Monday, May 20, 2013

Time to think about school planning!

Summer is just barely started, but if you are a homeschooler you are already thinking about the next school year.  I thought I'd share what I'm doing to prepare for school planning in case it helps someone else through this process, but also for future reference for myself because I'm likely to forget.

1.  My husband and I recently went out on a planning date.  Our family seems to do best using a unit study format, this was a time for us to discuss what those would be.  I had some ideas, and we have some that we repeat every year.  I wanted to know what my husband wanted our family to be learning. Together we ran through not only our ideas for what we thought we should be studying, but what we knew would be going on in our family in this coming year (a new baby and a move).  We put together a basic outline for the coming school year.

2.  I'm giving some time to prayer and thought about each child, and what they are needing in the coming year.  I'll have 5 school age kids this year, I need to assess where each one of them is, their strengths and weaknesses (both educationally and spiritually).  I'll also have three little ones that will need direction in their days (a preschooler, toddler, and a newborn in October).  Little ones should not be free to run wild, they need some direction in their days, they also need plenty of love and attention.

3.  Start training.  Have you ever put together a wonderful school plan/schedule only to have it fall apart the first day/week?  I have.  Sometimes we over plan; or just forget about the many interruptions that happen in a day.  Other times the kids are having a hard time adjusting to the new structure or concepts, they just are not ready for 1/2 hour of the planned activity, they would do better starting with 10 minutes and working their way up to that 30 minutes.  Maybe they had too much freedom through the summer and are resisting the reinstated structure?  Think about those activities you may be planning for the little ones such as circle time, room time, blanket time, craft/table time and use this summer time to teach them what will be expected during these times.  Keep some structure to your days through the summer, don't just let them run wild as you focus on school planning and summer projects. This can help those first days run and bit more smoothly.

*We're working on room time for these two.  I made a recording for them to listen to (the first was 7.5 minutes) and give them a basket of toys.  They are so excited about room time every day and ready to move up to 15 minutes.  They will work up to 30-40 minutes for this school year.  While they are happy playing together in a bedroom listening to a recording of mommy talking to them; teaching manners, going over memory verses and singing songs, I'll be using that time to teach reading and math lessons to my younger two students.  My kindergartener has also asked to do room time, I'll most likely have the baby join her in a bouncy seat so they can have some time together.

4. Recruit helpers!  I'll be busy putting together school plans, binders, and activities, but I don't need to do it all on my own.  My kids love helping with these sorts of things, and it helps them get excited about the coming school year too.  Think about what areas you can involve the kids in this process.

5. Plan for fun too, don't just let the summer waste away with the kids roaming around with too much free time.  Plan some fun activities.  We have a family pass to the Children's museum in town that I plan to use a few times.  With the combination of the heat and my pregnant belly a friend's invitation to come swimming at her place regularly sounded great.  On many afternoons when it often feels so hot (110+ degrees) we just don't want to do a thing I'll be letting the kids set up our projector in the living room so we can watch a couple of special DVD's I'm planning on purchasing as a special summer treat.  The big kids all have projects they are looking forward to having more time for.  I've got some special plans for the little ones as well, but that will be its own post.

6. Don't forget to clean out the books and curriculum that just is not working for your family or you don't need anymore.  Many groups have used curriculum/book sales this time of year (or you could use e-bay).  By selling these things you may be able to help finance the needs for the coming year.

Ok, thats my plan for getting the ball rolling on school planning this year.  It may help to know that I plan for the whole year.  This is just my brainstorming and outlining phase.  Next month I'll actually start putting things together.  My kids will have binders with a assignments, worksheets, activities etc. for the whole year; they are divided by month.  I'll have a circle time binder with topics, memory verses, as well as notes for our read-alouds, library books to request and supplies needed.

How do you plan for getting the next school year together?

1 comment:

  1. We school Jan-Nov, but I find I buy a lot of our curriculum & books in the summer. That's when many families are getting rid of used materials & changing things out. It's hard not to get excited about "next year" with everyone when we're smack in the middle of this year. We are definitely revamping our schedule in the coming weeks.