Now’s the time to start planning how to homeschool this year. I’m approaching it from a number of angles.
This year, all six of my kids will be in school. The last few times I’ve said this, my listener has thought I meant I wasn’t homeschooling. They thought we were switching gears altogether and sending the kids “to school”.
Ha! No, I am a diehard homeschool mom, even without the denim jumper. What I mean is that all of my kids will be in “active schooling at home”. My baby turns 5 next month and will be starting kindergarten work in the fall.
Our children will be in 11th, 8th, 6th, 4th, 2nd, and kindergarten. Oh my!
As such, that means I need to get a game plan going for our school this year. I actually did much of this planning during the last week of school in the spring while it was all fresh in my mind. Those thoughts, combined with the boys’ standardized test scores, will be guiding the nuts and bolts of planning how to homeschool this year.
Every year is different, just as every child is different. Here are some of the things that go into my planning our homeschool for 2013-2014:
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I keep some of the things that worked in the past and try new ones.
Last summer I shared in-depth reviews of the curriculum we were using. Some things were wonderful, some not so much.
The Well-Trained Mind continues to be my “go-to resource” for homeschooling. I’m thrilled with our Math, Reading, and History resources; we’ll be continuing on with those for everyone, where applicable.
I loved the Grammar and Writing resources from Peace Hill Press that we used last year. Most of the kids will be continuing with those as well, except for the three older boys for Grammar. PHP doesn’t have middle school and high school grammar resources, and I did not love Rod and Staff, so we’ll be trying some new things for 6th, 8th, and 11th.
Visual Latin rocks. My 11th grader will be continuing on into his third or fourth year of it. French, on the other hand, has been a challenge. My mad time management skills did not allow for enough attention to French last year. So, I need to step it up so we can have a bon voyage next spring.
I consider a particular child’s strengths and weaknesses and what he needs in the coming year.
I breathed a big sigh of relief when my eldest’s test scores came back. Not that I put all that much weight into testing, but it was a nice objective confirmation that academically speaking, the experiment is working! My “guinea pig” is faring well with a home education and topped out in every category tested.
The younger kids’ tests were a good mix of above and at grade level with a few “needs improvement” areas. Part of the latter may be the fault of testing something they haven’t been exposed to, part may be the fault of the teacher. Either way, I know where to put a little more emphasis next year and what to keep at the current pace.
By considering each child’s strengths and weaknesses, I can set individual goals for him or her.
I plan our outside commitments and activities.
We’ve never been a big activities family. When the kids were all young, it was just too much. Slowly, as they get older, we work more things into the fold.
So far we’ve got hockey and Science class on the docket for outside activities for FishBoys16 and 12. My 9-year old will probably play hockey as well. Our piano teacher is going off to college, so we need to find an alternative music option for FishBoy11. I’d like to find the girls something that they’d enjoy doing as well, though one already has her sights set on playing hockey like her brothers.
I analyze my own strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, home manager and work at home mom.
There are so many moving parts in my life as mom. I am the main teacher for my kids, the main cook and bottle washer, and I work at home. The first and the latter are not negotiable this year. Those are things that I love and that serve my family.
However, even there I can find ways to delegate, like hiring a science teacher or enlisting a virtual assistant.
That middle point: cook and washerwoman? Well, we’re working on that. When my kids were all little, I did it all.
And, no, I have no idea HOW I did that.
Now that they are bigger, the kids take care of the kitchen chores, wash their own laundry, clean a bathroom once a week, take care of their own spaces, and are learning to cook. Amen. It helps me balance our home life and school life a little better.
I’ll be strategizing freezer meals, quick lunches, and breakfast bars to make the school daze easier.
That said, I do need to manage my time well and analyze my must-do’s, separating them from the time sucks. More on this once I figure it out. I know I need to so that I can walk this year with my head on straight. It starts with putting my new personal notebook together for the year.
Planning doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it easy. But, it does help you get closer to the outcomes you want to see in the future, whether it’s in homeschool or just life in general.