It’s that time of year again! As the weather simmers with heat and the kids are simmering with delightful summer boredom you get started with your homeschool planning process. We’ve got some tips so go reheat your coffee (again!) and let’s get started.

Here Are a Few Tips For Getting Back to School Ready!

It’s hard to believe that another school year is just around the corner. But if you homeschool, now is the time to start planning for the upcoming year. By taking the time to plan ahead now, you’ll be able to hit the ground running when the new school year begins.

1. Review Your Goals From the Past Year

The first step is reviewing your homeschool goals from last year. What worked well? What do you want to change or improve upon this next year?

Break out your homeschool habit trackers or your notes and complete a quick review.

For us, one of the big things we want to work on this year is our daily routine. Last year, we often found ourselves scrambling to get everything done and not really enjoying the process.

This year, we’re determined to be more organized and efficient with our time. We’ve set aside specific times for each subject, and we’re sticking to them! (Well, we’re going to try and loosely stick to them with wiggle room for rabbit trails and child-led learning.)

Especially as I work full-time as well. To say that I was less stressed on the days I created non-negotiable work times would be a colossal understatement.

In fact, everything ran smoother because I knew exactly what was happening next, rather than simply having a vague idea. Which makes perfect sense. Have you ever seen a public school teacher walk into a classroom without a plan and then hope for the best?

Not to say that I’m planning to be rigid and avoid rabbit holes or extended reading snuggles. It really just comes down to me scheduling in time to schedule each week.

Which I had, but didn’t hold myself accountable to. But for me, that’s both my self-care and my ticket to successfully balancing homeschooling and working full-time. When I start the week with a clear focus on what our weekly lesson plans are, everything flows substantially better!

I can also set weekly goals and readjust quickly what isn’t working for the next week.

2. Realign Your Focus for The Year

What are you focusing on this year? Is it more hands-on? Less screen time? Better preparation? Did you have a hard time getting to all of your subjects? What was the reason for that?

Take some time to brainstorm what your key focus will be regarding your schedule and approach. Whether that’s something that worked great, something that needs to change, or simply something new that you’re adding.

In our homeschool, we’re planning to focus more on hands-on learning this year. We love doing experiments and going on field trips, as a minimum. Rather than having a loose idea of where we want to go, I’m making them a cornerstone of our year and planning around them.

But also, we really want to make sure that we’re incorporating those types of activities into our daily lessons. We want our kids to be excited about learning, and we know that they’ll learn best when they’re engaged in what they’re doing.

3. Homeschool Planning – Choose a Curriculum

It goes without saying that a majority of your back-to-school planning will be dedicated to choosing a homeschool curriculum.

If you’re using a different curriculum this year, dedicate extra time to research and find the right fit for your family. There are tons of options out there, so it’s important to find what will work best for you and your children.

Consider the budget for the curriculum itself, but also any supporting materials you’ll need.

If you can, attend a convention or visit a resale store so you can put your hands on a curriculum. What appears an excellent fit online can often have a very different feel when you start looking through it.

If your kids are old enough, get their input. You’d be amazed at how much buy-in you’ll get if it’s their idea. For us, that was Beast Academy Math. Our kiddo is thriving because she saw the video and worked through the samples and then literally begged for it. 3-months in she still asks to do math daily.

At the minimum, if you’re struggling between two curriculums, print out the samples and ask your student to look them over with you.

We personally thrive with living literature and a unit study approach. It ties in all of the core subjects with a basic plan and the best part is we can adjust the learning to include real-life skills such as cooking and creating schedules. We set goals together for what we’re going to master. You might be surprised at what they’re eager to learn, even in the early years.

4. Update Your Homeschool Space

Whether you’re using a dedicated room or just a corner of your house, it’s essential to have a designated space for your homeschool day. This will help your kids (and you!) stay focused and organized throughout the year.

It could be the kitchen table, it just needs to be somewhere routine so that their brains kick into learning mode.

Is there anything that you’re holding onto for sentimental reasons? If it’s not going to apply for this year, but you’re not ready to get rid of it, perhaps it can get boxed.

Don’t skip this step during your homeschool planning session. Consider if any of your challenges last year were brought on by physical constraints in your space.

For me, working and homeschooling mean that there are times when I’ve given instruction and then we’re all working independently. I did have our homeschool/office setup with separate space.

However, I’ve discovered that having her desk next to mine so I can help her refocus and to answer any questions while not having to completely lose track of my thought has been monumentally helpful.

5. Plan Out Your Daily and Weekly Schedule

Decide what days and times you’ll be homeschooling, and make sure to include plenty of time for breaks, extracurricular activities, and family time.

Many homeschool moms use block scheduling, while others find success with a more loose weekly schedule or none at all. As a note, if you’re new to creating daily routines, ensure that you’re investigating what state requirements you need to meet. We’re fortunate to live in a state where we don’t have daily time requirements, but others do.

For us, I’ve found it’s essential that I have MY schedule that’s ruthlessly planned out for me to balance working full-time. So work and school times are blocked out clearly. While my kiddo has plenty of wiggle room for studies. We have language arts and math on all of our school days. Whereas our weekly planner has a rotating schedule for many of our enrichment subjects.

Although I’ve tried a bundle of different types of homeschool planners, I could never find the one that worked just right. I clicked on all the links for the “best online planner,” the newest digital homeschool planner, and downloaded all of the free planners and the “best homeschool planners,” it turns out that there are a million different ways to schedule homeschooling days and none of those really worked for me.

To avoid planning our lives via a sticky note, I created a homeschool planner that had both my work and homeschool days displayed next to each other as they are not exclusive of each to

6. Stock up on supplies.

Aside from the basics, what are some dream supplies that are going to help make the year more fun? Have you ordered your science and art curriculums yet? Do you need any supplemental supplies for geography or social studies?

What about your kiddos? Do they have co-ops or other extracurriculars that they need materials for? Even though we don’t attend a school, I still get her a new backpack every year for co-op days and for field trips or when we’re schooling at the park or the library.

Take the time to budget everything because school supplies are oh so very tempting. From pencils and paper to art supplies and textbooks, make sure you have everything you need before the school year starts

6. Create Your Reading Lists

As we’re loosely a Charlotte Mason-style homeschool, we have a huge need for a continual influx of new books for our living language book studies. Search the catalog of your local library to see if the books you need are available. Plan to request them early, put them on hold, and renew them as needed.

Beyond that, start exploring resell groups and now to ensure less stress as you’re approaching the unit they’re needed for.

Getting Ready for Your Next Home School Year!

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re preparing for a new school year, but if you take it one step at a time and plan ahead, you’ll be ready before you know it. Relax and take some deep breaths- the year is going to be great! Are there any other specific tips that helped you plan your homeschool year? Share them in the comments below.

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