Planning is my favorite! I love planning our homeschool year and I’ve learned a lot about it over the last few years. I know planning can feel overwhelming, even if you love it. There’s a lot to think about.
We follow an interest-led homeschool philosophy, so we strive to include curriculum and unit study options that really appeal to our daughter, Emily. I have even created my own special homeschool planner to meet our needs.
Keep reading to discover all the fun you can have planning your homeschool this year. Plus, get the scoop on everything you need to make it happen.
Homeschool Planning Can Be Interest-Led
Yes, it is totally possible to plan your homeschool year and still practice interest-led learning too. In fact, planning itself can be interest-led. The most important thing to remember when you’re planning an interest-led homeschool year is to be flexible.
I don’t let the curriculum define the terms of our learning. We are more curriculum dabblers and resource users. We don’t follow any set curriculum from lesson 1 to lesson 99. Instead, I make a list of goals.
My list of homeschool goals is basically a list of all the things I want to achieve that year. I use books like What Your Third Grader Needs to Know and Home Learning Year by Year to help me make a skills checklist. This allows me to go outside the box and incorporate all of Emily’s interests while still meeting my goals for the year.
I tend to focus on language arts and math goals while letting history and science be more interest-driven. Planning with these goals and checklists with my flexible homeschool planner helps give me peace of mind as a homeschooling mom.
Everything You Need To Plan Your Homeschool This Year
My planning process follows six steps. Keep reading to discover everything I do to plan our homeschool each year in six easy steps.
Step 1: Start With Our Goals
Emily helps us plan unit studies and choose resources by letting us know what she’s interested in learning in the coming year. I write down her ideas, but I don’t plan too many details beyond the first unit study. That way, I’m prepared if her interests change, life gets in the way, or if she breezes through her goal list really quickly.
Step 2: Choose One Thing
Once we have finished planning our goals and creating a checklist, our second step is to choose our “one thing.” The “one thing” goal is something we decided on together as a family.
We choose one goal for the year to incorporate. In years past we have chosen read alouds, gameschooling, and even poetry teatime. We incorporate these new activities and ideas throughout the year. They find their place in our schedule and become habits our family enjoys. Adding “one thing” each year keeps it manageable for us.
This year everyone there was unanimous agreement that our one thing should be field trips. Kevin, Emily, and I all agreed that we have really missed field trips and experiences in the past two years, so we made it our “one thing” this year. I’m excited about all the travel and new experiences!
Step 3: Inventory the Shelves
After all the dreaming and planning is done, it’s time for some practical homeschool planning. Step three in my list of planning is to inventory our resources. We love resources, so we have a lot of them.
Before I go shopping for a new curriculum or resources, I need to look at our shelves and see what we already have. We don’t follow any single curriculum from start to finish. Instead, I use my goals checklist to see what books and resources we have already that can help us meet our goals.
Step 4: Make a List
Once I know what’s already on our shelves, I can make a list of what we still need. This time of year is the perfect time to take advantage of sales. It’s a good idea to make a list of what you’d like to purchase and watch for deals.
Step 4 is also when I look over our current subscription boxes and decide which ones we will continue using. I’ll also determine which ones we can cancel and what new subscriptions we might want to try.
Step 5: Purge
This isn’t my favorite step, but it’s definitely a necessary one. There’s only so much room in our home for homeschool resources. Once Emily has outgrown a resource and we aren’t using it anymore, it’s time to purge. Purging old resources makes room for new and exciting resources each year.
Purging is definitely a step in annual homeschool planning that’s much easier when you only homeschool one child. We don’t need to keep resources for younger children to use later, so that means I can purge old items without regret.
I like to donate the resources we choose to purge. We give them to local teachers, classrooms, and friends. They are always glad to have new games, manipulatives, and learning resources for their students.
Step 6: Assess Our Routine
Finally, planning the homeschool year is a great time to look at your family’s routine and assess where you might need to make changes. What’s working for your family? What’s not working? Is anything changing in the coming year that will affect your homeschool schedule or routine?
I’ll admit that here at the Waldock home, we don’t really have a schedule. It’s more of a flow to our homeschool day. For example, mornings are always a very slow start and usually involve some strewing. After lunch, we move to “table time” which involves our most structured or most challenging activities.
A Free Resource To Help You Get Started Homeschool Planning
I hope reading about how we plan our homeschool year and all the resources I use has helped give you some ideas and peace of mind about planning your own homeschool year whether you’re a new homeschooling mom or a veteran.
Earlier I mentioned my grade level checklists. I use these checklists for my own peace of mind to help me meet the goals I have for Emily as we plan and move through our homeschool year. I’ve put together an excellent resource for you as you plan your homeschool year too. My grade level checklists are available for free to print and use from preschool all the way through high school. I hope it helps give you that peace of mind and confidence in your homeschool planning this year.