As promised, this year I am taking you through how we get ready for a new homeschool year as I am actually doing it – in real time. This is the very first thing I do to get started.
Our very first year homeschooling, I spent so of my prep time organizing.
I had shelves clearly labeled with grade levels for each of my boys. Books carefully alphabetized on the shelves. Posters with the abc’s hung around our dining room.
Looking back, I have to smile.
Ten years later, I don’t do any of that, at least not at first.
No, the way I get started looks totally different, now that I know a bit more what to expect from a homeschool year.
Typically, I only share with you the final product – the curriculum has already been selected and the plan, already in place. This year, because I am noticeably behind in planning and prepping for our new homeschool year (thank you 2020) I am sharing with you the process I go through to get ready, in real time, as I move through it.
The Most Important Thing I Do To Get Ready For A New Homeschool Year
I used to begin with the curriculum. I would look at the grade level my child was supposed to be moving into and see if I thought it would work for his needs. If it didn’t, I would continue the search.
Eventually, I realized it was costing me a lot more time and money to allow the curriculum to dictate my homeschool plan for the year. Honestly, it also never was really all that effective.
Now, the very first thing I do to get ready for a new homeschool year is think about how I want our days to progress and what our routine needs to be in order to support our learning.
For example, I know my oldest son has classes in the afternoon online Monday-Thursday, and my youngest does best when he has a sensory activity or some sort of physical activity every day. Both of these are starting points for me because they help define what we can actually accomplish during the course of each day. It also helps with setting priorities.
It helps me to start with a list of all the things I need to remember or want to include in our days and weeks.
This year, my rough starter list looks like this:
Monday-Thursday – 2 online classes for my oldest son
Sensory activities each day for my youngest
Audio book/ Read aloud each day for my youngest
One on one time with my oldest in the morning
One on one time with my youngest in the afternoon (while his brother is online)
Add writing practice at least once a week for both
With this list as a guide, I then try to come up with a daily set of learning activities that doesn’t change and a weekly set of learning activities that do change.
Get Ready For A New Homeschool Year: Daily Learning Activities
For example, this year our daily activities include:
Sensory Activity or Outdoor Play
Audio book – 30 minutes or more
Reading Practice for my youngest
Current Events Discussion
1-2 of the planned Weekly Activities (see below)
Get Ready For A New Homeschool Year: Weekly Learning Activities
The actual weekly activities we complete will vary from week to week, but the routine itself and subjects we complete stays constant.
Here is an example:
Monday – Science Activity
Tuesday – Math work
Wednesday – History Activity
Thursday – Math Work
Friday – Writing Activity or Celebrate A Book Activity
Once I have this outline, I can now begin to think about curriculum choices to use to support these daily and weekly activities.
Get Ready For A New Homeschool Year: Planning Pages
In my next post, I will share what my curriculum choices look like for each of my boys this year, but for today, I thought I would show you the form I use to keep this all organized.
It is super simple, but it works. Here is a rough idea of what it would like like filled out for my family.
I am happy to share these with you to help you get ready for a new homeschool year.
Homeschool Plans vs. Homeschool Planning
One more thing…
A surprising, but very real lesson I’ve learned is that a homeschool plan matters a lot less than the actual process of homeschool planning. I am sharing all about how planning itself can make all the difference this week on Simple Homeschool. Please join me there.
For more homeschool resources, support and encouragement:
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.