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It’s the middle of summer and if you homeschool, you’re probably starting to think about planning your homeschool year. What I’ve realized over the years is what works for one family, might not work for another family. It’s even true inside a family…what works for one child, might not work for another. So, while it’s important to plan your year, you also have to be ready in case a curriculum you bought just doesn’t work for your family, there’s a change within the family that changes how or where you homeschool or so many other factors that can change throughout the year. One of the greatest things about homeschooling is the flexibility that it brings to our family. Getting ready for the new school year is always fun since we get to buy school supplies, a new HP Pavilion Notebook for the kids to use and great curriculum. But, it can also be very stressful! Here are some tips that have helped us in the past to start planning our homeschool year.
The best way to do this is to head to Pinterest and search for “homeschool planners” and find one that will fit your needs. There are hundreds out there you can even take parts of one and parts of another and make it work for you, and most of them are free! You should have at the very least a calendar, a place for grades, a section for each child on what they will cover that year, attendance and a place for notes.
Make a List
Make your list of what you want to cover, with a special section of what NEEDS to be covered. Check your homeschool laws, some states require certain things be taught at certain grade levels, and/or certain subjects be covered every year. Then have a spot for what you and your student would like to cover that year.
I also make a list of things we would like to cover if we happen to have extra time that year. This is more ‘fun stuff’ like learning more about dinosaurs or space or other interests of my kids at the time.
Set a Calendar for the Year
The next step is set up your yearly calendar. When do you want to start school? How many days are you required to school? Some states require 180 days, some have no requirements. Make sure to schedule in any vacation time and holidays. Also allow for a buffer time like public schools do. They do this for weather days but as homeschoolers we need these for sick days, or as I like to call them “life days” when things happen.
Set a Daily Schedule (if you want one!)
After you have your calendar year set up you might want to have a daily schedule. Not everyone wants a fixed schedule and that’s certainly ok if one doesn’t work for you! If you do create a daily schedule, make sure that it’s flexible, as you get a few weeks in you will settle into a routine. You can plan when you want to start the day by, lunch time, and breaks, any outdoor time, co-op times etc.
Most important be flexible, remember the plan you put in place over the summer could be tossed out completely by Christmas break for a new one that runs smoother so don’t over plan. Take it one day and week at a time and make adjustments as needed.
Make a List of Supplies and Curriculum Needed
Once you have your plan in place make a list of the items you need, including supplies and curriculum. Then it’s time to start watching for deals, shopping used curriculum groups and finding resources online. Will you have a designated “school room” or will your kids do their work at the kitchen table or the couch? Will they share a computer or laptop for their schoolwork or each have their own? My older two kids (17 & 13) have their own old laptops but we recently upgraded to an HP Pavilion Notebook that will hang out in the family room so the kids are free to use it for their schooling and also for gaming when their schoolwork is all done.
Organize Your School Space
As you start to get your books and supplies coming in you need to get organized. It’s best to have a space for each child’s work and books. I give each child a shelf on a bookshelf and a folder for work completed. Keeps things organized but there are many ways you can do this based on the area you have to work with. This is another area Pinterest is great for.
Our kids are allowed to do their schoolwork wherever they feel comfortable, as long as they are getting the work done and there are no distractions around like TV or cell phones. Since we just moved, we’ve set up an area in the family room with a desk, comfy chair, pens, pencils, notebooks and our brand new HP Pavilion Notebook. As a single mom, I needed a computer that would work well for all three of my kids and their needs, would be affordable and be a brand I know and trust. It’s primarily used for school but we’re a family of gamers and the kids haven’t been able to play a lot of the newest games that they want to play on their old laptops. That’s why we chose the HP Pavilion laptop with a 15.6″ HD Touch Display and Intel Core i7 processor. This notebook is thin and lightweight, so it’s easy for us to take it with us if we head out to a local museum or even to the public library. And when it comes time to play those games that the kids love so much, the dual HP speakers, HP Audio Boost and tuning by B&O Play, delivers a great audio experience that makes gaming even MORE fun!
You can head on over to your local Walmart and find these all new, fantastic computers and notebooks!