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Thread: Becky Jane's Notes on Beyond Planning

  1. #1

    Default Becky Jane's Notes on Beyond Planning

    I need some help planning Beyond!! My daughter and I have tried a few different methods and it is just not coming together for us. I did a search using the word "plan" and found a thread from February where you gave a link for a thread that Becky Jane did on how she would plan a unit, but I am not able to access it with the link that was given (I was denied ). Could you post this link again or tell me how to access it? Thanks so much!!
    Wife to Jack; Mom to Caleb (17), Elizabeth (12), Faith (10),
    Annika (8), Eliana (6), Josiah (4), and Anderson (Almost 2)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default I think this is it, Stacy:

    Many of you have compared FIAR to Beyond FIAR and made the astute observation that FIAR neatly packages its lessons into a separate subject for each day -- 5 days a week. And unlike FIAR, Beyond gives you a bevy of different subjects (some being more present in certain books than others) and no specified day on which to do them. This is true!

    When you are using a chapter book unit study (and if you have chosen to purchase and use Beyond FIAR that is indeed what you are using ), there is no way to neatly extract a lesson in all five subject areas out of each chapter. I suppose it could be done, but the lessons would be forced and nonsensical. Instead, I like to take a more organic approach to unit study planning -- tackling subjects and lessons as they present themselves in the text and not forcing them to the surface. If, for example, chapter five of The Boxcar Children doesn't have any obvious science lessons leaping out at me, then I won't write any for that chapter. But then we come to chapter six, and discover four wonderful science lessons ready and waiting to be explored!

    So, how do you, as a mother, plan out your lessons using Beyond? In my mind, it's fairly straightforward. I planned example lessons for Homer Price (in the above mentioned post) in about 45 minutes. Here are the steps I followed:


    Decide how many weeks you'd like to spend on the book. This can be neatly determined by the number of chapters in the story. 6 chapters? 6 weeks seems neat and tidy. 10 chapters? How about 5 weeks -- with two chapters covered each week? It doesn't matter how you divide it up, just create a plan and go from there.


    Carefully go through each chapter's lessons from the manual and highlight or mark which YOU want your child to study. You might pick three and your student might pick one or two himself.


    When you've decided how many weeks and which lessons, jot down what you'll be doing and when. You may not want to be so strict that you list M-F tasks -- although you might. It depends on how flexible you want your week to be.

    If a project (like a model, play, speech or research paper) is going to take your student two or more weeks of preparation, make note of when you assign it and when you would like it to be due. Write in reminders to yourself to ask him how it's going, if he needs help, etc.


    As you glance over your now well-organized Beyond plan , begin to think about field trips you will want to include. Add those in.


    This is self-explanatory.

    In the end, you should have a 4-10 week plan, with each week including the chapters, the lessons, the assignments and the extras all neatly recorded. This can be done in a notebook, on the computer, on your PalmPilot, or if you're like me -- a sketch pad. I like to doodle while I'm thinking.

    It wouldn't be practical for me to create lesson plan schedules for all of the books in Beyond FIAR, because I have no idea which lessons your student needs to cover -- which he/she may have already spent time on -- which field trips are available in your area -- how long you have to spend on a given book, etc., etc., etc.

    Instead, I've written out ALL of the lessons for each book and left the "calendar" issues up to you. If you're used to FIAR, then you already know that you sometimes chose 1 of the Social Studies activities -- and on other Mondays you chose all 3. The same applies to Beyond. Pick and choose carefully the things you think are most important. Give your student a choice or two himself. And then organize it all to suit your personal schedule.

    Teaching is a dynamic, exciting dialogue between instructor and student. It is a lot of fun! It also requires some good ole' fashioned, not-so-dynamic pencil/paper moments. Spending an hour planning out your next unit in Beyond will be some of those boring moments. But the organization and freedom you feel when you see it all come together will make it worth it.

    Blessings to you,
    Becky Jane
    Hollie, Special Needs Forum Moderator
    Wife to my best friend Tom and mom to 18yo Eli, 16yo Kyle, and 13yo Noah (with Down syndrome)
    If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn. Ignacio Estrada

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    South Central Indiana

    Lightbulb Could this be made into a Sticky for at the top?

    This is just such an important message and great reminder, I sure would hate to lose it as the posts scroll downwards.
    Heidi in IN
    HSMom to 2 FIARgrads

  4. #4


    Ask and ye shall receive!
    Wife to Perry (since 6/30/90) & Mom to College of the Ozarks Bobcat & Missouri National Guardsman, Kenny (19), Drama Queen, Kylie (17) & Drama King, Keller (15)
    "I might not be where I want to be, but thankfully I am not where I used to be. I am OK and I'm on my way!"

  5. #5


    Thanks, Hollie, this is just what I was looking for. For those who want to save it in a more permanent place, you can copy it and paste it in a word document.
    Wife to Jack; Mom to Caleb (17), Elizabeth (12), Faith (10),
    Annika (8), Eliana (6), Josiah (4), and Anderson (Almost 2)

  6. #6


    Thanks for bringing this to our attention again. This is just the boost my boys and I need to get back to studying with Beyond!
    Married 16 years to my sweet Ryan, Mom to 4 blessings, Samuel(12 in BYFIAR), Seth(11 in BYFIAR), Sarah(6 in FIAR) and Anna(4 in B4FIAR)

  7. #7

    Default Great help!

    I was about to write with questions regarding the lessons in BEYOND, when I read this. It's exactly the info I was needing! Thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Murfreesboro, TN


    Thanks for sharing this information. Daughter and I will be starting Beyond next week and looking at the manual was a tad overwhelming. Now I feel a bit better about it and am excited to start our first book.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Thank you. I am sitting down to do some planning (we school year round) for my son's FIAR and my daughters' BFIAR and was sort of at a loss as to how to plan.
    Sarah, wife to Don (2001), mom to a Heavenly blessing (2001), Hannah (2002), Bethanne (2004), Christian (2006), and prayerfully more.

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