I’m pretty excited about the influx of homeschoolers this year! I love seeing their ideas and questions about planning out their homeschool year and their days. It gives me a renewed enthusiasm for planning ours 😀
I’ve been homeschooling for 17 years and I can honestly say that no 2 years have been the same. In that time I have had 3 babies, graduated 2 kids, moved from our home of 20 years, are building a home, among many other ways life has been lived.
I love planning! Seriously, creating a routine or schedule for our days / weeks / months / year is fun for me. It used to be really stressful for me when the plan didn’t come together as I had planned it. I have learned to plan a little differently and to be ok when it needs tweaking. I bought pens for this year, different colored ones for each kid – thinking maybe I should get some erasable ones in those colors too, or colored pencils…hmm…
Over the summer, before we start our new school year (or maybe even before we finish the last school year) I print out a 1 page full year calendar so I can map out holidays and other planned days off (business trips with Daddy, Grandma visiting, etc.). Those days still count as school because they are learning so much! I just need to know they are off limits for for planning bookwork or together work.
I decide how I’m going to record those plans for the year around the same time I’m figuring out the map of the year. I have used a teacher planner just for myself before, a composition notebook where I record what we’ve done instead of what we will do, a planner for myself in combination with student planners for the kids. This year, the kids want their own planners so, we will have theirs and mine. We will have weekly meetings / planning sessions – I think 😉 That may change. There are 3 of them and 1 of me 😉 So, we may plan 3 weeks at a time and I only plan with one of them a week so we can rotate that way – we will see. Planning too far out becomes a problem when someone gets sick, a random play date comes up, Daddy wants to go on a day trip somewhere (hiking, fishing, or whatever), Grandpa wants to take the kids flying, or any number of other things that can come up.
As the new books come in, I will sit down and see how many lessons are in each one and about when each will be finished. If it’s a book we will be reading together, sometimes I will see how many chapters it is and plan out a chapter a day – although I have taken to just writing in that we are going to read it instead of how many chapters because it is inevitable that we will wind up reading way more than planned, or way less and go off on a rabbit trail about something we have read. In this way, I kind of have an idea of when we will finish out the school year.
From there, I make sure I have all of our supplies in. Pencils, paper, any notebooks / journals / binders we will need, crayons, colored pencils, markers, erasers, sharpeners, storage containers, etc. The kids get to pick out new things every year too. Sometimes it’s new pencils or backpacks, sometimes it’s a new game or book to read. I like to get them a new gift every year too. A few years ago, I got the younger 3 that are still at home new headphones an cases for them 🙂 I like to have a party the first day of school too: we have had tea parties, movie parties, picnics on the trampoline, trips to see big sis at the restaurant she works at (there have been a few), etc.
As we get closer to the start of this school year, we will get out our planners and our new pens and see how crazy we can make ourselves! I mean, we will plan out the first few weeks of our school year. The beginning of the school year is always tough for me b/c hubby has a business opportunity that is right at the beginning of the school year. I am debating this year on starting the book work (like math, language, science, & history) after that event so there’s less of a disruption, but going ahead starting our together stuff (reading LOTR, Bible – the kids want to start reading through the Bible, so we will start, finish read Wounded by Love: The Life and Wisdom of Saint Porphyrios by Porphyrios and start one on Byzantine women (I can’t think of the title for that one, but I do know where it is), journal, draw, color, practice guitar & voice, and play some games and maybe watch some educational movies.
As for our days and the routines… well, we will leave that post for another day…
Enjoy the journey!