It’s that time of year again!
Many of you have already started your 2015/2016 Homeschool Year.
We’re gearing up to start in less than two weeks and that means it’s time to get things in order and make sure we’re ready to go on our First Day of Homeschool.
Every year I go through a similar process to get ready and it works pretty well for me.
6 Steps to Homeschool Rediness:
- Gathering Information. This step is usually the longest step as is involves carefully collected information throughout the previous year. I’m always paying attention to what works and doesn’t work for each child, as well as new curriculums I might want to try out next year. I usually keep a Pinterest Board or a Bookmarked list of things to look at when it’s time to order. If this is your first year homeschooling, gathering information would involve talking with other homeschooling families, visiting forums, researching curriculum publishers, reading about homeschooling methods….etc.
- Making Goals: One of the benefits of homeschooling is customizing your children’s education to suit their individual needs. Use this Goals Sheet to list out personal goals you’d like each child to complete by the end of the year. Older students should be involved in the goal setting, and if you need somewhere to start try looking up the requirements of your child’s grade level online.
- Coming up with a Plan: After you have a general idea of what you want your end result to be, it’s time to make a Plan! Use this Planning Sheet to list out your current inventory (books, curriculums, digital downloads etc…) that can be utilized to reach your goal. This is an important step, as homeschoolers (myself included) tend to collect (and forget about) educational items all through out the house. Making what you already have work for you is a great way to stretch your homeschool budget.
- Order Your Curriculum: Important Note: Only once you’ve done the previous three steps should you actually place any curriculum orders. Lest you become bitten by the Homeschooling Hoarding Monster and order a zillion items you can’t really use. (There are years which I too have been bitten….thus the necessity of Step #3)
- Organize a Homeschool Space: I’m not talking about redesigning an entire homeschool classroom here, but just clearing off a shelf or a basket or something for your children to keep all of their materials in. In my house each of my children have their own small shelf to store their school books and items. Every year this shelf starts out wonderfully organized and Homeschool Magazine perfect. And at the end of every year it is a Monstrosity. Make it fun to clean it up!! It has become tradition around here to have a Homeschool BURN day…..in which we collect all unnecessary and unkeepsake worthy items that cannot be reused and place them in our burn pile for Winter. You can imagine the giddy smiles of my children as they burn their Algebra homework, and watch their tear soaked papers go up in flames. It is strangely cleansing and therapeutic at the same time.
- Start a Schedule: I’ve never been much for keeping a strict schedule, but it’s good to have some sort of plan that YOU can live with and do you best to stick with it. For me that is a repetitive weekly schedule for my older children, and a sporadic daily plan for my younger children. I used these Homeschool Planners here and encourage my children to check off their assignments as they go. If you’re coming up with your own assignment schedule I have a super simple method that works for most curriculums by breaking it up into customized assignments. Here is an example:
- If we homeschool 5 days a week for 36 weeks that 180 teaching days.
- If I have a health curriculum book that is 300 pages, I’ll assign 2 reading pages a day (which covers 150 teaching days)
- The remaining 30 days remain for the different hands on activities, quizzes and tests which come up through out the year.
- I repeat this method for most of our curriculum and that way my children can work their way through their books, we can miss a day or reorganize something and we don’t have to rewrite the entire schedule….everything just shifts over a day.
- Bonus Step: Get yourself to the nearest Spa. You’ve earned at least a mani-pedi if not a cut and color too. Looking Good, Feeling Good…and ready to start your year!