You've scoured the curriculum catalogs, stalked the on-line sites and attended every used curriculum sale within a 50 mile radius. You've found everything you need...or think you'll need, for the coming school year. Now it sits, piled high on the dining room table and you find yourself wondering - NOW WHAT?
Homeschool planning can seem an overwhelming task, but take heart! It doesn't have to be. By breaking it down into five easy steps you can plan your way to a great year!
1. Make a list of goals for each child. It doesn't have to be a long list, just a few key things you want to see improved on. Maybe for your kinder aged child your goal will be teaching them to read. Everything else will revolve around that main goal. For your fourth grader it might be to improve their mental math skills and your preteen may need to focus on working more independently. Keeping these goals in mind will help keep you focused on what's important and allow you to work in opportunities for growth in those areas.
2. Assess your child's strengths and weaknesses when making your schedule. Are they great at reading, but struggle with new math concepts? Then plan on tackling math first thing in the morning when they're feeling fresh and let them read on their own after lunch. Do they love to tackle creative projects, but don't want to sit still to get their basics done? Reward them for completing their math lesson with time to work on their own pursuits. In doing so, you're working with, rather than against, how they're naturally wired.
3. Get your child involved! Show them what subjects you have planned for the year and get their input on what their day should look like. Obviously mom has veto power, but involving them in the planning makes them feel more responsible for accomplishing the tasks given them. It also sends the important message that you care about their ideas and how they spend their time.
4. Go with what works for YOUR FAMILY! Some families prefer a more rigid, time enforced schedule, while others function better with a general outline. You can pencil in math every morning at precisely 9:30 and history at 10:00 or you can say we will accomplish math and history before 11:00. Either approach is OK. Forget the fact that your neighbor has her kids sitting at the kitchen table doing their work promptly at 8:00 a.m. Don't kill yourself trying to make your family fit someone else's schedule.
5. Write out a tentative schedule...in pencil! Know that no matter how U-MAZING your schedule looks on paper, it will not always go according to plan. In fact, it may rarely go according to plan! Flexibility and a really good eraser are a homeschool mom's BFF.
Take a deep breath mom. Homeschool planning doesn't have to be a daunting task. With a little bit of thoughtful focus, you can have a awesome year.