How To Plan Your Home School Year For Success
14 Tips to plan your homeschool year.
Planning the homeschool year can be overwhelming, especially when you’re planning for multiple children, yet it is necessary for a great homeschool year.
Give yourself plenty of time before the school year begins and take the time to plan.
There are so many aspects that you need to take into consideration, if you put the time in to plan thoroughly, it will set you up for a success.
Planning your homeschool year will give you the road map to get to where you want to go.
How To Plan Your Best Homeschool Year
Assess and evaluate
Before you start your planning, take time to evaluate your previous school year. Ask yourself what worked and what didn’t. Is there anything that you would like to do differently? Take that into account when you plan and set your goals.
Make a list your subjects and grades
You need to know what subjects, you need to cover for each child and each grade. It’s hard to pick curriculum when you don’t know what needs to be accomplished. Keep a list of subjects for each child.
Do your research
Before jumping into what you think you “should” be doing for homeschooling, take time to look around and get some ideas of what you want your homeschool to look like.
Get an idea of what type of teacher you are, so you have an idea of what teaching style you would do well with.
Also, look into the different schooling styles and different types of curriculum.
Buying curriculum without any type of planning or on a whim at a homeschool convention is not advised. Many people have invested in curriculum that they don’t end up using, because it wasn’t a good fit, or they forgot they already had something that worked, or they find something they think they might like better.
Save yourself time and money by doing a lot of research and asking around before investing in any curriculum. If you have the opportunity to borrow it from a friend to test it out, then do.
Decide on your curriculum
The amount of curriculum available is overwhelming and it doesn’t help that everyone has a differing opinion.
When picking curriculum ask yourself a few questions first, such as:
What is your curriculum budget?
What subjects do you need to cover?
Do you want curriculum that is specific to your country?
Do you want a curriculum that is faith-based?
Would you prefer boxed/all-inclusive curriculum that has everything laid out or are you wanting to piece each subject together yourself?
If you want to piece it together yourself, do you have time for that? If not, what are some supplemental resources that you can use?
Are any of your subjects going to be unit studies that you do with all your children?
Choose a planner
There are plenty of options out there for planners. However, when it comes to choosing a planner there are different features to take into consideration.
Do you want to plan everything in one place for everyone, or do you want to set your kids up with individual planners?
Would a separate homeschool planner work best for you or one that includes all your household duties as well?
Many years ago, I had a system of sticky notes and a calendar to organize my life, but it wasn’t working as well as I had hoped. My toddler would take off with my sticky notes and I would lose track of my to-do’s and appointments.
Eventually I tried out some different homeschool agenda/planners, but I didn’t like having all my daily tasks and everyone’s homeschool plan in the same book. With everyone using it, someone would take off with it and I would lose track of what I was doing.
I finally decided to come up with my own system and make my own planners.
I created a Student Plannerfor my each of my older children to use. It’s easy to use and a place I (or they) can keep track of all their records and plan out their daily lessons. I love that they can work so independently when everything is in their planner.
The Home Life PlannerI created for myself has everything I need in one place for my #homeschoolmomlife, plus lots of space to plan. I use it for household tasks, appointments, meal planning, work tasks, and for planning my youngest’s schooling, as well as any extra school projects or activities.
Having a planner (or planners) for your homeschool is a great way to keep everyone organized.
Set an end date and decide what dates you will be taking off
Don’t just wing it! Decide when you want to start and when you want to end by.
Also consider what you want each season to look like.
Do you want to finish in April so that you can focus all of that month on nature studies and outdoor activities? Or maybe you want to take an entire winter month to cozy up and do a deep study on History.
Once you have those dates in mind, plan for what weeks/times you know you’ll be taking off for holidays, etc. Make sure to mark them in your planner.
Now that you know how many weeks you have (approximately) for schooling, you can divide up the workbooks/pages/projects accordingly. Keep in mind as Spring comes and with it the warmer weather, schooling becomes a harder task from the pull of the outdoors. Who wants to be inside when the sun is shining!?
Set school hours
What are your school hours going to look like? Do you want a structured 9-3 (or other) or do you want to do bookwork from 8-11 and then group lessons in the afternoon?
Homeschooling has so much flexibility built into it, but don’t confuse flexibility with lack of structure.
Plan for fun
It’s easy to get so focused on the lessons that it can be hard to remember we need to have fun too! At least it has been for me...
Create a list of places you’d like to go and things you’d like to do for the school year. It can be playing at the park, going for a hike, taking a field trip to a museum or anything else that gets you out of the house while still learning and enjoying each other’s company.
Create a routine for school and for everything else (housework, meals, outings)
Having a tentative schedule/routine in place for homeschooling can be great for keeping you on track. However, if we set up an ideal routine without taking into consideration all the other things that go on day to day, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
Are you going to school Monday-Friday or is your spouse home during the week and away on the weekend? Maybe you’d prefer to school the days they’re not home, so you can enjoy time together as a family when they are home.
Do you have activities or events that happen throughout the week? Don’t forget to schedule them in when you create your ideal routine/schedule.
Remember, whatever you put in place early on for routine will probably stick.
If you want everyone dressed for the day, don’t do the first month in pajamas.
Establish the routine you want from the beginning.
Make a list
Now that you have an idea of what resources you are going to use, make your shopping list. Don’t forget to include supplies that you’ll need this year as well.
Buy supplies and curriculum
Who else loves shopping for school supplies!!??
If you are attending a homeschool convention bring your shopping list with you or if not, order your items online.
Create your space
This is the fun part! Setting up your homeschool space is important to keeping things in order.
Whether you have a designated room or not, assign areas that are for your homeschool supplies and resources. It can be a cupboard, a closet, a basket or a bin under your bed, a shelf on the bookshelf...the possibilities are endless.
I would suggest keeping items that are used regularly nearby to where you use them. Anything that you don’t use regularly can be tucked away in a closet somewhere.
The first 6 years of our homeschooling we did school at our dining room table. You can read about How To Organize Your Homeschool Without A School Room.
Organize your resources and supplies
Just like any area of your life, keeping things organized will be a huge benefit for the day-to-day.
What I have found helpful in our homeschool, both with and without a homeschool room, is to organize by keeping like items together.
Here are some examples:
Keep subject resources together (all social studies, all science, math, etc.)
Keep a caddy with supplies handy (pencils, marking pens, glue, etc.)
Have a space for each child’s lessons or workbooks (a drawer, workboxes, a binder, or file can work)
Keep all extra supplies stored together
All of mommy’s resources
Now that everything is ready to go you’re probably excited to go full out but start slowly. Take time to ease into the new school year to get everyone used to the new routine.
Starting slowly for us means having fun the first day like going to the beach or on a picnic while everyone else is at school. The kids also have fun checking out our new books and resources.
Next, we start with 1/3-1/2 of the amount of work that we’ll be doing regularly. We do this for a few days, working up to the full amount by week 2 or 3.
After a few weeks we are into our full homeschool routine.
Best Tips For Planning Your Homeschool Year For Success:
· Assess and evaluate
· Make a list your subjects and grades
· Do your research
· Decide on your curriculum
· Choose a planner
· Set an end date and decide what dates you will be taking off
· Set school hours
· Plan for fun
· Create a routine for school and for everything else (housework, meals, outings)
· Make a list
· Buy supplies and curriculum
· Create your space
· Organize your resources and supplies
· Start slowly
I am excited for you friend!! I pray that this will be your best homeschool year yet and that all your planning and hard work will bring many blessings for you and your family.
What are the ways that you like to prepare for the new homeschool year?