August is back to school time for everyone, including homeschoolers. Planning out your year is one of the critical steps a parent needs to take in preparation for the upcoming school year. For new homeschoolers, this task can feel daunting, but planning shouldn't be hard or frustrating.
Each August, I sit down and plan out my homeschool year. The plans are always subject to change, but a plan gives me a rough overview of the year to come. I break down the steps I take for you to help make the process easier. Let's jump into planning mode!
I'm a goal setter. They motivate me, especially on the days when I'm tired, and my coffee isn't strong enough. Each school year, my husband and I sit down and create a list of goals.
The goals include:
- academic goals for each child
- overall goals for all of our kids
- field trip and extracurricular ideas
Plan the School Year
Next, I plan out the length of our school year. Make sure you check your state's requirements to see if you need a certain amount of hours or days.
Our family likes six weeks on, one week off schedule, with classic breaks for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. This schedule works for our family, but your family might prefer something else. It often takes trial and error to find the right homeschool schedule.
Consider a Year-Round Schedule
Through different seasons in our family, a year-round schedule worked well. A year-round schedule doesn't mean your kids never get a break. Instead, for many families, it gives families the opportunity to be more flexible with their agenda. Most take longer breaks for Christmas and Easter, as well as a month or so off for summer.
If you want to homeschool because of the flexibility offered, a year-round schedule could be perfect for you!
Pick Field Trip Opportunities
Spontaneous trips are fantastic, but make sure you plan and schedule a few field trips throughout the year. Plug them into your calendar ahead of time so you can prepare.
We try to plan field trips to coordinate with our history and science lessons, if possible. For example, while studying the Civil War, we might try to visit the battle site nearby. If we are studying Native Americans, we might visit a local museum!
Select Your Curriculum
Possibly the hardest part of homeschooling is picking curriculum because there are so many fantastic choices. There is no right or wrong curriculum. Find one that works for your family. Sometimes, something won't work, and you have to pick another curriculum. It happens to everyone; it's okay!