If you use the Weaver Curriculum, this article will help you immensely with planning your lessons. You might get a great deal out of it even if you don't use the Weaver!
Many new users of the Weaver Curriculum feel overwhelmed when they start, especially if it is also their first year of homeschooling. If you are not already a member of the u_weaver Yahoo group, you should join--you'll get lots of help there!
If you are feeling overwhelmed it will only be because you are trying to make big changes in your life and this is all so new to you. It's NORMAL! Any time you feel like it's all too much--stop! Take the kids somewhere to play while you take in the sun (or whatever floats your boat). After you've had a day or two to regain perspective, start again. If you've been inspired about some change you can make--go ahead and try it. You are allowed to run your own school your own way!
Now, about planning those lessons. The idea behind the Weaver Curriculum is that the Bible sets your course; everything follows from the content matter in whatever passage you are studying. Obviously, this means that you plan the Bible lessons first. Most of the time (but not always) the author, Becky Avery, scheduled the Bible lessons in the Day-by-Day for two days each--the first day you teach the lesson and the second day you review the same lesson. I found it useful to teach the lesson on the first day and then work on a memory verse the second day. Sometimes if the Bible lesson was long I split it into two parts, one part for each day. Occasionally, Becky scheduled the Bible lessons for only one day each--I think because she didn't want to stretch a chapter out any farther. This tells me you can choose to limit your Bible lessons to one day each without any problem, and is one reason why I decided to make the second day a memory verse day. By the way, I didn't choose a different memory verse for each Bible lesson--but you could if your kids are capable and if you are one who tries to memorize whole chapters. And also by the way, you can pick different memory verses than Becky suggested if you want! So, plot out all your Bible lessons for the whole chapter before doing anything else.
ALWAYS USE A PENCIL when planning lessons because you are sure to want to change something somewhere! Also, plan for the oldest child first and use their lesson plan as a guide for the others so that as often as possible their objectives can be coordinated. Can you guess why? Because the oldest child is likely to have the most objectives to cover and it will be easier to skip a subject on some days for the younger children.
By the way, I found it extremely helpful when planning math and phonics and penmanship for my younger child two years after the older child to just use the older child's planner records as a guide to content and sequence. (They don't need to match Bible lessons.)
The subject that most often relates directly to the Bible lesson in the Weaver is Science or Social Studies, so plan those next. Becky scheduled Science and Social Studies on alternate days in the Day-by-Day and that works--to a point--because this is a unit study where everything is related. However, a wise lady pointed out to me once that it is not necessary to do that. Sometimes it works better to thoroughly cover the Science aspect first, and then the Social Studies aspect (or the reverse depending on the content). If you find it overwhelming to alternate these subjects, you can make it much easier on yourself by doing one first and then the other.
Generally speaking, the objectives in a subject are listed in the order in which they should be taught (they often build on each other) so you should add them to your lesson planner in the same order. If you find that a given objective would fit with a different Bible lesson better than the one it would be scheduled with if placed in the exact order--just skip that subject for however many days you need to OR mix up the objectives (unless that just doesn't make sense) and sometimes plan nothing at all for that subject.
Here is where you can be flexible; if you need to skip many days of a subject in order to place the objective with the best Bible lesson, you can insert the other subject instead. In other words, you can have this kind of sequence: Science/ Social Studies/Science/Social Studies/Social Studies/Social Studies/(nothing)/Social Studies/Science, etc. Many times the Science and Social Studies objectives do not have a direct relation to the Bible lesson so it doesn't matter on what day you teach it. Therefore, schedule the objectives that do match first--then fit in the remaining ones.
When you visit the library to look for books on the subject matter, don't be surprised if you can't find those that Becky recommended. Keep in mind that the Volumes were written years ago and that the books she included on her lists were probably old then! Not to worry; just look for modern books on the same theme. You will, of course, have to do your own assessment about content--screening out books with an evolutionary slant, etc. When I evaluated books to list in the Weaver Curriculum Canadian Supplements I did my best to avoid questionable books. (I read every last word!) When I did include one that had evolutionary content it was for a very good reason, and I pointed it out. When you find really good books on the subject matter, consider whether you could just as easily use it instead of Becky's objectives. I know that sounds sacrilegious
By the way, this is one place that Dad can have a part in your home school. Why not let Dad be the one to read (at least sometimes) to the kids? From experience, I can tell you--kids love this attention and will remember what Dad read to them for years! My adult kids and their dad are still talking about the Hobbit and the Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings! For my part, I read Canadian history stories to the kids over lunch--sometimes we sat at the table for hours! We all learned so much from this, and they developed an excellent understanding of the English language to boot. They both fancy themselves writers now, too. Probably the most important thing you can do in your home school is read, read, read!
The Weaver Curriculum also includes Language Arts objectives that correspond with the Bible, Science and Social Studies lessons--but there aren't very many of them. When there are LA objectives, plot them where they fit content-wise. Then add in around them whatever other LA resources you are using.
While you are still in Weaver mode, look for Becky's suggestions on field trips, health and safety, observation projects, vocabulary activities, creative writing, and so on. Plot these where they fit. If you think of something you could do that Becky didn't mention--ADD IT IN! Or at least make a note about it--there are pages in the Home Educator's Lesson Planner/Student Record for this. And do it at the moment you think of it, because you'll forget otherwise.
If you and/or your kids are reading books related to the Bible lesson subject matter, plot them to match if you can. (For example, if Jonah gets mentioned in a Bible lesson and you have a reader about Jonah, that's a good day to read it.) Don't worry if you cannot do this--not everything has to correlate! Life is just not that simple. But you'll be surprised how often the Creator does work things out in this way. Go with His flow.
Here's a related tip: when the opportunity arises during the course of a day to teach something--add it to your lesson planner as if you had planned to teach it all along! For example, if you decide to make a double batch of muffins today and you show your child how you multiply fractions (2 x 1/2 a cup = 1 cup) while doing so--that's worthy of going into your lesson planner as a math lesson. If you had to make an emergency visit to the hospital because someone nearly cut off their finger--that's worthy of going into your planner as a health and safety lesson! And if you discover your child drawing pyramids at bedtime on a day you studied about Egypt--that's worthy of going into the planner as an observation project! I call these "moments of serendipity."
Once you have squeezed everything you can out of the Weaver Volume, put it aside and schedule your other subjects--math, piano, physical education, etc.
Plan the lessons a week or two before you plan to teach each unit (while you are still teaching the current unit). This allows you time to study and internalize the concepts that are to be taught and also provides time to get to the store for supplies if necessary. This way you'll always be three steps ahead of the game. If you find it too much to hold in your head at once, there is no shame in letting the kids have a few days off Weaver while you plan for the next unit. Any of the other subjects they keep on doing (math, phonics, spelling, and penmanship, for example) can be listed alone on a planner sheet. You might even find everyone more eager to get back to the Weaver lessons after a short break, or even be pleasantly surprised to find your kids begging for them!
Think about joining my Yahoo group to ask questions and post comments about the Weaver Curriculum Canadian Supplements, Home Educator's Lesson Planner/Student Record, Readings in Canadian History, ICANSPELL, Millennium Time Line System, and the Microsoft Word Seminar--or any other topic included on my website.
What did you think of this article? Do you disagree with anything I said? Did I overlook anything important? Send me an e-mail to have your say.