Are you overwhelmed when planning your homeschool year? Here’s my easy planning process to help our year run smoothly!
I am an extremely organized person. I usually complete my thorough weekly to-do lists, I have Christmas shopped for and wrapped well before Thanksgiving, and I stay on top of regularly deep cleaning my home. Knowing all of this, you may be surprised to learn how I plan for my homeschool year. The simple fact of the matter is… I don’t.
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Planning our Homeschool Year
I have found that rather than make a game plan that pins down the curriculum schedules for 7th grade, 5th grade, 4th grade, 2nd grade, Kindergarten, and Preschool as well as our family subjects, it is easier to simply keep a record of what we have accomplished. While planning our homeschool year, I can’t necessarily plan for sick days for me or the kids. I don’t know when life is going to get overwhelming for someone and we just need to take a fun day. By recording what we have accomplished rather than meticulously planning out the year and feeling like we are constantly playing catch-up, I do a general overview of the year, and “plan” our homeschool year accordingly.
I got a Simplified Student Planner from Walmart. (I can’t find the exact one that I got, but here is a similar layout.) Honestly, after looking so many places this was the absolute perfect planner for me. It is the perfect size and layout for everything I need. There is a place for me to write down passwords to the different online school game accounts my kids have. I can put goals down, make lists of things I want to purchase, things that we used for homeschool that I definitely want to remember for future use, etc.
There is a monthly calendar, but the part I use most is the weekly spread. Instead of writing in the different subjects or classes that I would be taking in school, I write down each child’s name in that spot. I track what each kid completes daily for language arts, math, handwriting, etc. At the bottom I write down what we covered in history or science, and for our scripture study that morning.
As I write down what we accomplish each day, it is providing a track record or transcript of sorts for what has been accomplished. It is also very rewarding to help your child go back even just a month and see how far they have come and how much they have achieved by just doing one simple lesson a day.
The Good and the Beautiful
We use The Good and the Beautiful curriculum for our language arts, history, science, and lower level math. This curriculum is a “grab and go” curriculum which means that I don’t have to plan anything out! At the beginning of each course book it will have a list of all the materials needed. I will put all those items into a box and have it all set aside for when it is needed so I am never scrambling last minute.
Because this curriculum is both thorough and simple, I don’t have to worry about making an extensive game plan to accomplish everything throughout the year. I know that each language arts and math course have roughly 120 lessons which means that you can complete each course by the end of the school year with a 4 day homeschool week. There are some lessons that we split up over 2 days, and some days where we do more than one lesson. It all just depends on the lesson and the mood of the child. Each history course is roughly 60 lessons, so we do history twice a week. The science lessons vary, but we will generally do science twice a week and are able to get through roughly 3 science units in a school year.
Honestly, if I was making my own lesson plans, and interactive study units, I would definitely have to plan out my year differently. Because of the stage of life I am in with so many little ones, I needed to choose a curriculum that was going to be simple, but comprehensive enough that I wasn’t left wondering if my children were learning all that they could.
Planning our Weekly Routine
Besides the curriculum being a key to our homeschool planning success, having a routine is paramount to keeping things simple. I have talked before about our daily homeschool routine, but having a weekly routine is just as important. Pre-pandemic we knew that we would be visiting the Library once a week where I would stock up on extra books to go along with our science or history units. We also would use our “free day” to visit a park or museum to let the kids further explore and do extension activities that went along with what we were learning. Our free days look a little different now where we are focusing more on nature walks and arts and crafts, but we are still learning!
Make a weekly routine of things beyond the books and the curriculum that you want to include in your homeschool or family culture. Read alouds, music lessons, movie time to watch learning shows, etc. can all easily be worked into your routine. If you “plan” it into a routine it will become more of a second nature and not so overwhelming!