This is the time of year that many of us like to plan for the upcoming homeschool year. For many years, I would go to the state convention, pour over catalogs, read books, and get chatty with my homeschool mama pals. Having now graduated two of my students with a third in tow, I think I have my to do list down pretty well by now. It seems I will be continuing this path for many more years to come!
My Top 10 Yearly Homeschool Planning Tips
Note: PRAYER is essential to EVERY part.
1. Revisit my homeschool purpose. Why am I doing this in the first place? If you don’t have a clear vision, stop here and prayerfully consider this with your husband. This is what helps you persevere on the tough days. This purpose will steer your planning and curriculum decisions.
2. Know who you are/know who your kids are. God made each of our families unique. Embrace the individuality of your family. Carefully (prayerfully) consider the needs/goals for your child(ren) as well as you, the teacher. Chat with others to get ideas, but remember, in the end, it must work for you. Be realistic. Don’t plan around who you want to be, or who you wish your kids were. There are wonderful resources out there to help you determine your teaching styles and their learning styles.
Before I continue on with my homeschool planning tips, let me interject a moment. Make sure that you are communicating with your husband (if you are married) about these matters. These are not mama only decisions. I understand that every marriage has differing forms of communication, and every husband has a varied level of participation. In my home, we agree together in prayer over our homeschool year. I gather my calendar, lists, agendas, ideas, questions, concerns, and I bring them to my husband so we can discuss. It keeps him involved in the homeschool process, and us unified!
3. Year at a glance. May I suggest to you to print out a year at a glance calender. They are available free online. Plug in all known dates: birthdays, vacations, moving, holidays, etc. Try to recall any conflicts from the previous year, and consider potential conflicts for the upcoming year. For example, we have 2 birthdays squished in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we are a family who loves to celebrate! I can now plan to do part time school, or maybe take off completely. Don’t only consider the obvious. Think about some activities that you want to do or experience with the kiddos! Ease the homeschool stress and enjoy the FUN!
4. School calendar. I was at a conference in the late 90’s when I first heard about the idea of year round schooling. The school year is 36 weeks, or 180 days. You, the teacher, have the ability to divide that up however you’d like, (year round, traditional, or somewhere in between). Consider this as you look at #3. In my family, we do part time school all summer–more on rainy weeks. We take off EVERY birthday, and make sure we do stuff we love year round. We are able to go skiing, boarding, swimming, hiking, co-ops, vacations, and enjoy holiday fun!
5. Curriculum. Don’t overload! Consider what is feasible to accomplish in a day or week. If you have clear answers for #1 and #2, this decision becomes easier. Be flexible throughout the year. Don’t keep doing something that makes everyone miserable. Change is good, and sometimes necessary.
6. Schedule again! I know I talked about this already, BUT there’s more to consider. My life schedule seems to change with the seasons. You already plugged in dates to your year. Now you want to look at the weeks and days. What are the household responsibilities (cleaning, gardening, shopping and so on)? You know what I am talking about… All those things that make doing school hard. Prayerfully consider what a realistic daily/weekly schedule looks like.
7. Get support. Consider joining a local cooperative or support group… This is invaluable.
8. Be timely and organized when submitting paperwork to district (if applicable). If this doesn’t apply to you, consider keeping your own records for personal accountability. My district requires plans for the year, quarterlies, attendance, and testing. Make sure that you know your state laws and requirements.
9. Relax. Love what you do. It’s all good. Really. A life lived in His abundant loving grace will bear the fruit of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Rest in Him. At some point everyday, remember to enjoy. Don’t just dictate, scold, point, and teach. Homeschool in love.
10. Faith-led decisions. Earlier on, I said to prayerfully consider each of these homeschool planning tips. As you are talking to the Lord, stop once in a while and listen. He will guide you. The Word says He has equipped you. He knows your unique circumstances before you do.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)
Pinterest is a great resource to aid you in many of these homeschool planning tips, as well as Google. Do not be afraid to use them!
Do you have any Homeschool Planning tips to share?
Copyright © Rebecca Yarger, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved