Whether it’s your first year or you’ve been at this for a decade, there are two words that often strike fear in the hearts of many parents: homeschool planning.
Homeschooling is a beautiful idea that brings parents and children closer together while making sure that a child receives a high-quality, personalized education. While the idea is wonderful, it’s true that making that dream come true is easier said than done. Homeschool planning often requires a lot of time, research, and dedication.
So whether you’re considering beginning your homeschooling journey or you’d like to revamp some of your previous techniques, here are the top 7 strategies for effective homeschool planning:
7 Strategies for Effective Homeschool Planning
Just a little disclaimer before getting too deep into these pedagogical details, just remember that every parent and every child is different. What works great for those amazing Pinterest homeschooling moms may not work out for you.
So take some of these ideas to heart, reflect on them, and figure out what is best for you and your child.
A great way to start every (home)school year is to start off with some self-reflection exercises. Why are you choosing to homeschool? What are your beliefs about education? What do you hope to achieve by homeschooling?
When you begin your homeschool planning adventure, you want to have an end goal in sight. By setting aside some time to understand why you are homeschooling, you’ll be able to make sure your values shine through your child’s curriculum.
This is also a great exercise for any parents who need just a bit of motivation to get them back on track (aka every parent!).
Ask Your Kids What They Want to Learn
This next step is often overlooked, even though it’s a core principle to the homeschooling method. Your child should be free to explore and learn what interests them. So make sure you incorporate their opinions as much as possible into their curriculum.
For example, if your child is super passionate about dinosaurs, try to incorporate that into your Science classes. Better yet, take them to a Natural History Museum on a day that you’d like to get them out of the house. It’s a great way to teach your children to love learning.
Of course, you’re still the parent, but the opinions and interests of these tiny humans still matter. By asking them what they would like to learn, you’re teaching them to love learning and to have their opinions respected.
Consult Local and State Laws
Naturally, even though your child might want to exclusively learn about one subject, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be checking with state education laws. Each year before doing your homeschooling planning, you’ll want to make sure that you’re revising your local and state education laws regarding the curriculum.
Not only does this ultimately help you by getting a clear idea of what your child’s peers are learning, but it will also help you from staying out of trouble. You don’t want to get halfway through the school year just to find out that – legally – your child is way behind curriculum-wise.
If you have trouble navigating these wordy education laws, try checking out local homeschooling support groups. These parents probably have years of experience and are always more than willing to help out a fellow homeschooling parent.
Create a Curriculum List
Remember that you have a lot of options when it comes to the curriculum for each subject. In fact, even if you find a curriculum from one source on Math, you might prefer another source’s curriculum for English.
In cases like this (which is almost always), the best course of action is to write them all down and keep yourself organized. If you’re tech-savvy, create a digital notebook so you can have all this information in one place. And for those of you who prefer a classic pen-to-paper experience, get yourself a good notebook and write down all this information on the first page.
One of the most important rules for effective homeschool planning is a simple organization system. You don’t want to be spending time flipping through papers and trying to remember what each day’s topic was supposed to be on. Keep all your teaching materials in the same place and you’ll be able to streamline your classes.
Here is a more detail article about 《How to Plan an Effective Homeschool Curriculum?》
Leave Room for Non-Core Subjects
While it is of course crucial to make sure your children are learning about Math, Science, and English – don’t forget that there are so many more subjects that are invaluable to your children.
For many, one of the biggest reasons to start homeschooling is the disillusionment the education system creates. Many sit in a building like worker bees, learning the exact same five subjects and nothing else, then forced out into the world.
As a homeschooling parent, you can stop that. Let your child learn about Philosophy, Music, and Poetry. Remember that just because a certain topic doesn’t look “impressive” on a resume, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. Allow your children to experience the joy of learning for the sake of learning.
Keep it Simple
Moving on to a more practical strategy – keep it simple. Many first-timers will try to plan every lesson with groundbreaking, innovative lessons that leave scholars and pedagogues stunned. And every once and a while, that can be great.
But you don’t need to be overworking yourself on a daily basis. You’ll experience burnout, which won’t be good for you, your child, or the rest of your family.
The best course of action is to start with the bare-bones basics, then slowly incorporate more complex lessons and materials throughout your child’s homeschooling experience. For example, you don’t need to start off with a huge, color-coordinated, and annotated binder you bought off of Etsy for $200. A Dollar Store notebook and a highlighter will accomplish the same task of keeping you organized.
So keep things simple. Plan enjoyable, but simplistic lessons that don’t require a ton of materials and time. Go to museums and let your children explore using readily available sources. Because at the end of the day, even the World’s #1 Mom/Dad can’t dedicate every second of their free time to homeschool planning.
Don’t over plan
Although it may be tempting, do your best not to overdo it with your homeschool planning. You can plan general lessons and timeframes, but don’t get overzealous and strict with your schedule.
Let’s face it – life happens. Someone gets sick, you have to take the dog to the vet, the power goes out, etc. You need to have a certain level of flexibility in your curriculum planning to make sure that your child is learning everything they need, but it’s not a big deal if things get shuffled around.
At an educational level, this is also a great way to model to your child how to be an adaptive, flexible, and responsive adult. You want to show them that, while not ideal, it’s okay if things don’t work out the way you wanted.
Instead, general plans that leave some wiggle room will save you from pulling your hair out and teach your child valuable life lessons.
Time to Start Learning!
Homeschool planning is definitely an adventure to embark upon, but no journey is too great for a well-intentioned and well-prepared parent!
So go ahead and make your life easier by following these 7 strategies for effective homeschool planning. Your mental health will thank you. And at some point down the road, your children will thank you, too.