Saturday, March 5, 2016

How I Plan for BiblioPlan and Why We Love It

Many of you know that we have been using BiblioPlan for the past 5 weeks. We are really enjoying it! If you don't know what BiblioPlan is, it is a complete lesson plan and book list for a 34-week, literature-based study, for Kindergarten through 12th grade. We are using the Ancients: Ancient and Biblical History from Creation to the Fall of Rome.

What we love about BiblioPlan is this:
  • family learning - all ages can participate at their own level
  • literature based
  • very Charlotte Mason friendly
  • includes geography and mapping
  • includes a timeline
  • suggestions for hands-on activities {although we don't do many of these}
  • Biblically based
  • planning is basically done for me
The spines for this program are the Ancients Companion {a beautiful textbook with lots of pictures and interesting facts. It doesn't read like a textbook to me.}, Story of the World, Volume 1, the Mystery of History Volume 1, Journey Through the Bible, and the Bible. You do not have to use all of the spines; in fact, it is suggested not to use them all, but to choose the ones which suit your family. We are using the Bible, the Companion, Story of the World, and Journey Through the Bible. I have a few extra resources, like First Civilizations, a Cultural Atlas and the Holman Bible Atlas, for my oldest daughter to use.

There are suggested literature readings for each unit, like "The Golden Goblet" and "Timna". We haven't read many of these, but I do intend to start reading one per unit. We have almost completed "Timna".">Timna

Planning the week is super simple! The Family Guide - which is the book of plans - is laid out very well. The 34 weeks are divided into 5 units with 5-8 weeks each. Each unit has pages at the beginning with books lists, resource lists, and memory work options. After those pages, each week has a 2 page spread, with plans for 3 days. This is very doable, although some weeks, we use this for 4 days.

I look through the week's plans on Saturday. I use a highlighter to highlight which books we are going to read and which activities I plan to do. I may write in a few notes, like "copy-work" on Day 1, "notebook page" on Day 2, and "vocabulary" on Day 3, just as a reminder to do them. {Vocabulary is not listed; I use unfamiliar words and words the kids should know.}

We do not do a lot of the extra activities, as most of them are craft projects that will be thrown away soon. However, this week one of the activities is to make a Backgammon game board. I think we will do this because it will be useful and will be played by the kids. If we do an activity like this, we will do it on Friday when we have no readings.

The maps are in a separate book, and I make a copy for all five of the kids to use. I don't expect as much from my 3 and 5 year olds as I do from my 10 and 13 year old, but they do participate.

We also use the timeline, but we don't use the provided images. I have my kids draw pictures instead. I think this solidifies the events and people in their minds more fully.

After reading each book aloud, I ask one child to narrate. They don't know who will be asked to narrate, so this ensures that they all pay close attention. I read shorter passages for my 8 year old, and I ask my 5 year old questions to help him. For example, I read the Bible first. After a short selection, I will ask my 8 year old to narrate what I read. Next, I may read from the Companion and ask my 13 year old to narrate. After we have some discussion and maybe a notebook page, I read from Story of the World and ask my 10 year old to narrate. It works out well.

Our literature readings, such as "Timna", take place after lunch or before bed. Everyone enjoys this time. I allow them to draw, color, play Legos, or do something else quietly while I read. I don't ask for narrations after this reading time.

It may seem like a lot of reading, and sometimes it is, but it never takes us more than 30 minutes to finish the reading portions. I break it up with narration or a notebook page or map, and I don't expect my two littlest ones to sit through the entire reading. I let them draw or color while I read, or play with Legos.

And the planning never takes more than 10 minutes! I love how it is so well laid out and planned for me. All I have to do is pick and choose what we want to do and make a few copies of the maps or timeline.

BiblioPlan is working for our family, and I am so glad I found it!


  1. I have BiblioPlan, one of them anyway. It's an old version. I didn't use it but I probably should have. I'm glad it's working for you.

    In April or May we'll start using From Adam to Us - from Notgrass. I'm excited about that.

  2. I'm so glad you found something that fits your family! If I had a few more kids I would definitely take a hard look at BP. It seems very well suited for family learning. We will be back in the ancients starting next year. I'm looking forward to studying that period with my little guy. We will use Journey Through the Bible too. It's such a helpful book :)