Homeschool Planning

Homeschool Planning

While we take our month or so break from homeschooling through August {well, at least any formal kind of work – there has been plenty of learning going on all summer!}, it gives me time to start thinking and planning the next homeschooling year. To work out the logistics of what our year will look like, what we’ll fill our days with and a rough idea of what I’d like to have achieved by next summer.

In truth, I start at the beginning of the summer. As we pack away our books and courses for the summer, I start mentally going over all that we’ve studied this past year. Mentally ticking off boxes of things we have covered, listing new skills the kiddos have, topics they have covered and any areas they may need some extra focus on. It’s great to look back on the past year, to see what worked, or what didn’t, areas that we could change or improve, and things that we want to carry on with. Over the past nine years of homeschooling, we’ve tried a variety of approaches and routines, and I think we’ve finally found a way that works for us. We’re pretty eclectic, we don’t fit neatly into one box – but we do what works for us as a family, as well as for each child as an individual.

Planning for the new year begins with conversations. The kids and I chat about what they enjoyed, or what they haven’t. About theĀ things they would like to learn or do, ideas about what they want to fill their days with. With four kids, one of whom is a toddler, plus me needing to fit in a couple of ‘work hours’ each day, I need to have a certain amount of routine in place to help our days flow and everything gets done that needs doing.

Once I’ve had a chat with all the kids, I begin making notes, jotting down ideas for each of them – what level maths they will be doing, pulling together a reading list for the year, making a list of history/science/geography projects we could do, any extracurricular ideas – either at home or out of the house.

And then, finally, I can begin making plans. I like to have the kiddos doing a set Maths programme, and they all have some sort of English/Reading curriculum, depending on ages/levels/needs. Now that Lola is older, and thinking ahead to her possibilities for the next few years, she tends to follow her own programme of work and is working through a few more ‘formal’ courses in prep for thinking about exams.

For the other two girls, asides from their Maths and English which they tend to work through separately, a lot of what we do is projects/unit studies, work that can be done together and adjusted slightly for each of them. Last year they both really enjoyed lapbooks, so we’ll be adding a few more of those in through the year, as well as some science projects and a year-long history project.

I don’t do detailed lesson plans, or a what we’re going to be doing every day kinda plan. I like to have an outline of the whole year in place, with plenty of room for flexibility. This year will look a little different, as family circumstances are changing slightly, with G going back to college and then University, so we’ll be sticking more to ‘school hours’ so we can be off when he is off!

I think the key with homeschooling planning, that I’ve learnt over the years, is not to try to plan TOO much. It’s easy to add in a zillion courses, or projects to complete, but then when life gets in the way and they don’t get done you end up stressed that you’re ‘behind’. With the girls being bigger, it’s easier now for me to give them projects and ideas they can do by themselves, without needing me there 100% of the time, so that makes a big difference to how our days pan out.

The great thing about planning like this is that the kiddos and I are all looking forward to ‘school’ starting again. When they get to help shape their learning for the year it means they are excited to get learning, and that to me, is one of the most important reasons why we homeschool. Learning is fun and I want my children to enjoy what they are studying, as well as having the freedom to learn the things that interest them and are relevant. I’ll be sharing more detailed plans, and details of curriculum choices and courses we’ve chosen in the next week or two once our plans are finalised.


1 Comment

  1. Caroline
    July 25, 2017 / 23:20

    Great website thank you! Also single parent with three kids and vegan with two vegetarians – so will look at your recipes (check out Veronika Robinson’s vegan cookbooks also a homeschooler though her kids are older now) …it can be done and yours is very positive
    How is Lola finding school?

    Thank you for sharing

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