numbers.
- Also add website links, documents, files and notes for each lesson in the description box.
- Attach files. I love this feature as I can organize my downloads to each lesson and print out lapbooks, maps, pictures later when I prepare for the month ahead.
- Under Tasks add further details for the day – complete and hand in a lapbook/ do a review or a test.
- Reminders can easily be added in the edit form – either as an email or a pop-up. (I chose a pop-up because I don’t want my inbox cluttered with reminders.)
- I can print out the calendar. You can select daily, weekly, the agenda, or monthly view, or even a specific range of dates. (I must confess I am disappointed that text does not wrap in the month view, and even when I selected the “smaller” print size, it was tiny and difficult to read.) I created events as “all day” rather than schedule the times so that the lesson prints out without the times taking up the space. Tick off the “Add Descriptions” box to have all the extra info printed with the lessons. If printed in color all the events are printed with a small colored block.
If I had typed in the lessons with time schedules, these lessons would be listed with times instead of “All day” and would be arranged in order of their times.
Some other great features:
- My Calendar year plan print out will also become my record of work.
- I can tick off attendance and completed tasks on the calendar as we go along – both on the tasks on the actual Google calendar or on my paper print out.
- With a click I can add my personal plans/ meal plans/ birthdays on the calendar view.
- Drag and drop makes changes simple!
- My calendar on my laptop is available for the kids on the desktop. If children are old enough and have a gmail account, they can log in and access the calendar for themselves. (Just ensure that “modify event” box is unticked if you don’t want them to make changes)
- I can take my calendar everywhere on “smart” phone. This is useful when booking appointments or checking upcoming themes when browsing in the library.
I must admit that mid-year I went and bought the Homeschool Tracker Plus program hoping to use it to plan and record my highschooler’s academic year, but it is just way too complex for me. Even though I used the forum, I kept getting muddled entries, or “loosing” a whole year’s plans for a subject … and I gave up. (I must spend some more evenings watching their training videos and I still would like to master the program as I believe that it will be a valuable tool.)
But right now, I have easy, quick, detailed and comprehensive plans that work for me on Google calendar.
Do you use Google calendar? What other Google calendar planning tips and tricks do you have?
- This post at simplehomeschool.net started the idea for me ~http://simplehomeschool.net/using-google-calendar-for-lesson-plans/
- A very practical look ~ http://fivestarhomeschool.blogspot.com/2012/10/google-calendar-for-homeschool.html