For as many FIAR families as there are out there, there are as many ways to plan your year. Here’s one mom’s routine:

1. Create school year calendar.

2. Review school calendar and select START and END dates for upcoming school year. I officially school for 36 weeks or 180 days; however, I select an end date 40 weeks from my start date. Forty weeks allows for 20 days to play with for vacation, “catch up” or “whatever” days, testing, mental health days ☺ etc. I circle vacation days in pencil and note any days that we will not school due to our family schedule (travel, out of town guests etc.). NOTE: It helps to have the “master calendar” for your family handy when planning.

3. Obtain planning pages for the entire school year.

4. Select 18-20 FIAR titles to row in the upcoming year.

5. Determine the order in which I would like to row the titles.

6. Planning Sheets – Fill in FIAR titles in the weeks during which I plan to row. (We do not row each week. We use non-FIAR weeks for other units/lessons.)

7. Create FIAR Pocket Folders (I have a pocket folder for each title. A pocket folder is a folder in which I store supplemental info/docs.).

8. Quickly review FIAR manual(s) to become familiar with the subjects/topics that will be covered in the titles I have selected to row.

9. Pull information from my Master File (alphabetical accordion file used to store misc. homeschooling articles, worksheets etc.) and insert in Pocket Folders.

10. Search Internet, print supplemental pages and insert in Pocket Folders.

11. Peruse home library shelves to find supplemental titles or items to compliment FIAR studies. Insert supplemental titles/items in applicable Pocket Folder or make a note in the folder if the book/item is too large.

12. Quickly read FIAR manual and add a checkmark next to the lessons I would like to cover. (These are not etched in stone!)

13. Go back to the planning sheets and write (in pen) the topics that I would like to cover for each subject. (Do this for each of the 18-20 titles that I have selected.) For example, for The Duchess Bakes a Cake my plans were as follows: Monday – story disk, feudal system, vocabulary; Tuesday – Language Arts: alliteration, conflict, rising action, climax, denouement; Wednesday – problem solving, consequences etc. (These plans serve as my record for what is actually covered during the year. I check off each topic that is taught as we go along. If a topic is not actually covered, it is circled as a reminder that it needs to be taught at a later time. Any topics that are taught which were not originally planned are added, in pen.)

14. One to two weeks prior to rowing a title, I pull the applicable Pocket Folder to “see what’s ahead.” I note whether I need to reserve any books from the library and do so, if necessary. I make mental notes on what supplemental pages I would actually like to use. I re-file the Pocket Folder.

15. On the Sunday before I row a new title, I pull the applicable Pocket Folder. I set it on the table and it is ready to go on Monday morning. ☺

• I keep a colored Post-It flag “on my page” in my FIAR manual. It is always easy to find my place and I don’t have to waste time searching for the right page.
• I also keep a colored Post-It flag “on my page” in my planning sheets. I can always find the week’s lessons easily.

• It takes approximately 5-6 hours to plan my entire year for FIAR + the other curricula that I use. I do it over one weekend about 2 weeks prior to the start of school. Those 5-6 hours are well spent because it is the only planning that I do for the ENTIRE year.

What do you find that works for you?