Tuesday, May 19, 2015

First grade scheduling

I recently shared our first grade curriculum plans and now we'll talk about scheduling!  We haven't begun year one yet, so I can't tell you how the following schedule is working.  These are my plans for the year, including a schedule of what and when we'll read the AO readings and a daily schedule/routine for getting all the work done.

First, the schedule of readings.  I've only done this for term one so far.

At first, I wanted to schedule certain readings for certain days.  For example, Our Island Story would be read on Mondays, Paddle to the Sea on Tuesdays, etc.  But.  I remembered that I am one who, if we miss say, the scheduled reading for Monday, would probably get a little irritated and it would throw my whole week off!

Thankfully, I came across the idea of looping.  Instead of assigning certain readings to certain days, I put the readings in the order that I would like for us to read them, and we'll just go down the list during our reading times each day.  So, my books are in the following order:

Our Island Story
Aesop for Children
Paddle to the Sea
The Blue Fairy Book
50 Famous Stories Retold
Just So Stories
Burgess Bird Book
Parables of Nature
Herriot's Treasury for Children
D'Aulaire books
(I'll discuss the Shakespeare readings below.)

I wanted to mix up the readings a bit so that 1) the history readings are spread out (this will probably be more helpful when there's more of a mix of World and American history in the coming years), and 2) we're not reading books from the same category all at once, like all of the literature readings at the end of the week, for example.

I am planning to have at least two times set aside throughout our days in which to do our readings.  At the beginning of the week, during our first AO reading time, we'll read from the first book, Our Island Story.  Then, barring no scheduling havocs, we'll read from Aesop for Children in the next time slot.  If we happen to miss Aesop, we'll pick it up the next time we read, even if it's the next day, and we'll just keep going from there.  This way everything stays in order.  We have to make it through the whole list before starting at the top again.

Here's my document for checking off the readings (here is a link to the pdf file):

Each week we'll just work our way down the list, marking off as we go.  I'll keep this handy throughout the term, maybe on a clipboard or something.

This grid came from the AO year one 36-week schedule page.  I downloaded the word document, then copied and pasted the rows for term one into a new document.  I rearranged the rows so that the books are in the order that I want to read them.

A few notes:

~ I moved around a couple of the readings:  "Prince Darling" and "Toads and Diamonds" from The Blue Fairy Book, and "Only One Woof" from Herriot's Treasury.  You can see at the bottom of my table where they were originally.  I moved them in order to keep a maximum of 8 readings per week (the two Aesop readings per week count as one since they're short).

~ For Paddle to the Sea I'm going to use Charlotte Mason Help's (CMH) schedule of this book which means reading Paddle in term one, then reading two chapters of Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography per week in terms two and three.  That's why Paddle is different from the original AO schedule.

~ AO only has half of the Burgess Bird Book scheduled for the whole year; one chapter every other week.  I've heard so many people talk about how the book is so wonderful and just flows if you read it from beginning to end that I've decided we'll read one chapter each week with a plan to finish the whole thing (which will take longer than 36 weeks - we may begin it a few weeks early and finish it a few weeks late).

~ See the Shakespeare row at the bottom with the asterisks?  I plan to begin a "morning" time routine (I hope to keep you updated with our morning time plans throughout the year) consisting of Bible and poetry readings, memory work, possibly Spanish, and a read-aloud or two.  On the weeks that Shakespeare is scheduled, I'm planning to read that as the read-aloud during morning time.  Addy (4) won't be required to sit in during this, but I would love for her to.  It seems that most families read Shakespeare together, so I think this would be a nice way to do that.

~ I mentioned in my first grade plans post that I'm not planning to read Trial and Triumph this year, so that's why it's missing.

Still with me?  I hope!

Now on to the daily schedule!

At first I made a schedule with the actual times that I wanted to do everything throughout the day.  So for example, morning time would be from 8:30 to 9:00, math from 9:00 to 9:15, writing from 9:15 to 9:30, then a break for 20 minutes, etc, etc.


Like I said earlier, if I did this kind of schedule and we got behind, then I may or may not get a little irritated and it would throw the whole day off!

Instead, I'm going with a routine rather than a schedule.  Things are in order, but it's not so particular that we have a certain time of the day for each subject.

Here is the weekly schedule checklist I made for term one:

I'll print this off each week so that I can check off each item and make any notes that are needed.  I may keep this on a clipboard with the readings schedule from above.

A few notes:

~ Notice how I did not assign the actual days of the week:  Monday, Tuesday, etc.  I put day 1, day 2, and so forth, so that if we miss Monday because of sickness or something, then Tuesday turns into day 1.

~ The first block for each day is morning time, which will probably be during or right after breakfast.  Bible is first because I definitely want Addy involved for that, but after that she is free to go if she wants.

~ I put the subjects in the order in which I would like them to be accomplished during the day.  So once we're done with morning time, we'll probably break for morning chores, then come back and Izzy will start with math.  Writing practice is next, followed by one of our AO readings from above, then reading instruction, then the second AO reading.  If we have to take breaks, we have to take breaks.  Of course, I would love to get this all done together, maybe with a short break or two, and be done before lunch.  But, if we only get math, writing, and one reading in before lunch, so be it.  Sometime after lunch we'll continue with reading instruction, then the second reading.  And then she'll get to recorder practice at some point during the day!

~ You'll also notice that next to each subject is a number in parenthesis, for example Math (15).  That's the estimated amount of time that will be spent on that particular subject.  CM was an advocate for short lessons, and I agree with that, so we will be staying close to those numbers.

~ Bible:  AO has certain Bible selections to be read each week, but I am doing something different.  I'm going to be using the selections at Penny Gardner's website, with two days of Old Testament readings and two days of New Testament readings, then a chapter from Wisdom and the Millers on Fridays (I mean, day 5!).  We'll probably just go down the list on her website, but only keep the readings to around 10 minutes per day.

~ I plan to "do school" four days per week with the fifth day being a day of enrichment.  We'll still have a morning time, but instead of all the academic-y stuff, this is when we'll do our art and music studies, drawing lessons, handicrafts, and nature studies...aka the fun stuff :)  I'm not planning for us to do everything listed every Friday.  I mentioned in my previous post about how I plan to rotate these subjects.  We'll see how it goes.  And I hope to keep you updated!

Whoo!  That's my plan and I'm *hopefully* sticking to it!  Have you made your schedule for the upcoming year?  If so, I'd love to hear about it!  Maybe I'll glean some good ideas :)


  1. Everything looks so well laid out. I love how you opted for loops and routines rather than days and times! I always love planning for the year, but I usually only get as far as preparing the book list. Once it comes time to schedule readings the detail becomes overwhelming and I have to stop! :) But I think it's because I know that plans have to be held loosely and now after a few years I have a good feel about what does/doesn't work for us so I don't have to have precise plans. That said, what we do is very, very similar to what you've laid out.

    Are you planning to start before the baby or after? (Sorry if you mentioned that and I missed it) However you do it, I hope the first year goes well for you!

    1. Thank you. I won't be surprised at all if I change the way we do things over the years. I know every family has to find their groove :) And I'm planning to begin before the baby comes - she's due in September and I'd like to begin in July. I think my DD6 is ready and don't want to keep putting it off. This way we can get a month or two in before our days are thrown off for awhile!

  2. You have everything ready for the new year, Angela! I love your thinking ahead. I did the same thing every time I had a new blessing on the way. But even though we aren't expecting a baby in the fall, I am planning on printing next year's schedules by the end of May. ;) We are already looking forward to another year of AO, with a tweak here and there.

    1. I'm getting there! I still have a few specifics to iron out, but I'm pretty pleased with my progress at this point because I can be quite the procrastinator!

  3. (I totally missed this post!)

    I just *love* looking at schedules. *sigh* I'm trying to revamp mine for this year--I want to incorporate my 5yo a little bit more, so I need to change a few things. Thanks for sharing what you're doing! You've given me some ideas!

    1. Thanks! I've changed a few things and, once we're a few weeks in, I'll update. I, too, love looking at other's routines and schedules. There always seems to be something I didn't think of!