Have you ever just wanted to simplify your homeschool by not having to stress about the different curricula you could or should purchase? At Mama Teaches Me, we want to empower you to take ownership over your child’s curriculum with them at the centre of it. Go with their interests and things they enjoy! Here’s a way to do just that! I’m sharing my take on planning your homeschool around books. If you find your children LOVE books or you’d like to encourage them to LOVE books then this is perfect! You can also read up on how we set up a story tellers workshop in our Homeschool Community and how can try it too here.
So here’s my Step-by-step guide to Book Based Planning – whilst the planning tips are mainly aimed at 4-6 year olds, you can easily apply the step by step guide when planning for older kids by linking into their level of learning.
Step 1 – Choose your favourite book
This stage is really important, you will know your children’s favourite books that they want you to read again and again, which would be a great place to start. BUT, you will also find sharing your own favourite book with your child just as exciting for them. Here are some great picture books we recommend: (for a a selection of our favourite Islamic Books click here.)
Step 2 – Decide on your focus
Have a read through the book before hand, especially if you aren’t familiar with it. Decide on what you would like to focus on. What stands out that should be addressed and can be addressed for your child’s age level. You could even focus in on one aspect of the story itself. This step is ultimately thinking about what your object is by the end of the week or 2 weeks of focusing on this book. Objectives can be 2-fold. An example could be to be able to retell the story orally, or be able to re-write the story in their own words by the end of the week etc.
Step 3 – Make a spider diagram of ideas
This is the moment you can put every idea you find on Pinterest here – however it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it! So think big for your spider diagram, think of all the ideas linked to the story that you COULD include – but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to. You may actually bring some of these ideas at a later date too.
Step 4 – Things to look for:
The focus can be linked to LITERACY itself or even linked to other subjects too. Here’s a few ideas below:
LITERACY – character, role play, beginning middle and end, setting, speech bubbles, morals, themes, etc. – more on our fairy tale themed planning can be found here.
SCIENCE – Materials, planting, farm life, cooking/baking, etc
ARTS/CRAFTS – creating a small world setting, painting a scene or character, creating character masks,
GEOGRAPHY/HISTORY – where in the world is the story set and when – link to Stories from Other Cultures.
Step 5 – Make your lessons build up for the end goal
This is one of the most important steps. Narrowing down the ideas and making them into 4-5 lessons (or more depending on you, your child’s age etc) is the crucial step in ensuring you haven’t jam packed all your ideas from your Spider Diagram. A way in which to avoid this is by making sure your lessons flow into one another and build on each other for your end objective (See step 2). Ideally this is what your week may look like when teaching 5-6 year olds:
Lesson 1 – Read the Story/Retell the story using role play
Lesson 2 – Focus on character/setting
Lesson 3 – Arts and craft linked activity to help retell the story again and become familiar
Lesson 4 – Retell the story- Beginning, middle and end Writing frame (this can also be done over 2 days)
Lesson 5 – Moral of the story
Puppet shows, sensory play ideas, retelling the story through BIG actions/movement (Cosmic Kids Yoga works great for this too), small world settings, character hot seating, letter writing to characters or from characters, baking linked to the story etc.
Bonus Step – Link back to the objectives or purpose for learning
The best way to eliminate the unnecessary burden of the Pinterest activities is to always link back to the overall objective or purpose of the learning over the week or 2 week based plan. I feel this stage really helps in helping us plan our activities balancing in the writing, role play, arts crafts etc. It’s also a good way to see what was achieved by your child by the end of the session, what more you can focus on the next time, and how best they learn. Use this process as a way of finding out what works for you and your children in your very unique homeschool environment 🙂
You can also watch the video below with more details of the steps above:
YouTube Video: Book Based Planning
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