Refresh Your Homeschool with Planning

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The beginning of the school year is a time of excitement and anticipation.  If you are like me you spent countless hours going over all of the books you ordered, the curriculum you purchased and the supplies you had on hand.  From there you likely made a list of your homeschool needs for the year and began planning out the first few weeks of school.

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That time of year is fun because it is new, fresh, and full of anticipation, but these feelings seem to waiver the further we go into our school year.  Then as we all know, this middle of the school year rolls around we find ourselves to be tired, burnt out, and needing some serious freshening of our spirit for the upcoming months.

Today I want to share with you some ways that planning can help refresh your homeschool journey.

Complete a Mid Year Evaluation

Before taking another step it is important that you take the time to do an end of calendar year assessment of your homeschooling.  This is an important step that you really should do before you open another book.  When you take the time to evaluate where you and your children are, you will be better able to plan for the coming months.

First, take time to sit with your children and talk about what they have enjoyed this school year and what they haven’t.  Learn about the subjects they would like to cover and see if you can incorporate them into your coming lessons.

Then, go over your homeschool curriculum and see what is working and what isn’t.  This is key to the next few steps.

What needs changing?

Now that you have spoken with your children about what they want to cover and you have gone over the curriculum you can start making some changes.

While it isn’t imperative that your child has a say over each subject they cover, it is important that they are learning from the curriculum that you are using with them. If you are finding that they are not doing well with a certain subject, this is the perfect time to make some tweaks.  You may find that you need to over-haul that curriculum completely and swap to something different. There is nothing worse than spending an entire year working through a curriculum that hasn’t helped your child learn.

What do you need now?

After you’ve taken the time to determine what needs to be changed and what doesn’t, you can start finding new resources for the rest of your homeschool year.  This would be a great time to go through your supplies and see if you need new pencils, pens, paper, or notebooks. Maybe the changes you have decided upon require you to purchase a new computer or tablet.  I recommend making these purchases before you start planning anymore homeschool lessons.

Now we can plan!

Once you’ve made changes and purchased the resources that were needed, everything for the new year is finally in place. It is time for the fun part! You finally get to start planning. Please, don’t be stressed out by all of this.  While planning can be overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be.  In fact you don’t even need a planner to get this task done, a simple spiral notebook or Excel spreadsheet will do the trick.

Personally, I am a pen and paper girl.  I write out our plans in a teachers planne’r and keep track of them there.  However over the years I have also used a notebook and find it just as acceptable.

4 Tips for Homeschool Planning

  • Break your subjects down into bite size chunks or into the lessons they recommend completing in a day/week/month.

This allows you and your students the flexibility to make changes as needed through the weeks ahead.  If you live in the north you may find yourself having unexpected snow days or days when you or your child are sick.  So, it is important that you make sure your lesson planning allows for that.

  • Ensure that you are not planning too far in advance or you will be overwhelmed.

When you have too much on your schedule and not enough white space it can make your plans feel like they are controlling you and your homeschool experience.  Don’t fall into that trap.  Instead just start by scheduling the first few weeks and then move forward.  Be sure to keep some white space in your calendar for the unexpected.

  • Assign lessons based on the theme or time of year in which they will be studied.

For example, it would be weird to study Christmas in July or the beach in January. Children learn best when they are able to actually experience the topics they are learning.

  • Make lists of materials needed for experiments or projects.

When planning, I like to do this on sticky notes and then place them on the week prior to when they will be needed.  This gives me ample time to get the required materials and be prepared.

No matter how you decide to plan the remainder of the school year, make sure that you do it with thought and prayer.  Seek out what it is that God would have you complete for the rest of the year and start there.  Make sure you are enjoying your children and are having fun.

How do you ensure that you’re properly planning for your homeschooling journey?

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