Often I am asked by new homeschoolers about how to make an overall plan for the year. They are looking for the nuts and bolts of putting lots of great ideas together because they tend to get overwhelmed by the whole process. I shared the following ideas with a friend and I hope they help with planning the homeschool year and encourage readers here at Curriculum Choice.
I try to emphasis to new homeschoolers that your “school day” extends far beyond the usual school hours. By making good use of that concept you can fit some school related learning into every day of the week and move some of your ideas and projects into the evenings or over the weekends so your whole family can participate.
My Steps To Make An Overall Plan for The Year
1. Consider what you want to teach. What are the main points of the lessons? What are my goals for this particular year? The process of putting these thoughts on paper in a simple form gives a touchstone when considering what books, resources, and other options to use. Remember to balance academic with interest-driven learning.
2. Gather your materials to see what you have and what you might need:
- Textbooks or workbooks (if you are going to use these)
- Library books (look on your local library website and browse their catalog of books)
- Games and Kits
- Online activities (Google the topic with “lesson plan” after it or “activities” or “unit study”)
- Field trip ideas
- DVDs and Netflix
I usually keep a notebook page for each subject as I am planning and record my ideas on paper as I go.
3. Decide which materials best suit your child. Try to figure out which aspect of what you are learning is going to be most interesting to them.
- Active learner-Short activities, lots of movement, limited table time.
- Visual Learner-Picture books, videos, lots of art activities.
- Avid Reader-Keep a list of books that can fill in your schedule and don’t forget books for subjects like science, history, and biographies of artists and musicians.
- Project Learner-Kits, models, lapbooks, and notebook pages are great for this kind of learner.
4. Divide the text, books, activities, and field trips into the desired amount of time. I prefer to move slowly through a book and have them give an oral or written narration every day. When your children are young, working up to one paragraph per book selection per day is enough along with a drawing or a map or something that is interesting to them. I never try to do it all. (see #6) You may wish to read this entry on my blog: Simplicity is Best.
5. Look for ways to connect subjects:
- History and literature (historical fiction)
- History and art and music (learn about artists and composers from the history time period)
- Science and art (drawing diagrams or labs, drawing animals found in your neighborhood)
- Math and science (measuring things for labs, cooking)
- PE and math (times tables while jump roping, counting repetitions, count as you bounce a ball)
6. Have an overall plan but be flexible.
- Decide if any areas are needing extra attention for this school year, make those a priority and perhaps complete them earlier in the day.
- Take the opportunity for field trips. This is one reason for home schooling in the first place. Taking field trips when everyone else is back in school is so enjoyable and far less crowded.
- Plan for interruptions. Divide your books into 34 or 35 weeks instead of 38 so you have some wiggle room.
7. Have a plan for things to do when your child is sick:
- Educational videos while laying on the couch.
- Read out loud to your child.
- Listen to classical music while they rest.
- Play quiet games.
8. Make use of your time spent traveling in the car:
- Listen to audio books.
- Listen to folk music or classical music.
- Have a box of books they can read to themselves.
- Have a stack of math facts flashcards (keep in a Ziploc.)
- Have a stack of sight words to read (keep in a Ziploc.)
Hopefully this post has helped you in some way, either with a few ideas to get started with or a some new ideas to try in your homeschool.
~Originally published August 2009.