We’re definitely still in summer mode here… with swimming, camps, play dates, gardening… and an upcoming language immersion camp, but that doesn’t mean that homeschooling isn’t on my mind!! So here are the 10 steps we take to get ready for homeschooling:
1) Send in the official paperwork — the Notice of Intent to Homeschool (if your state require this). Half of my friends have sent theirs in… the other half keeps saying “Oh, I better get on that!” I’m with the latter half!
2) Clear out and get rid of books and materials we don’t need any more. Do you see that big box in the picture below? I filled up that one *and* another just the same size!
3) Related to #2… Clean up the homeschool room. Vacuum and dust the nooks and crannies! Time for some deep cleaning to make things sparkle! Make sure things are organized. Throw out extraneous papers! As new books come in and new packets are made, make sure they get put away so they are accessible when we need them! Re-label the work boxes. (Each year, I make at least a few changes to what goes in each drawer!)
4) Review our general checklist of goals – K-8. What holes do the kids have? What units “should” we cover at some point soon? I’m always tweaking these and adding to our lists, but these are the most recent checklists I’ve shared on the blog:
- Homeschool Science Checklist, K-8
- Homeschool History Checklist, K-8
- Language Arts Checklist
- Our homeschool language arts, spelling, and grammar curriculum
5) Jot down a rough outline of topics we’ll study this fall (and/or this school year) and then flush out the list with help from the kids. I really think hard about what we want to do, not just in the major subject areas, but also for subjects like typing, computer skills, art & art appreciation, music theory & music appreciation, math circles, electronics (as in electrical circuitry not as in video games or TV time!!), life skills (making time for the kids to learn to cooking, baking, sewing, and things like that… It’s not that we do all of those in our homeschool day, but we try to look at all the possibilities and whittle things down. We can’t do everything, but this is my opportunity to talk with the kids and see what is exciting to them.
6) Start writing materials for the kids to get ahead of the game. As many of you know, I create a lot of our notebook packets and practice pages. I get things filed on the computer (and print some things out & store them in the kids’ workboxes). These generally supplement our curriculum books and materials. I’ve made ED some multiplication games, math worksheets, the world facts packet (to go over some basic geography facts they should know), several new German packets (weather, clothing, food, etc.), and am working on an ocean packet and animal packets both for ED and DD.
7) Make last minute curriculum purchases.
8) A week or so before we are going to start, make sure we have the library books we want on hand.
9) Think about the rhythm/schedule for our homeschool day. What needs to be tweaked and changed? Last year, we changed things up quite a bit… and I wrote a post called, Creating Homeschool Procedures and Routines. For the most part, our new homeschool routine worked really well. DD said she really wants a weekly checklist and we might give that a try. And we will definitely keep the index card system. That was an *awesome* addition to our day. I’ll probably write more about our new homeschool routine sometime a little closer to when we start back to school.
10) Stop planning and planning and planning and just dive in!! I’m one of those people who can think and think about what we’ll be doing, but honestly just jumping in is how you truly figure out what will work and what won’t!!
Now, with all that said, I’m all over the place with our planning. I have a general idea of what we’ll be doing, but don’t have absolutely everything planned out for all three kids. (Or maybe I do? Since I haven’t actually written things down, I can’t be sure yet!) I need a couple of hours to really look at the big picture.
Where are you in the planning process? Do you have everything set to go? Or are you like me, feeling pretty good but not quite sure if all the bases are covered?
P.S. Since I’m talking about planning and organization, I thought I’d mention that I have the next free calendar printable coming out this Friday (July 31). I use it for keeping on top of my blog-related work and for meal planning. It’ll be free to download if you’re interested, just check back on Friday.
See you again very soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! ~Liesl