Today’s topic for the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop is planning. I love to plan. I love to organize things. Planning and organizing our homeschool year is no exception.
Or maybe not.
I can’t believe I’m about to say this.
I think that many homeschoolers have fallen into an over-planning trap.
There. I said it.
I know because I’ve lived it. I’ve gone through each of the children’s books and typed the daily assignment into a planning software. It does at least have the capability to iterate so I didn’t type every single lesson number. But really, what is the point of my recording what lesson to do on which day when it’s really not that complicated? Just do the next lesson.
I realize that there are some benefits to pre-planning. And I’m not recommending just flying by the seat of your pants. (Unless of course you’re a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person. Then go for it.)
An aside here – What in the world does fly by the seat of your pants really mean? Where did that expression come from?
I am most certainly someone who likes to have everything planned out ahead of time. But if I could have back the hours I’ve wasted on plans that I’ve never actually used, well, let’s just say I could use the extra time now.
What type of planning do I recommend?
That depends on what type of resources you use. If you design your own unit studies, then you’ve definitely got to plan those. If you like to combine resources and mesh them perfectly together then that will take some planning time too. But for most materials here’s what I recommend.
1. Sit down with the texts/teacher guides/workbooks, etc.
2. Determine if these are resources that you would like to complete in one school year.
3. Count how many chapters or lessons there are.
4. Divide those by 180 days or 36 weeks and determine the rate that the material needs to be covered to make it through the book.
5. Write down “Math lesson – 1 per day” (or whatever you determine works)
6. Continue with other subjects.
7. If you don’t need/want to finish a resource in one year, just look and see what looks like a reasonable amount to cover per week and record that.
8. Record what students actually do each day. That gives you an accurate record. It’s so much easier than going back and rescheduling everything that you planned ahead.
9. Have a schedule check-up every 9 weeks or so. See where you “should be” and compare it to where you are. You can make adjustments to how many lessons to be done per week. (Or you don’t have to change anything. The rate may be the “right” speed for your learner whether it is “too fast” or “too slow”. That is one of the benefits of homeschooling! Don’t forget to take advantage of it.)
Other planning tips
Be sure to take note of supply lists at the beginning of the year. It’s very helpful to either purchase the science kits or gather supplies ahead of time and put in one location. It’s really frustrating to find out it’s experiment day and you don’t have the materials.
It’s also nice to pre-print lapbook materials or worksheets. Just don’t print too many and end up not using them. (I may have done that a time or two.)
Take advantage of other people who have planned ahead of you. Apologia Science courses are hard to figure out a daily schedule. I was so happy to find these schedules this year. It saved me so much time. (Donna Young has some too, but my kids didn’t like the way the experiments were sometimes done after they had to read through the conclusions of the experiment.)
How do you plan?
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