Just thinking about how to plan your homeschool year can seem daunting.
You may feel like you don’t know where to start, how to go about it, or whether you can stay motivated through the process.
But, do not fear… I’ve created 11 steps to help you plan your homeschool year.
These steps will help you in small increments with action plans to help you feel like you’re on your way to a successful homeschool year!
How to Plan Your Homeschool Year in 11 Steps
STEP 1: Spend Time in Prayer
It’s so important to have our minds and hearts right when it comes to planning our homeschool year.
Seeking God’s face is the utmost priority so that we involve Holy Spirit in the decisions of our lives, family, children and homeschool endeavors.
Prepare your family and tell them what you’re going into. In fact, involve your family, pray together, speak the Word of God into your homeschool year and follow Holy Spirit’s leading and direction. He knows your family better than you do. So trust Him, surrender your homeschool and expect great things to take place.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
STEP 3: Evaluate Last Year (If Applicable)
If you homeschooled last year, it’s important ro review how it went. In order to propel your homeschool forward with goals to see success, evaluations are valuable.
- What worked in your homeschool schedule? What didn’t?
- How many days of school did you actually have? Was your calendar realistic?
- How did your children do with the curriculum? How did you do with the curriculum? Were you more involved in the curriculum or less involved?
- What changes would you like to see for this year, based on last year?
STEP 4: Determine/Review Homeschool Style
Your homeschool style revolves around your natural approach to homeschooling and education.
Some people have strong beliefs in their philosophy of education. Some families have a mixed approach in different subjects. There is no right answer to the way you homeschool your children, but often you’ll find a natural rhythm of what works best for you.
If you’re interested in finding out the homeschool style that best describes your approach, I would encourage you to check out Rebecca from Homeschool On’s homeschool style quiz here.
There is an extensive list of homeschool styles, including:
- Charlotte Mason
- Moore Formula
- Unit Studies
It’s important to review your provincial or state laws alongside discovering your homeschool style. If at all possible, I would highly recommend that the laws should not dictate your way of homeschooling.
STEP 5: List Your Goals
Take time and think about the goals you have for homeschooling.
Goals and ambitions are something to strive for in life. We wouldn’t stretch ourselves and expect more of ourselves if we didn’t have goals. It also helps fuel our faith in God to believe that it can happen inspiration, that He’s with us, and that with Him, we can do anything. Goals also are important so that we can celebrate an achievement. What is worth celebrating if we don’t have a goal?
We can then see that goals are important for your family, children and yourself.
Some questions to ask to create goals:
Do you want to have more or less field trips?
- Would you like to be part of a co-op?
- Will you get together with other homeschool families?
- Do you want your children involved in more activities or sports?
- As a parent, do you see giftings and talents coming out of your children to involve them in a specific area so that they can master it?
- Would you like to see your children read more? Do more projects? Be more hands-on?
- Would you like to read more, take in more conferences, etc.?
- Will your family have more vacation days or less? Maybe an educational vacation?
STEP 6: Plan Your Yearly Calendar
In how to plan your homeschool year, it’s important to determine what your yearly calendar is going to look like.
To begin planning out your yearly homeschool calendar:
- Choose your start date and end date of homeschooling.
- Set your holiday dates. (ie. Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break, family vacation or other extra days)
- Count how many days you have left. This is how many homeschool days you have for the year.
- From this determine, is this enough homeschool days or is it too many? Would you like an extra week off or perhaps leave a buffer for the unexpected (ie. feeling unwell, travel to see a family member, etc.).
STEP 7: Choose Your Curriculum
Take thoughtful time to choose curriculum.
What narrows down your curriculum options, first, is your homeschool style. Secondly, it is your child’s learning style and lastly, your teaching style.
There are so many curriculum choices available, (which is great), but the more choices you have, you can feel paralyzed with an inability to choose for fear that you might have missed something.
Take the time that you need in asking homeschool friends about their choices for curriculum, post a question to a group board on Facebook, or search for curriculum reviews to get a glimpse.
Choosing curriculum, to me, is one of the tougher areas. I can so easily be indecisive and think about things for far too long. If you’re like me, ask Holy Spirit to help you in this area if you’re feeling indecisive.
Once you’ve chosen curriculum, it’s time to get it down on paper!
STEP 8: Plan Your Course of Study
A Course of Study is an overview of the subjects and curriculum you’ll be doing with each child for the year. This allows you to see if you have gaps anywhere or if you’re overlapping in a particular area.
STEP 9: Create Your Lesson Plan
The purpose for a Lesson Plan is to make a plan with the curriculum.
There is no right way to plan your lessons; some people prefer to plan their lessons weekly or monthly. I, however, like creating a yearly tentatively lesson plan or guide using a spreadsheet.
A yearly lesson plan helps me keep myself accountable and on track. I then record what we actually do in a homeschool planner. It becomes my comparison (what I’d like to see done vs. what is actually accomplished).
On weekly and monthly basis, I review how we’re doing. Some weeks, we are right on target and the curriculum is working well for us. Other weeks, adjustments are necessary because the curriculum is not working, and we change things up.
I look at a lesson plan as more of a guide to our homeschool year, and not a pressurizing schedule of things to do.
A simple approach to CREATING YOUR LESSON PLAN:
Take your Course of Study, which indicates the number of lessons per curriculum. Take your calendar, which indicates the number of school days you are working with. This will decide whether you should do a lesson a day, or perhaps 2-3 times per week and perhaps create a loop schedule.
STEP 10: Organize Your Homeschool Room
Organization is KEY to success.
There is something about a clean room/area that frees our minds up from chaos and clutter, allowing better concentration and creativity. Changing up your homeschool area can create a new and fresh atmosphere so that it’s more exciting for you and your children to begin a new homeschool year.
Here are some things to consider when organizing your homeschool room:
- Clean-up previous year’s work.
- Clean tables and chairs so they are free from marker, pencil, crayon, etc.
- Store school supplies in their spots.
- Vacuum/sweep the floor.
- Tidy up garbage/recycling.
- Remove or add wall hangings/art work.
- Arrange/rearrange your homeschool room.
STEP 11: Create Your Supplies/Book List
As you review the curriculum for next year, make a list of supplies and books that you’ll need, so that you can take advantage of any sales or used curriculum.
11 simple steps to plan your successful homeschool year
Although this is one way in how to plan your homeschool year, what steps do you find speak to you the most?
Would you add any steps?
I’d love your feedback in the comments below.
Anchored in Jesus,