When it comes time to plan your coming school year it is easy to spin your wheels. Here are some simple steps to follow when you are ready to plan.
Prayer is an essential first step. As you begin planning your homeschool year, it is good to get the bigger picture. Have you considered what your homeschool looks like from God’s point of view? List some of your biggest concerns and bring them before the Lord. Praise Him too, for bringing your family to this point. Ask God for direction in your planning and He will guide your path.
Evaluate. Where are your children academically and spiritually? Where do you want them to be at this time next year? Where will you homeschool and have you optimized your space? What can you do to organize your space and material better without purchasing anything? Can you budget for a future purchase that will simplify your life? Do you have significant unmet physical needs such as a printer, a bookshelf, or a computer? Have you prayed about these? As you evaluate make lists for future reference.
Identify your Values and Set Goals. A value is a broad area of importance, such as diligence and logic. A goal is more specific: “I want Caleb to learn to read.” is a goal.
Choose Your Curriculum. Now that you have defined your values and goals, your curriculum choices need to line up. If you value teaching Creation science you probably shouldn’t choose a main science curriculum that doesn’t support this value. If you want to teach your children to love reading, your curriculum should support that. This final lens can be a great help in finalizing your curriculum.
Approximate a Schedule. Can you fit all of the curriculum you’ve chosen into the days God has provided? Will you still have time to eat, do chores, and play? If you want a very specific schedule, now is the time to make one. Managers of Their Homes is a great resource for that. I prefer a very loose schedule. We have an approximate start time. Each child has a list of subjects they need to work on each day with an assigned number of pages or lessons in each. As they need my input they bring work to me for one-on-one. We have a “recess” at the same time each day and it serves as a great motivator for all of us to get work done. This method works very well for us and allows for guilt-free field trips and sick days.
Seek Wise Council. My husband usually talks through some of the planning with me as I go, but he doesn’t usually have the time to be involved in every step. When I think I have finished we sit down together and he provides a fresh perspective on what I’ve come up with. We usually tweak a few things and he usually asks me to cut back. I have come to value his council greatly through experience. He doesn’t change much about my plan, but when he does suggest or make changes he is always right!