Inside: Wanting to plan your homeschool year? Here’s a step-by-step walk through of how I planned our first year (including transitioning from public school) in one weekend.
I recently announced over on our family’s YouTube channel that we’ll officially be homeschooling this year. It’s a dream-come-true for this momma. I’ve literally imagined it since 2015. So this is a big deal.
I’ve been BURSTING at the seams with excitement and could hardly contain myself while we waited for our curriculum to arrive. (You can check out our unboxing videos here).
As soon as it arrived on our doorstep, I WAS READY. Let the planning commence!
There’s something extremely satisfying about planning the homeschool year. It’s like the ultimate puzzle with all these little moving parts. But instead of shooting for the picture on the box, you get to decide what the outcome looks like. SIGN. ME. UP.
How to Plan Your Homeschool Year
I know I’m a newbie. And there are plenty of other more experienced sources out there. But this blog is about the journey as much as it is about sharing what works. (Plus, I used some seasoned resources to help me figure it out.) So with that in mind, this is the process I used for planning our first homeschool year.
UPDATE: We’re nearing the end of our first year, and this planning method worked great! Just remember to be flexible. The beauty of homeschooling is that none of it is etched in stone.
And can I just say… I’m pretty stoked about how easy it was, that it only took a weekend to do, AND that our first year looks amazing.
Note: All of the following planning takes place AFTER you’ve chosen your curriculum.
1. Figure out Your Format
Do you plan to stick to the traditional school schedule (4 terms with a summer break)? Or maybe you want to go year-round? Or even do something completely custom… maybe a long break in winter instead of summer?
Before you plan anything, you’ve got to have this nailed down.
We opted for the year-round schedule. It just makes sense for us. To me, learning (in the way I want to present it to my kids) isn’t compartmentalized to certain times. We stay learning. So homeschooling all year with smaller brain breaks penciled in just fits.
2. Schedule Breaks
Speaking of breaks, after you find out what format you want to follow, you’ll also need to decide on breaks (especially if you go the year-round or custom route). Some people wing it. They know they want to educate for x amount of weeks and have x amount of weeks off. Then they just decide as they go.
For our family, that doesn’t really work. I need a more concrete plan because we share our two older children with their dad. Co-parenting is always smoother when everyone knows what’s going on.
3. Pencil In Educational Weeks/Days
Once you know when your breaks are, you can number your educational weeks to prepare for step #5. In this step, I’m also sure to note which weeks will be short weeks (3 or 4 days) so I know how many lessons we’ll be able to get through when we start filling in slots later on.
4. Transitioning from Public School?
This is a good time to mention transitioning. If your children have never been in public school, don’t worry about this step.
Accounting for the transition from public school to homeschool was probably the most crucial step in planning this year.
It took some time for me to figure out what I would need to teach before starting their new curriculum and what my children had already learned. For my oldest (going into first grade), it meant sitting down with him — Level K curriculum in hand — and going through lesson by lesson to decide if each one was something he had learned this year or not.
There are things that both of my older kids need to know before continuing in the curriculum we’ve chosen, so we have to take the time to bridge that gap. Because of our transition period, I’m going to be homeschooling them for about 4 extra weeks than I will in years to come.
5. Divide Your Curriculum By Your Weeks
Once all that is decided, it’s time to split up the curriculum based on weeks. For some subjects or curriculum, this is simple. For example, some are set up to be a lesson per day or 2 lessons per week. Easy peasy.
Others will require you to go through each lesson and decide how much time it will take you and your kids to get through the material.
Don’t forget to allow for assessments & field trips!
6. Use a Scheduling Tool
The weekly planning sheets I use are different, but the yearly one was exactly what I needed. She even created separate tabs for people with multiple children (up to 4) to make the scheduling part as simple as possible.
It’s basically just plugging in lessons from here and seeing where you can be creative and add some fun extras into the framework.
Planning only took me about 2 days (working on it periodically from Friday evening to Sunday evening), and now we’re set for the year!
I’m sure that as we go along, tweaking will need to be done. Maybe they’ll go faster than what I thought in one subject or need some extra days in another. But having the general outline for our first year complete is so satisfying.
What do you do to schedule your homeschooling year? Do you like this method or are you more go-with-the-flow? I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time,
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