[Today’s article “A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning Next Year’s Homeschool (with Free Printable) was written by contributor Michelle Habrych.]
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It’s spring! For many of us that means the end of another year of homeschooling. Whether you continue educating through the summer or take a break for three months, at some point you need to start planning next year’s homeschool. What important considerations do you need to make? How do you know when you should try something new? When does the homeschool mom ever get a break? Read on for answers to these questions and more.
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning Next Year’s Homeschool
In our homeschool, June 1 will be the final day of this school year. We officially start our year in August when our homeschool group begins classes. As my teenagers know from experience, we still do some schooling through the summer. However, I do need to plan for the next school year as well.
Any Courses to Finish?
First, I need to consider what courses my students need to finish and what follows. For example, last school year my son took a geometry class with a teacher who did not communicate well with students or parents. To my dismay, I discovered that my son had not learned much in the class that year. It was at that point that I needed to come up with a plan. I knew I needed him to not have a wasted year without math. I took a different geometry curriculum, and he reviewed the entire book using a reduced schedule. He was able to complete the book on his own during the summer months and earn a B. If I had not taken the time to consider my goals for my son’s future, I may not have replaced that lost year.
Other important considerations to make include the following: What is my budget? Will this curriculum be able to be used for more than one student? Will I be able to resell it? Can I borrow it from a friend and use the money elsewhere? Is it available online for free? Would I prefer to buy a pre-packaged curriculum or create my own? Who do I want to support with my purchase, another homeschool mom or a big corporation who makes texts for public schools as well? These are all things to take under consideration as you are planning.
When to Try Something New
How do you know when you should try something new? The above example regarding geometry shows that I did not ask myself this question soon enough. Ideally, I would go back and talk to my son through the semester. I would have had more communication with the teacher. I would have asked to see his homework and tests. When you have looked at all of the work and your child is not understanding the concepts, it is time to consider trying something new.
One struggle moms have with this is that they have purchased something and want to get their money’s worth out of it. Imagine that you bought a game but it was missing some of the pieces. Would you keep trying to play it without the components necessary to win or would you set it aside and play a different game? If the curriculum or class is not working, you owe it to yourself and your student to try something else.
Ask around, either online or in person, and see what curriculum is working for others. Do some research. Try it out, if you are able, before buying it. Then jump in. Losing a couple of months is not as bad as losing an entire year. Remember, as a homeschool mom your goal is to get your child to learn. Keep that in mind when you need to “recalculate” your educational plan.
How to Plan Next Year’s Homeschool
When planning ahead, don’t try to do it all in one day. Take one or two subjects at a time. Use tools to facilitate your planning. I really like Homeschool Tracker for setting up lessons. (From Gena: Homeschool Planet is awesome, too!) Planning does not have to wait until the school year is finished. If you know your student is on track to finish her grammar book, plan what your next step is for the following school year now. It will be a load off your plate later. Remember, moms need a break, too.
I typically try to take a few break weeks during the year to avoid feeling overwhelmed. I took Christmas break with my kids, and I also stayed away from grading over spring break. Sunday afternoons can be a great time to be “off” as well. Being a homeschool mom can be difficult because you live at your workplace. Plan to separate yourself as needed. You won’t regret it!
[From Gena: Two things I’d recommend before starting the entire process of planning next year’s homeschool would be to pray and seek God’s wisdom and talk to your husband about his suggestions for goals for your child as well as the budget.]
Download Free Printable to Help You Plan
Now, onto your own planning! Download the free Step-by-Step Guide to Planning Next Year’s Homeschool Printable.
**What tips do you have for planning next year’s homeschool? Please share in a comment below!
- Here are this year’s curriculum choices to give you some ideas.
- The category Curriculum Reviews will give you lots of curriculum ideas of things Gena has reviewed.
Michelle Habrych is always planning something, from the classes her students will take at homeschool group to the next field trip. She homeschools two her teenagers, ages 14 and 15.