Monday, August 1, 2011

Reprint of August 2008 planning with Total Language Plus entry

As many of you who read this blog regularly know, I am a state representative for Total Language Plus.  We started using the curriculum and it made such a radical change in our homeschool that I looked into representing the company.  It is a great fit for our family! 

When I’m at conventions often the question of planning comes up so I thought I’d address it here for now and future reference.

One of the great things about Total Language Plus is that the planning is so easy.  It’s basically done for you, yet with a lot of flexibility.  Let me show you what I mean by taking you through my planning this year for my 10 year old daughter who will be doing The Cricket in Times Square study guide.

First, I start with the planning grid which is in the front of each study guide.  For Cricket there are six unit’s and 5 sections of daily work (A-E) for each unit so that makes 30 “daily” units of work.  Besides the daily work there are choices in the Enrichment Writing section, sometimes we do lots of these and sometimes just a few.  If we are planning on doing lots I may take 3 extra days per unit or if we are just doing a few I may only allot 1 extra day per unit. 

I also take into consideration my other children if they are doing different studies.  Many times we multi-age and are on the same novel but if they are on different ones I look at how many units they have and may adjust one so that we all end together.  You wouldn’t have to do this but for us it just makes sense to try and start and end new ones around the same time, especially if the next one we will be doing together.  Taking those things into consideration we plan to start the week of 9/2 and end the week of 10/27 taking off the week of 10/20 for a project week. 

So the first week on her planning grid I write 1 A-D, 1PTP.  That means she’s doing 4 days of “daily” work A-D and spending the 5th day of the week writing her paragraph (PTP) from her personal thinking questions.  On the 5th day she would also work on any enrichment/writing that we chose.  Some weeks she will have some and other weeks she won’t.  I also planned the week of 11/3 to have “off” so we’ll have time to finish project or “make-up” anything we missed.  I find it’s always good to have the cushion in there.

Next we look at the overview which is on the next few pages.  This gives all the enrichment and writing choices for the entire study.  I go through with my highlighter and note the ones we’ll do.  Sometimes I decide these and sometimes I let the kids chose, it just depends.  Once I have them highlighted in the overview I simply transfer my highlighting to the page/unit that contains what we’ve chosen.  That way when my daughter gets there she knows what we decided to do.

For Cricket I let my daughter chose some of the “easier” things since this will be her first book in the 4th/5th grade level.  She chose from the projects, #11 eat with Chinese food with chopsticks and #12 make up one sentence fortunes to put into cookies.  She chose to do one of the pictures, #3, draw and color a pagoda.  For the Pen and Paper exercises she chose #6, to write a news broadcast reporting on Chester’s concert.

We always discuss the Personal Thinking questions as we go through the chapter the question relates to.  Each unit she will do one paragraph on a personal thinking question of her choice.  My older children are usually required to write two paragraphs per unit on two different questions.

There is no right or wrong way so keep that in mind as you’re planning.  This is just what I find easy and works for us.  Hope it gives you some ideas and helps your school to flow smoothly.


p.s. If this curriculum in new to you and you’d like to check it out further go to the link at right under links for Total Language Plus or go to categories at right and click on TLP and literature to see some of the other things we’ve done with TLP.  Oh, and if you want to order, I handle the states of MI, IN and OH.  When you go to the Total Language Plus site and put in your state you’ll get me if your from those states.  if you’re from one of the other states you’ll get one of my good friends who will be happy to help you.  I meet them every January for training and networking and they are all great homeschool mom’s that will give you great service too!

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