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These 10 easy steps will plan your homeschool year and you will reap the benefits all year long.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Homeschool-Planner-FREEBIE-Plan-Your-Entire-Homeschool-Year-5701046Believe it or not, I have over 20 years of experience in homeschooling. IIn this post, I have put together my absolute best tips for planning and organizing your homeschool year. In addition, I have created an amazing FREE Homeschool Planner that you can download. This guide will help you get started on planning your homeschool year today.
The free homeschool planner includes 5 pages to help you plan your year. If you like it, you may want to consider purchasing the entire Stress-Free Homeschool Planner and the Student Homeschool Planner/Portfolio designed for kids in grades 6-12.
1. Download Your Free Printables and Gather Supplies
Grab a pencil, pen, highlighter, and family calendar. Gather any flyers for activities your children are interested in, sports or Scout schedules, youth group schedules, etc.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and get ready to dig in.
2. Plan Out a Bird’s Eye View of Your School Year
- Start with your yearly planning page and curriculum and book inventory and your calendar. Print out a copy of the yearly planner for each subject you plan to cover.
- Figure out how many weeks are in your school year. Don’t forget to take into account holidays, vacations, etc.
- Start with your first subject and see how many lessons are in your curriculum. Divide the number of weeks in your school year by the number of lessons in your curriculum. This will tell you how many lessons you should be doing each week.
- As you go along, make note of any books you own and any you need to acquire and make a note of those in your Curriculum and Book Inventory.
- Repeat this for each subject. Now you have your yearly overview.
3. Take Inventory of What You Already Have
Don’t buy a single thing until you take stock of what you already own. This is an easy way to save money on homeschooling.
Don’t forget to inventory software, science kits, or any other supplemental materials you might have.
Now check and see if you can get any of the needed books at your local library. Make a note of that on your inventory page.
4. Make a List of What You Still Need
Now is when you start making your plans for purchases. Look at the academic goals you have made for each child and the inventory of what you already own.
I suggest you make a list of things you need and extras you’d love to have. You can keep this list in your master binder so for the extras you can watch for sales or purchase later in the year when you have the funds.
5. Put Your Homeschool Plans in a Master Binder
My school planning binder contains my master calendar, Story of the World printables, a Multiplication Fact Test Tracker from Curriculum Corner, and my planner worksheets. I can take this binder with me as I escape for my planning sessions. As a bonus, there are no more ugly stacks of paper on my counter.
How to Set Up Your Homeschool Master Binder
To set up your master homeschool binder you will need a large 3-ring binder (I recommend two-inch size), a pencil pouch, page dividers, and page protectors.
In the front of your binder, keep a pencil holder with a pen, highlighter, current vocabulary cards, and anything else you might need to quickly access. I recommend having the following sections in your master binder.
In the front have your yearly calendar as well as your monthly calendars. At the beginning of each month, move the previous month the back of the stack. Why keep these? Because they make planning for the next school year even easier and can serve as a record for what you have completed.
Academic Goal Pages
Next, keep a section with each child’s academic goals. This makes it easy to reference. I recommend checking off each goal as they are attained. This will help you track and visually see the progress they are making. If you live in a state that requires you to show a portfolio at the end of the year you can jot down the date as well.
One section per subject. Add any printables, notes, or plans for the next six weeks go into the corresponding subject section.
Keeping your meal plans right in your master binder means you have it at a glance. You can check the plan while you sit with your children. This also means if you take your binder anywhere for planning purposes you can plan your meals as well.
I have an amazingly simple method for planning our meals. You can read about it here.
You can check out my Suggested Items for Homeschool Planning on Amazon.
6. Plan Your Homeschool Year 2-6 Weeks at a Time
Since life is unpredictable, I don’t like to make detailed plans of longer than this. Since you have already made an overview for the year you don’t need to panic and feel behind.
For years Story of the World was the backbone of our homeschooling. I had a very basic plan to get through one volume per school year, and a detailed plan for the first six weeks. First, I would then take a couple of hours every six weeks to plan for the next six weeks. Then I would scour the internet for printables that related to our topics, recipes, and supplemental books. Next, I would put any books we could get from the library on hold. During my planning time, I would print out any needed pages and add them directly to my Story of the World section of my master binder.
7. Create Weekly Assignment Sheets for Each Child
My homeschool planner comes with a couple of different styles of assignment sheets. These only take 2-3 minutes to fill out. Write in the required page numbers and have the kids cross them off as they complete them. If life gets busy and you don’t get this done ahead of time, hand out the sheets anyway and record assignments the kids complete each day. I recommended keeping a few extra copies right in your master binder for busy days/weeks.
8. Organize Your Homeschool Space After You Plan Your Homeschool Year
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to organize your space until you have taken inventory of your supplies and have come up with a plan for your homeschool. For instance, any books that absolutely won’t be used during the current school year (ie. a math textbook for a different grade) don’t need to be accessible in your homeschooling space. Instead, store these away until they are needed.
Kitchen table, couch, school desk, dedicated schoolroom, no matter what area of your house you use (and we’ve used them all) make sure it is uncluttered!
9. Create Weekly Meal Plans
When my children were young I would spend 1-2 hours each week planning our upcoming homeschool week. I would get up early on Saturday morning when Chuck was home and head to a coffee shop. I would plan our week’s schedule in peace. While I was at it, I would also do my weekly meal planning. If you need help in this area, I have a method that only takes minutes to plan your meals and make a grocery list.
10. Remember to Stay Flexible When You Plan Your Homeschool Year
Remember, one of the great advantages of homeschooling is that it allows you flexibility. Don’t keep your kids at the table if there is a deer on the front lawn. If it is sunny and warm after a week of rain, you might want to skip the books and go on a walk. On rainy days you can hunger down with hot chocolate and extra books or maybe watch a documentary.
Having a plan means you can do the “extras” guilt-free.