Spring and summer mark the time of year that many families start thinking about and planning for the new academic year. One of the keys to ensuring your homeschool year is a successful one is to give yourself enough time to prep and do any needed research. So, if you’re in need of some guidance when it comes to planning a successful homeschool year, consider this your back to homeschooling 101 course.
Chapter 1: choosing a Curriculum
This is the single, most important part of your homeschool. Choosing the right one takes a bit of work, and even after you’ve found the “right” one, you still have to see how your child takes to it. This is why it’s important to get to know your children on an academic level. This will help you discover how they learn best and which method (online, textbook, etc.) they prefer. You may even need different options for each individual child, as not all children learn the same way. Since it may take some trial and error, make sure that whatever curriculum you’re eyeing doesn’t require long-term contracts and gives you either the opportunity to take it for a test drive or offers a money-back guarantee. And remember, as your children get older, they may outgrow a curriculum, so you may need to change it accordingly, depending on their individual needs.
Chapter 2: The Importance of Flexibility
In case you’re new to all this and it hasn’t sunk in: you are a homeschooler. Your child is not in a traditional school anymore that requires him or her to follow a strict schedule that starts at 8:00 AM and ends at 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Although both parents and children benefit from having a schedule, keep in mind that you have the freedom to do your school work in the morning, afternoon, evening, or weekends. So, if the opportunity to head out on an educational field trip or even a family vacation arises, you can jump at the chance.
Chapter 3: What About Record keeping?
This is a biggie. The first and most important thing to know about record keeping is that it varies by state. You’ll have to find out what your particular state’s requirements are and make sure you keep up with its homeschooling laws to ensure you’re covered. Once you know the laws, you can then determine the best way to keep track of your child’s work. Do you need to be very detailed and meticulous or can you just do what works for you? Whether your state requires an end of year evaluation or not, it is helpful for you, the homeschool parent, to measure some form of progress. An evaluation doesn’t need to compare your child’s grade level to a traditional public school. It should, however, show improvement and measurable progress from the start of your homeschool year.
Chapter 4: Staying Organized
Being in charge of your child’s education requires a bit of order and organization at home. With simple things like chore charts and a prominently displayed schedule, both you and your children will know what to do, when to do it, and what to expect each day. Keeping an organized workspace will also help your children focus better, and age-appropriate chores will help them develop life skills and responsibility, while at the same time helping you out. The Time4Learning blog offers tons of helpful tips and ideas to help your homeschool run smoothly.
Chapter 5: Preventing Burnout
Homeschool burnout is inevitable at some point during the year. So, if you start noticing that either you or your children are losing your patience at the drop of a hat, remember that you have the flexibility to take the day off and catch up on work later. Being a successful homeschooler involves knowing when it’s time to hit the brakes. During those hectic moments when nothing is going as planned and you start to doubt yourself, remember why you began homeschooling and never lose focus on those smiling faces that call you Mom or Dad.
Planning for a successful homeschool year takes a bit of planning and prepping. Remember, you will encounter challenges along the way, but overcoming them is just a normal part of the process. Following the guidance list above will help ensure that your children are learning and everyone is having fun.