My husband, the organizer, wants a plan for our precious daughter’s kindergarten year that’s coming up this fall. While I would have been content with nature play and finger rhymes, he asked me for a syllabus, a schedule, a well-planned year. This unexpected turn left me a little overwhelmed.
Truthfully, I love putting together curriculum, but getting everything organized and staying organized is not my strong suit. I am planning our Charlotte Mason kindergarten curriculum step-by-step, beginning with the big picture and gradually narrowing in on the everyday plans.
Scheduling a Charlotte Mason Kindergarten
Before jumping into the curriculum, I made a schedule. Instead of just trying to make it from scratch, I worked backwards using the Charlotte Mason Complete Homeschool Planner. I used one of the weekly Charlotte Mason schedule template planning pages and Washi tape to block out subjects that we aren’t going to tackle this year, and isolate days that we want to approach a subject. This visual approach was much easier for me than trying to add subjects and blocks of time.
I left out some subjects completely (writing, language arts, and geography, which we approach by-the-way during the many hours we spend outdoors.) A long piece of Washi tape ran down an entire day when my daughter will be at a homsechool program. And little bits of tape blocked out some days for subjects that we will only approach once a week or so.
With this information, I easily pieced together a Charlotte Mason kindergarten schedule for our days. All of my times are approximations; I’m more concerned with the blocks of time I’ve established than what the clock says when we get to each subject!
Planning the Year
With a schedule in place, I now knew how much to prepare for our laid-back, mostly informal kindergarten. Over the past year or so, I kept a mental list of books that we hadn’t yet read, but wanted to read. These are books from Ambleside Online year 0, and also Charlotte Mason kindergarten curricula from helpful blogs that I’ve found.
The quarter planning pages from the Charlotte Mason Complete Homeschool Planner worked perfectly for this stage in my planning. It gives me room to write book titles or things that we want to accomplish each quarter. I printed off four sets of these sheets so I can plan out our entire year, per my husband’s request.
My mental list of books to include in our kindergarten curriculum was built by paying close attention in Charlotte Mason groups, doing quick pre-reading during our library trips, and reading book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
I’ve also scoured these resources for ideas:
The Bookroom (Facebook Group)
Planning Charlotte Mason Lesson Plans Each Week
I’m excited to get started planning, but writing plans down too far in advance inevitably means that everything will change by then, leaving me to piece together new plans at the last minute! This summer, I’ll spend some time planning using the super-simple planning technique I developed when I was a teacher: Post-it Notes!
When I pre-read, I just make little notes on Post-its about things I’d like to bring to light: maybe vocabulary words, maybe ideas that I can ask subtle questions about, or maybe a little extra background information that my daughter will need to know before we dig in. I just stick that note into the book, and when I’m ready to plan for the week, I transfer my notes over to the planner. This will allow me to plan far in advance without getting too overwhelmed, while still allowing myself flexibility.
I printed off the pages for my planner and put them in a 1-inch binder. The only binder I could find happened to be my old lesson planning binder when I was a public school teacher. I was so shocked thumbing through my old plans: terribly written paragraphs that were used as examples for the writing program I had to follow in that school, lots of fill-in-the-blank pages, and math worksheet after math worksheet. What beautiful, living lessons will fill it now!
My goal is to set up my planning binder so it’s as easy to use as possible. Washi tape dividers allow me to navigate my plans in the midst of lessons. Eventually, I will have lots of weekly planner pages in my binder, as well as schedules, quarterly plans, book lists, etc. Folding a piece of Washi tape on the first page of each new section will make it really easy for me to navigate.
Another trick that I’ll use is hole punching some of my planning sheets on the wrong side (right side) of the paper. I know that this makes some of you cringe, but there is a purpose for this. If you have two weekly planning pages, and hole punch one on the left and one on the right, then they can sit side by side in your binder. This makes it easier to plan, in my opinion, because you can easily reference where you left off the week before. It’s also nice to be able to refer to past lessons without having to thumb through dozens of pages of plans.
I’m sure that I will have some changes to make before our casual Kindergarten starts in the fall, but I’m happy to have an idea of what our days will look like and what we will learn together.