I absolutely adore this time of year. Though the warmth of summer is still around, there is a slight change in the days — something in the air that gently whispers fall.
The business of summer is winding down, and the children are returning to school. It’s time once more to pull out the books and start a new season of homeschooling with purpose. The following are five simple steps to make it happen.
Begin with Prayer
Before you begin anything, pray.
It’s often overlooked in the planning process, but praying for the Lord’s direction and blessing on your homeschool year is really the very best way to start.
Set a Schedule
How many days will you school your children? Will you take regular breaks? Will you be off for the holidays? What specific tasks do you need to accomplish during this school year? How many days of instruction does your state require?
Each of these things requires careful consider consideration. It is also important to realize we are frail humans, living in an unpredictable world. The schedule needs to have flexibility to allow for the unexpected events of life.
Make Your Plans
What is your planning style? Will you be working with a lesson plan, planner and calendar? Or, do you just work your way through your curriculum front to back?
For my family, our homeschool years differ with each season of life. I would encourage you to evaluate what is most important to you and what will work best for your family.
There were years when I was nursing a new baby or fighting a life-altering illness when we worked our way through the curriculum without any added frills. I used a notebook simply dated for each day and kept notes on our work as we progressed through the books. I have also been known to find free printable planners online and pre-plan our entire year.
If you are looking for a good planning option but don’t have a lot of time, there is curriculum plan with a built in scheduler tool —Illuminations. Much of what I’m using this year for homeschool is scheduled in Illuminations. But I love that there is also the option of adding curriculum that may not be listed.
It has been a wonderful, time-saving resource for me. Once I print out the color-coded weekly schedules, it appears as if I have spent months planning our school year. In reality it took only a few minutes!
Whatever you choose to use for planning, each year has unique characteristics and very few look like the year before.
Consider your Curriculum
What worked last year? What didn’t?
Time is too short to keep trying to use curriculum that is not working for your family.
Our second year of homeschooling was the absolute worst. That year, I chose a curriculum that created long and laborious days for our family. We weren’t learning as much as I had hoped, and even worse, it was making everyone miserable. It almost made me want to quit homeschooling altogether.
I was thankful for friends who encouraged me to try something different. The next year was a much better homeschooling experience for our family because I abandoned that terrible curriculum choice.
It’s best to make all your copies, gather all your supplies, and have a plan before you begin your homeschool year. I have had many frustrating days where I started teaching my children only to realize we didn’t have the supplies we needed for a particular lesson.
Being prepared means you start on time each day and that you don’t waste time looking for something you need.
Remember that the beginning of each school year is a fresh slate for each family. Having a purpose and a plan for the year will help you have a successful school year!