OLLY is based on individual learning plans for each year. When getting started in planning your school year, it’s best to start with each student individually.
Step 1: Set up a special time to sit down together and brainstorm a list of things he or she wants to learn in the coming year. Don’t worry if it sounds “schoolish,” just write it all down. If you need or want to add other items that your student didn’t think, of add those to the list too.
Step 2: Create courses. Now is the time to take all of your brainstormed items and fit them into courses that you will create. A course does not have to be a full year or semester long. It can be any length, so those of you who prefer to use unit studies can simply create a course for each unit study.
For example, if your daughter brainstormed the following list of things to learn:
- Ocean Science
- Hula Dancing
- Legos, blocks
- Painting, copying
- BOB books
You could create an individual course (or unit study) on each of the science topics, or you could combine doctoring, ocean science and insects into one course called “2nd Grade Life Science.” You could also create a “2nd Grade Physical Science” course to include weather, blocks and anything else that might come up later. Painting and copying could become a course called “2nd Grade Art” or simply “Painting and Copying.” It’s entirely up to you how many courses you create, and what they are called.
You may also designate more generic “Subjects” for each of your courses if you need to submit reports or other paperwork to school administrators. The reason for this is that certain subjects, such as “Science,” may have multiple courses assigned to one student, such as “2nd Grade Life Science,” along with mini courses on “Weather,” “Gemstones” and “Kitchen Science.” A generic subject like “Art” could encompass multiple courses, such as “Painting,” “Sculpture,” or “Art History.”
Step 3: Create lesson plans. Lesson plans are your detailed, day-to‐day plans for how to learn course material. This is where assignments are created.
You can create one lesson plan that integrates all the various books and resources you will use, or you can create separate lesson plans for different resources. This is helpful if you want to auto-generate assignments for different textbooks that will be used simultaneously.
For instance, if you have a course called “Language Arts,” and want to use assignments from a spelling book, assignments from a grammar book, and a list of books to read, simply create three different lesson plans: one for spelling, one for grammar and one for books to read. This gives you more flexibility for scheduling the assignments later.