Someone recently asked me, “How do you plan for your school year?”
I thought this would be an easy answer, but the more I thought about it, the more complicated my answer became. There are so many things I do as I plan. I thought I would answer this in a series of posts. Today I’ll share the general questions I ask myself. In the coming days, I’ll share the answers as they apply to our own homeschooling path. Remember, your path as a homeschooling family will be completely different from anyone else’s. Just as each of your children’s path will take a different course than his or her siblings. That is the benefit and challenge of homeschooling! You can tailor the kid’s education to fit his/her needs.
Generally I plan (in a big way) twice a year. My kids are young enough that I really need to reassess how things are going each semester. But that said, I always have the big picture in mind. Let me take you through the general process that I take:
1) Assess where the kids are at: What did we cover last semester/last year? Did we meet our goals? What didn’t go as well? Why?
If you’re new to homeschooling and your child is coming from a school setting you might want to assess what your child’s strengths and weaknesses are for each ‘school’ subject. Then also assess what her passions are in the broader view of life. Ask the kids what *they* want to learn this next year.
2) Assess our homeschooling philosophy: Am I happy with *how* we are homeschooling?
3) What are our long term goals? How are we going to get from where we are, to where I hope to be? I look closely at each subject and really think long-term about what I want the kids to know or abilities I want them to have. This might make more sense when I talk about our own long term goals.
4) What are out short term goals? What do we need to do in the short-term to meet those long term goals.
5) Create a master schedule to see if what you want to cover with each child is really feasible. Break it down into days of the week, subjects and time allotted to each subject. Even if I don’t follow the schedule to a T, I like planning it out on paper to see how things will work. There’s only one of me and quite diverse needs and need me in different ways for different subjects so I need to make sure I know how everything is *really* going to work without making my life day feel chaotic.
6) What trips are we taking and how can I fit that in to make the most of that experience? And the reverse is also true, what are we studying and where can we go to complement our home studies?
7) Evaluate homeschooling and the family balance. What are my goals? What are our family’s goals. Rank them importance and decide what the priorities are and how to achieve them.
8) Start planning out units. I’ll go into much more detail about how I do this later.
9) Start gathering books (if purchasing) or creating book lists and double check to see that they are available at the library.
This is my starting point. Tomorrow I’ll begin answering these questions as they apply to our family!
Do you have any tips for new or veteran homeschoolers that you’d like to pass on about planning out the coming school year? Feel free to share your tips below or over at my Facebook page!
This was the very first post helping describe how I go about planning for the new school year. Here are the next posts in this series:
- This post looks a back at our school year. I talk about what went well and what could use some improvement.
- This post talks about how I assess our homeschooling philosophy: Am I happy with *how* we are homeschooling? I talked a lot about the books I’ve read that helped us find the homeschool style that works for us.