It’s a new year, and for many of us that means it’s time to be proactive about homeschool planning for the rest of the school year.
December served as a good stopping point for us because we changed gears when my daughter decided she no longer wanted to be enrolled in online high school. I was happy to pull her out because I know it’s best for her, but it also made me jump into gear pretty quickly and begin a new round of homeschool planning since things will change for us.
I found that sitting around on the idea of it wasn’t doing me much good these past few weeks, and I finally had to make up my mind to just be proactive about it, roll up my sleeves, and get to work.
If you find yourself in a bit of a planning slump, but you know this huge task is looming ahead of you, let me help you get moving with your homeschool planning. Here are a few tips that I think will help you.
Get your thoughts together
Keep your notebook at hand, because you never know when the inspiration will hit. You’ve really got to write down all those thoughts floating through your head about what curriculum to buy, what supplies you need, and how you’ll organize your school day.
Writing down random thoughts helps you to pull your ideas to gather. Google Drive works for me.
At some point you’ll need to pull out a fresh page and actually begin making some plans, but not without a bit of thorough research first.
This fall semester I determined right away that my curriculum picks for my 3rd grader were not going to be sufficient for the entire school year. Although I stocked up on a lot of loot from our charter school, the programs weren’t cohesive enough for my taste. I knew I wanted to add a more cohesive science program, change up some things we were doing for math, and find additional ways to bring history lessons to life. So, this meant I would need to go shopping all over again.
My main goal was to find resources, so I began looking at my Rainbow Resource catalog at items I might be interested in buying. This was only the beginning of my research.
After scouring the Rainbow Resource catalog (it’s hundreds of pages thick!), I went on a few rabbit trails hunting down different publishers’ websites and comparing curriculum.
Also, no more waiting around on someone to give me advice on a homeschool forum. I simply typed in my questions to see if they had already been asked, and 9 times out of 10, they had. This saved me time and I got my questions answered right away. I try to use as many forums and review sites as possible to help me determine if curriculum will or won’t work for us. I like Cathy Duffy reviews and homeschoolreviews.com.
I put a lot of time into planning, many times months in advance, but I realize you might not always have the luxury of time on your hands. Just do what you can in the time you have allotted, but never skimp on research. I plan because I like planning, so I take more time on it.
Plan it out
Once you’ve researched, it’s time to plan out what you need. Write down all your kids’ proposed subjects and materials and curricula they’ll need for each.
Go ahead and start penciling events onto your calendar- like outside activities and lessons. There’ll be some retreat here and there and you’ll constantly need to have a nice eraser nearby to make changes, so stay flexible. This is why I plan with Google Drive and Google Calendar. I do have a Well Planned Day planner and have used various types of planners (you can also see my post on homeschool planning makeovers) over the years, but I only use that once I have everything pretty much secure in Docs.
Also, make phone calls you need to set up tutors, outside teachers, or subject specialists and start to schedule these extra resources in. If you need to renew membership to HSLDA or a cover school or charter school, go ahead and make those arrangements now. Fill out any paperwork to join your local homeschool coops and make plans in your schedule to begin attending.
Making that initial move toward getting the first thing started, then the second, is going to help give you momentum until you finish your task.
Your final plan doesn’t really have to be your final plan, so keep that in mind. It’s okay to leave yourself the wiggle room to change your mind if you should need to. Nothing is set in stone here- it’s simply a plan of action.
At this point you should know what subjects your kids will take, what books and resources they’ll need, where you’ll purchase them from, and when they should arrive in time for school to begin.
Now, all you have to do is purchase the materials and watch the momentum build on all the processes you’ve just researched and begun. The ball will begin rolling from here on out and you can sit back and watch the beginnings of your plan unfold and go into motion.
Congrats, you’re in proactive mode with your homeschool planning, and you should see the results you’re looking for: a well organized homeschool plan for your kids.
I hope this podcast has been helpful! Leave me a comment and tell me how you plan for your kids. I’d love to hear from you.