You are ready to start homeschooling, now what? Keeping up with homeschooling is the easiest way to succeed. Here’s a month-by-month checklist of what to do in your homeschool. If you run on a different schedule, simply count September as month 1 of your year and go from there. Here’s a monthly homeschool checklist.
Startup and Setup
Open up your school room or corner. Get all your texts, resources, and other books laid out. Start the year on a good foot.
Quick Two Week Checkup
What is working? What’s not? Two weeks in you can tell a lot about how the year is going to go. Sit down and access how things have been going and adjust accordingly. Remember there is no way to know what works until you test it.
Fill in any gaps with School Resources
Did you realize that having one pack of markers just isn’t working? Is there a reference book or manipulative that will make learning easier? Fill the gaps and move on.
Get up to speed, if you did a staggered start
Sometimes, a staggered start is the way to go. Gradually slide into the school year. October is the time to jump all the way in.
Write Ideas for Winter Fun
The days are getting colder, it’s time to decide what you will do to keep the kids occupied this winter. Make a list of possible fun at home, in your neighborhood, and online.
Plan Field Trips with Budget
Get those field trips nailed down. Decided where you will go and when. Calculate out the costs and search for deals. Then set a budget for the year.
Perform a Progress Audit
The next quarter may already be in the books. It’s time to track your progress and see how you are doing. Are you way ahead? Have you fallen “behind”? Now is the time to see how those plans are playing out.
Make Adjustments to Your Schedule
Now’s the time to get ready for the next quarter or semester. Pull out any new resources you will need. Adjust your schedule, pace, or plans if need be. Start off with the next quarter just as you did the first, on the right foot.
Sign up for any Winter Activities
If you haven’t done so already, sign up for any winter activities. Make a plan for homeschooling through the holidays: Holidays are coming and you will need a plan. There will be more to do and much excitement. Decide how you will handle this, and when you will take a break.
Mid-Year Review during Christmas Break
Can you believe how far you have made it? Now, it’s time to do a mid-year review. Just like the reviews at two weeks and the end of the first quarter, it’s time to see what’s working and what is not. Are you still struggling through math? Have you not even started geography? Access what needs to change and how you can do thing differently.
Reorganize and Tidy Up Classroom for Efficiency
Maybe that Pinterest layout isn’t actually the best set up for your space. Don’t be afraid to move things around and reorganize as you see fit. This is also a great time to do some of the deep cleanings that you keep putting off.
Inventory School Supplies
Count all your pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, etc. What do you need more of? Which has been the most popular? What could you use? This will help you plan for next year and next quarter.
Meet with each child to discuss what is working and what isn’t: Now, it’s time for the kids to weigh in. How are your children feeling about the year so far? Are the elements they would like to change? What do they feel is working well. It’s important to get their opinions, you may be surprised by the answers.
Remove Ineffective Homeschool Curriculum
Now that you have asked the kids and taken stock yourself, it is time to replace or revamp anything that needs it. Be willing to try something new. You will be happy you did.
Purchase any needed school supplies
Fill in any gaps from your school supply inventory so you are ready for the rest of the year. Make a plan for keeping your sanity in February: February is the hardest month of the homeschool year. Get ahead of the Winter Homeschool Blues with a plan on how to cope. Connect with other moms, find special activities or projects, and maybe buy yourself a special tea, hand cream or other self pampering product. You deserve it.
Update portfolios or grade rosters as needed by your state
Don’t wait for the end of the year. Get your records up to date so you are not drowning in record-keeping come spring. Consult your state requirements one more time, make sure you are on track for the year.
Review Progress with Mini-Assessments
Conduct some mini-assessments. No need for long, complicated exams. Simply assess where your child is and everything he has learned.
Determine any Gaps in Goals
Are there goals you haven’t reached? Did you make it to the correct chapter, but there is a skill your child has yet to master. Reassess your goals and plan accordingly.
Change it up with a Project
February is the perfect time to try something new. Taking a break from school plans never means the learning ends. Plan a project week or reading week to catch your breath and make this difficult month easier.
Look Ahead Next Year for Changes
It’s time to look forward to the next year. It may not feel like it, but it will be here before you know it. What would you like to accomplish next year? What would you change?
Buy Supplemental Materials to fill in Gaps
If your child has gaps in reading, math, or another skill, make small purchases to round out your learning. Look online for printables or low-cost solutions.
Keep a Running List of Child Needs
Make a full list of what you will need for each child. If you don’t know exactly which curriculum or book you plan to use, that is okay. Just compile a list of all the types or books or resources needs, i.e. 3rd grade math, spelling curriculum, handwriting, etc.
Take inventory of Resources
Be sure to go through everything you have. Take inventory of items on your list that you already own.
Research curriculum for Next Year
For the curriculum choices that you either don’t already own or have already chosen, start researching. Look into what options are available, see what fits your needs.
Determine a Homeschool Budget
It is hard to plan without knowing what you have to spend. The homeschool catalogs make you feel like you need everything. Know where you stand financially so you can make wise decisions without regrets.
Repeat this process at the end of the year. Have their answers changed? Take notes on what they share.
Compare to State Requirements
It’s time to pull out those state requirements one more time. Make sure you have all the boxes checked. Be sure to tackle anything you miss asap.
Conduct End of Year Evaluations & Assessments
Evaluate your child’s progress with end of year assessments. These do not have to be a written test, but must follow your state guidelines and requirements. Assess their progress and any gaps that need to be filled next year.
Finalize Portfolios for Submission or Evaluation
It’s time to finalize portfolios. Make final decisions on what to include, complete any needed paperwork, and submit.
Determine 3-5 Curriculum Options
You have been researching curriculum and probably found more than you ever expected. Narrow down your choices to your top picks.
Plan to attend a homeschool conference or two
Make the time to attend a homeschool conference. This will give you vital support, encouragement, and information to help next year be even better. It will also help you explore curriculum options.
Homeschool Goals for Next Year
Set your goals for next year. Make sure to write them down. Make a list of goals for your family, yourself, and each child.
Establish a rubric or set of benchmarks to measure success for your goals. How can you track your progress and know when the goal is met? (Planning a way to celebrate meeting a goal is a good idea, too.)
Shop Homeschool Sales
Now is the time to find sales, coupons, and discounts. See who is offering specials. Shop online sales groups, and stretch that budget to the max.
Assess Leftover Homeschool Curriculum
Life happens, and sometimes what seemed completely doable in August, just isn’t in real life. See if there is anything you have not completed. Decide if you will continue until it is finished or tack it on to next year.
Create a Summer School Plan
What will you be learning this summer? Will you continue with math and reading lessons? Are you going to switch to a more unschooling or life schooling model? There is no right or wrong answer. Do what your family needs, not what everyone else is doing.
Summer Break Options
We all need some time to recharge our batteries and catch our breath. When will you take a break? How long will it be? As with everything, do what works for you.
Final Decisions on Curriculum
Make your final decisions. If you are still stuck on deciding, contact the companies and see if you can get a sample PDF to preview. Either way, take a deep breath and be confident in your decisions. No plan is ever perfect.
Do a really deep clean of the classroom. Purge clutter or materials that are no longer usable. Get it all ready to head back to school in a clean and clutter-free environment.
Field Trip Planning/Research
Start researching ideas for field trips. Make a list of ideas near and far. Consider what you will be studying in science and history. Also, look for homeschool deals or events to save extra money. Make a dream list broken down by local, day trip, and extended stay. You can narrow it down in a couple of months when you finalize your plans and budget.
Final Curriculum Orders
Place the last of your curriculum orders. Buy anything you haven’t. It can take some time for the curriculum to be delivered during the late summer rush. So, give yourself enough space so you aren’t stressing over items arriving in time.
Now that the classroom is really clean, organize all of your materials. Add in the new curriculum and resources. Assemble any new furniture.
Schedule Planning System
Decide on a time and day to do your planning. Make sure it is a time that you can stick to every week. Making planning a habit will make it less stressful and more fruitful.
Research State Laws for Grade level
Check your state laws for the grade levels you will be teaching. Compile a list of requirements for each child.
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