It’s almost September. Time for back to school and back to routine. If you are wondering how to plan your homeschool year, keep reading for the simple planning process that I use for my three children.
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Let’s face it, everything is better with a plan. Your homeschool is no exception. We all have goals that we would like to see happen, and the best way to achieve those goals is to come up with a plan.
Planning your homeschool year can seem daunting at first. Especially if you have more than one child. They are most likely different ages, at different stages of their learning journey, and how the heck are you supposed to teach THREE different science programs!
Fear not friend, planning your homeschool year can be a fairly simple process. With just a few hours, you can have your year ahead mapped out and approach the upcoming school year with confidence.
Upcoming homeschool year
One of the first things I do before I start planning our homeschool year is to meet with each of my children. Meet makes it sound very formal, but it’s not. At some point in the summer we have a chat to discuss what they would like to accomplish this year. Maybe they want to take a new class, learn all about horses, grow their own plant. Who knows! The point is that I can’t add it to our schedule if I don’t know about. So take some time and chat with them about their goals.
The next thing I look at before I starting planning our homeschool year is what projects need to get accomplished on the farm or around the house. I know you are probably wondering what this has to do with our school year but we are at homeschool. If we have a major project that we would like to have finished before Thanksgiving, I probably shouldn’t plan any unit studies for the same time. That might be a good time for the children to work on more of their independent projects.
Lastly, I look to see if there is anything happening outside of the home that I need to account for before I start planning our year. Taking a trip? That’s a big one to add to the calendar. Maybe you will be out of town for hockey tournaments, 4H meet up, judo competition. If you are going to be spending a lot of time travelling, that is going to affect your plan for the homeschool year.
My Planning Process
My homeschool planning process is very simple. All I need is a few sheets of paper, a pen and my phone. I don’t do complicated. I’m guessing you don’t want it to be complicated either.
My children are all at different stages of their learning journey. My oldest is in middle school, while my youngest is just starting kindergarten. In order to accommodate all their learning needs we have a couple of subjects that we work on together, and then they have subjects that are at an appropriate level for each them.
Each child has their own reading. My middle child is learning to read, so this is something we work on together. My oldest is more than capable of doing her assigned reading alone. We also have books that we read together as a family. These are typically audiobooks and we listen to them in the car. Reading is a daily activity
Math is also done daily and each child has their own math work to do. For the younger children this can be counting together or playing card games. My oldest has a math cirriculum but also really enjoys baking (yes, baking = math!).
We choose to learn science and social studies as a family. We will all learn about the same topic and then each child completes an activity that is appropriate for their own learning. That could be a colouring page for my youngest. Drawing a picture about what we learned that day for my middle child. A very specific diagram or drawing, along with a written paragraph for the oldest.
So, how does this all equal a plan? The following steps are how I organize my homeschool year. I do this process for each child, as I need to submit a learning plan for the year for each of the children to my school board. If you do not need to submit a learning plan to a school board, you could just do this once and make a space under each subject for each of your children.
1. Big Picture
My first step, after meeting with each child about their goals for the year, is to sit down and map out the big picture for their homeschool year. On a piece of paper I write out each of the main subjects that we are covering. For our family that is Math, Social, Language Arts, Science.
Under each subject I write out any goals that they have for the subject. For science it might be to learn about tornados. Language Arts could be to improve reading skills. Then I note any homeschool curriculum that I plan on using for that subject.
2. Plan Extracurricular Activities
Here I list out any activities or field trips that they might be interested in or would like to take. Then I get on my phone and look up the dates, times and locations of each of the activities. This is important. In order to plan your year, you need to know all of the options. In our family we cannot have two different activities at the same time. So knowing the dates and times of all the different options helps me set out schedule.
You are going to do this for each child. Then, once you know when all the different activities take place you can look back and see which ones will fit into you homeschool schedule.
3. Make a Reading List
Next I make a reading list for each child. I try to pick between 4-6 books that they can read over the course of the homeschool year. My oldest will read independently, while I will read with the younger children.
I also like to pick out another 3-5 books that we will listen to as a family. These are typically longer novels that they might not have chosen to read on their own. These we will typically listen too. We love audiobooks in this house and they have become an essential part of our homeschool. We live about 30 mins from the nearest town, and audio books are a great way to pass the time while driving.
4. Supply List
The last thing I do is to make a list of any supplies that I will need to purchase based on our homeschool plan. This could include cirriculum, an online subscription, baking tools, or art supplies. I like to look at the overall plan for our homeschool year and then write down what we will need to reach each of their learning goals.
How much time?
Planning your homeschool year this way only takes a few dedicated hours. I can usually get this done in an afternoon with a cup of coffee and minimal distractions. The best part about planning this way is that your plan can be as detailed or simple as you would like.
If you are looking for a simple homeschool planner to help you get started, this is the one that I use.
Do you have any tips or trick that you use for planning your homeschool year? Share them in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.