Since Christina asked how much we plan and what subjects we cover each day I thought I'd post it as a separate post. Bear in mind that these things will change and have changed over time as our kids get older and as we have more children homeschooling.
The picture on the left shows the binder where I store the girls' completed work. You can see the labeled sections down the side divided by subject. It also has pockets where I store a few of their little mini books that they've made and letters from our "pen pals" the Millers. The photo on the right shows my overall schedule for each of the girls divided by day and subject. So for instance we cover:
Monday/Wednesday/Friday: history and Sign language or Spanish in addition to the basics of math, grammar, and bible.
Tuesday/Thursday: science, music, and letter writing in addition to the basics.
We always have math, grammar, and bible plus handwriting. However these things aren't rigid in our homeschool. For math we may practice our times tables, do a workbook page, or play a math game. For grammar we may read about verbs, practice doing verbs around the house (jump, run, skip, hop, clap, sing, etc.), do a worksheet with new vocabulary, and read a story. Frequently handwriting (since they already read and write) is included in letter writing or when they write in their science journals. Danya read about the sun yesterday in her Children's Encyclopedia then drew a picture of it in her science journal and wrote three interesting facts she learned about the sun. That covers reading, science, art, and handwriting all at once.
I don't write down what pages and what specific topic I plan to cover each week, but I do have a general idea a week or two in advance of what I'll be covering. For instance, I get alot of my planning from our Story of the World book. If we are reading about ancient civilizations who hunted and fished we will do math problems about fish or read stories about that civilization for reading time. We will research fish in their children's encyclopedia, Gloria will draw or paint one in her science journal and write down some interesting facts about fish.
Through one of my favorite homeschool how-to books, The Well-Trained Mind, I know that this year Gloria is learning about plants, animals, and the human body. This semester we are focusing on animals and the human body. So each Tuesday and Thursday I move through her My First Encyclopedia book reading the next two page spread about different parts of the human body. (like I mentioned before, I keep a post it note on the current page) We also have an animal book called God's Amazing Creatures & Me! that tells about different animals and links it to a biblical message. For instance, every Zebra's stripes are unique just like our fingerprints and it gives a bible verse about how we are wonderfully made by God. Gloria reads about the animal, reads more about it in her encyclopedia, does a worksheet about it, then draws a picture of it in her science journal and writes something she learned. That covers reading, science, art, writing, and bible!
So, to sum up, I have an overview and a general idea of what will be covered, and some coloring pages, worksheets, etc. prepared and in a file folder ahead of time. I don't plan super far in advance. I like to be able to jump to a new topic if the girls show an interest in it without feeling like I've wrecked my pre-planned schedule. Today we declared a library day to check out the cool science department at a library in Broomfield that we heard about yesterday. It didn't throw our homeschool work off. We'll just finish what we get to in this week's folder. Mark down what we learned in my teacher's record book, and move the rest to next week.