Friday, July 22, 2011

Preparing for the Homeschool Year

It's suppose to be 100* F in Maine today and it's easy to forget that very soon school will start up again! I know many down south will start in the next couple of weeks! It's all got me thinking about organizing for the homeschool year. I do a bit in the spring through June and then pretty much take July off from homeschool thoughts knowing I'll hit it hard in August. 

How do you get ready for the coming school year? Here is what I do:

April: Needing a break from thinking about the *present* school year, I start pouring over homeschool catalogs/websites and choosing our curriculum for the following year. Often I'll order it all (when it's possible financially). If I can't order it, I make sure to order early in August.

June: We end our school year the last week of May. 
In June I can: 
~Clean off the bookshelves. 
~I find new homes for books we won't use again. 
~I decide what, if any, of the school work needs to be kept and it is packed neatly in a rubbermaid box that is stored in the attic. 
~This cleans out the notebooks. I keep the ones that are still in one piece and throw away the ones that have broken.
~This would also be the time to complete the year's transcript for High Schoolers (which I procrastinated with my first born but I am determined not to do THAT again! ;)  ). 
~I put the next year's school books on the shelf in my dining room (seen in the picture).

~I decide how we will organize our homeschool books, notebooks, assignments, things that need to be corrected, things that are corrected.  I am planning to write more about this tomorrow. :) 
~I write the general lesson plans for the entire school year. More on this below.
~I peruse the Teacher's Manuals of my curriculum.
~I make a shopping list of school supplies and purchase anything needed. I let the kids pick out the notebooks that are needed. :)
~I print and photocopy all maps, literature assignment pages, and other assignments that will be needed. I find printing everything at once helps me to not get caught without a print cartridge through the year. Then, through the school year, I am only printing odds and ends and the kids are printing those assignments done on the computer which is much more manageable.

Lesson Plans

I know it sounds crazy but I like to write up my lesson plans for the whole year. What this means is I write up the daily assignments for the whole year. I know the argument against this is that unexpected things will happen through the year and my plans won't be possible. And they're right, that happens.

However, I know myself and I am not the type of person to spend every Sunday night planning for the week. I know many moms who DO spend time each weekend preparing for the week and it works for them. It doesn't for me. I last until about the end of October. 

So, if I have to change dates later or spend some time in January reworking my lesson plans, so be it. 

I plan a 4 day week whenever possible. I schedule as little as possible on Friday's. This way my kids can choose to do what little I schedule on Fridays ahead of time and have Fridays off. Or, if need be, Friday can be a day to get caught up on things. On most Fridays, any remaining work that needs to be done can be done early and we can meet with friends and do fun things. If they have no work to do, they get to SLEEP IN! That's a pretty big motivator for teenagers! ;) 

I use a curriculum that schedules history, geography, literature, worldview and sometimes Bible into weekly bites. So I only have to take those weekly assignments and divide them into 4 days.

For other curricula, I look at the total amount of lessons or chapters we plan to complete along with tests and quizzes and divide by the amount of school days we have. Then I easily know how much needs to be completed per day and it's a breeze to just either write it all down or enter it on the computer. In the past I have literally written down every day but this year I have purchased Homeschool Tracker . I am looking forward to seeing how well it works for us!

I usually schedule them at a very doable level for the first 2 months. Then I hit it HARD through the winter. Once spring hits the bulk of the work is done and they can start to finish things up. By May we are finishing more and more each week. This year everyone was finished with their subjects a week early! :) But every year is different. One year we went into June. Now that they are older, their thirst for freedom is a better motivator than when they were younger. 

Anyone else thinking about the coming school year? I'd love to hear all about it! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing how you get ready for the school year! We are homeschooling for the first time this fall and we have just received our first few boxes of books for 10th, 5th grades and Kindergarten. The kids are excited to start school.


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