This will be our first official year homeschooling! And as a family we are very excited about this decision. I’m also really looking forward to spending more time with my girls! Here is a look at how I plan our homeschool year!
As I was researching homeschooling, I found that there were so many different approaches. And that there is a lot of curriculum to choose from! I knew a plan would be crucial for helping me organize our homeschool year.
It’s important to remember that planning is so different from person to person. And that planning isn’t for everyone.
I knew I would need to start with the big picture. The goals and life lessons that I would like to pass down to my children. I started thinking about these ideas:
- The character and personalities of my children
- The “weaknesses” that my children need help molding
- The strengths that need to be encouraged
- The interests of my children
- My own limitations (even mama needs a little time to rest and reset)
- The year at a glance (activities, vacations, etc.)
These concepts are important to consider before you jump head first in curriculum choices, and book lists because they will guide your decisions.
The big goal in our family is to raise Godly children. Children that love God and want to serve Him forever in His kingdom.
This is one of the most important goals that we can have as believers. And it is the mindset I’ve chosen to approach homeschooling with.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.Proverbs 16:9
I believe that homeschooling requires a bit of planning and organizing. Between managing a home, raising children and being involved in our ecclesia, I knew I needed a plan.
homeschool planning Guideline
Here is the guideline I use to help make a plan for the year:
- Divide out the year. There are four options:
- 2 semesters
- 3 terms
- 4 quarters
- School Year Round
- Pick the subjects to cover with your children.
- This will be different depending on the age of your children.
- Find curriculum for each subject.
- Don’t forget to think about your child’s strengths and weaknesses in each subject.
- Start a basic word document for each child and list the subject and the corresponding curriculum.
- Take one section of the year and map out what you’d like to cover during that time period.
- Finish this with each section of the year, dividing the curriculum over the months/weeks.
- Create book and supply lists for certain subjects within the term (semester or quarter).
- Add in living book recommendations (library list) and a few fun activities or games if you want.
- Plan out field trips and “extra” activities for each subject and section.
- Research museums, aquariums and parks in your area.
- Create a morning time routine.
- Choose the subjects that you will cover in the morning as a family.
1. Divide out your year
Beginning the plan with a year-at-a-glance page is important. This page helps you see the holidays, birthdays and any planned vacation throughout the year.
I also take into account the activities that we attend on a regular basis (church, bible class, youth group, piano lessons, etc). It’s important to take a realistic look at your day-to-day activities and determine how you want to run your days.
You should also consider if you will do school 4 or 5 days a week, and if you will school year round or take the summers off.
For our first (official) year of homeschool we’ve decided to school 4 days a week and take the summer “off” and do a more relaxed approach to learning during those months. We’ve chosen this because the summer months are particularly busy for us with Bible Schools, family events, etc.
After looking at the year I noticed that, for us, the year naturally split itself up into 3 terms of about 12 weeks each. So that is what I decided to base my planning on.
2. Pick the subjects
You’re probably thinking – pick subjects? Well when your children are younger, say Pre-K and Kindergarten, you may only cover the big three – reading, writing and math and then touch on a few things like nature study, music and art throughout the year.
You can see below I have the subjects that we’re covering in bold.
If you have older children you will have more subjects that need to be organized, especially moving into the upper elementary and high school years.
Start with reading, writing and math and then add from there. I recommend making a document for each of your children with their specific subjects.
3. Find curriculum for each subject
This is my favorite part! Researching curriculum and choosing books that will work best for each of the girls.
Take your time and do your research. Watch Youtube videos, search relevant Instagram hashtags and read about the curriculum directly on their website.
On the document where the subjects are listed I add the curriculum and books I think will work underneath.
If you have already been homeschooling this would also be a good time to consider if the curriculum you chose last year is still a good fit for your child.
Once you’ve selected your curriculum you should order your books/items and start getting those boxes heading your way.
4. Map it out
In this step of how I plan our homeschool year, we’re going to divide out the lessons based on the number of weeks you will be schooling for.
For example, say my Math curriculum has 126 lessons and I’m schooling for 36 weeks, we take the number of lessons and divide that by the number of weeks – 126/36=3.5. Therefore, we would need to do at least 3.5 math lessons per week to finish by the end of the school year.
For language arts and math I’ve decided to aim for 4 lessons a week. I did not divide the lessons from the curriculum we’ve chosen because I want the ability to stop and review or work on concepts they might be struggling with throughout the year. But I know that if we do 4 lessons a week we will finish by the end of the school year.
This is an important part of how I plan our homeschool year. When you are planning out your sections be sure to add flexibility to your schedule, especially if you have little ones.
We are going to be using Fridays for extracurricular activities, field trips, and as a rest day or catch-up day when needed. And I have also planned on taking a few “teacher days” in between each term to reset and clean the homeschool room.
For our curriculum, The Good and The Beautiful, you can preview the table of contents which was very helpful in planning before I received the curriculum. I planned our science and history in depth by dividing out the lessons over the terms, using the guidelines they suggested.
5. Create book and supply lists
In this step I create book lists that compliment the curriculum that I’ve chosen. Check in your curriculum because they might have books lists already curated for you. I also like to browse on Amazon and look on Instagram and Youtube for inspiration.
Adding resources and games to the school year helps to keep things interesting.
6. Plan out field trips and extra activities
In this step its time to take homeschooling outside of the home. Our communities have so much to offer when it comes to education for our children.
Visit friends, go to a museum, take a road trip or schedule a tour of a cool building.
I like to plan outings, activities and field trips that relate to what we are currently studying for science and history. This gets us out of the house and doing more hands on learning!
7. Create a Morning Time Routine
We are doing a morning basket that will loop through some of our extra subjects. I like to create a separate planning grid that helps me organize everything. This grid pulls from all the other plans, but helps at the start of the month when it’s time to switch things out.
I’m almost done this grid and will update this post soon!
I hope you all enjoyed seeing how I plan my homeschool year! Don’t forget to have fun planning and learning alongside your children!
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