Nothing sets your homeschool up for a good week like having a plan in place! Homeschool planning puts your mind at rest, help the children ease into the week, and actually helps you all to get more done.
Homeschool Planning: How to Get Ready for Monday Morning!
In Episode 42 of the Raising Mums podcast, I share the planning system I use on Sunday to get my homeschool ready for the week ahead.
Launch Your Homeschool is an online course that will you hold your hand and walk you through the beginning stages of homeschooling, built upon the framework of the Charlotte Mason philosophy.
I teach you how to choose the right subjects for your homeschool, how to chose the right resources and plan out your year to create a homeschool experience that aligns with the values and beliefs of your family.
I show you the essential teaching techniques that you’ll need to now to get started. There’s even an entire module on how to manage your time so you can still cook, keep the house tidy and take care of yourself, all whilst homeschooling your children!
If there’s one thing I have learnt over these past few years of homeschooling my children, it is the benefits of being a homeschool planner!
Planning annually has so many benefits for us especially as we reside in Saudi Arabia and spend our summers in England. Regardless of where you live though, I find having a rough plan for the year can benefit your Homeschool in many ways.
Looking at your calendar for the upcoming year and being realistic about what is happening, whether it is a holiday booked, a wedding to attend or you’re giving birth, will allow you to focus on balance and ease for your Homeschool life.
Of course not all plans are set in stone, but preparing yourself mentally will ease any stress that comes along with unexpected events. So here are my top tips on why you should plan your Homeschool for the year if you aren’t already doing so.
Homeschool Planners are One Step Ahead!
The biggest benefit being a homeschool planner, and preparing at the start of the year, is being one step ahead in acquiring resources, finding books, planning outings or activities.
Of course spontaneous and unplanned events/days can have their own benefits too, but that feeling of seeing the bigger picture when you’re in the midst of homeschooling life or things aren’t going as planned really is a life-saver on your difficult days of homeschooling.
So annual planning helps you keep on ball without worrying about what could have been because you’re one step ahead with your vision for the year.
You know exactly what you want your children to achieve by the end of the year. This should also prevent you from worrying if you fall into the social media comparative trap.
Many people ask me about my Homeschool budget and I tell them I spend under £200 or less annually, depending on how many books/resources we may need and I’m sure this varies from Homeschool to Homeschool.
But if you are finding you’re spending way more than you need to or way more than you can afford to, you need to ask yourself why that is. Is it because you found yet another Homeschool bargain buy or that you feel your children really need it because everyone else seems to be buying it too? We can all fall into that trap!
But with an annual plan, where you are focussing on an overview of the year, knowing what your possible learning topics will be, budgeting can prove to be quite useful. Always ask yourself if the resource is re-sellable, can be used by all your children and is it good quality and long lasting before you buy.
Having a plan to fall back on
Even if you take a more child led approach to your homeschool, and feel that being a homeschool planner may not be worth it, there are some things beyond our control.
Seasons, the weather and nature being some of these. If you enjoy nature studies, then it may help to look ahead at the seasons of the year to jot down a loose plan to focus on seasonal plants, grow a garden, butterflies or visit farms etc. The same can be applied for certain topics linked to festivals and celebrations.
Nevertheless, on days when life is chaotic and you feel you may be losing your vision or goal with your homeschool, it may just be handy to have a plan or vision to fall back on. Its reassuring coming back to the goals for the year and knowing you’re actually doing great!
As mentioned above, acquiring resources ahead of time (in sales) or at the start of the year allows you to take a more intentional approach to what you need.
Having said that, recently I found my children are immersed in stuff! Much of this is because we haven’t had the opportunity to sell on our used games or books we no longer need at the end of each year, especially as we tend to buy more each summer.
When you’re a homeschool planner, you can assess what resources you already have, which you could possibly swap or sell on and use that same money or more to purchase whatever it is you need for the year. There may be times you find resources at a great price to use in your Homeschool in a few years, but ask yourself do you actually need it now?
Focus on your annual plan to keep within your budget and allowance. Reserving library books ahead of time and ensuring you have the books you need for your topic is another advantage.
Being mentally ready for your homeschool year could reduce some of the stress and panic that can come with homeschooling especially when things aren’t going to plan!
Homeschool planning at the start of the year means you have sat down and thought out in a realistic way of how much you can actually teach your children in a year.
Sometimes we tend to want to teach everything and so very quickly because of their interests. So, this is a great time to get your children involved, ask them what they want to learn, give them some options and find out their interests.
Finally, because you will already know your child/children’s ability levels, therefore aim to plan realistically for progress by taking the whole year into account, you won’t have time to panic, hopefully!
Hafsa is a former Primary School Teacher turned Homeschooling mama teaching her two daughters the love for learning through arts, crafts, fun and play. Originally from London, Hafsa now resides in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia where she loves to share her Homeschool journey, tips and planning advice over at http://www.mamateachesme.com
As we move into the New Year, I always recommend that during this time of transition, homeschooling families should take some time to reflect on the successes and failures of the previous year, the lessons learnt, and set some new intentions before pushing ahead into the New Year.
During this time, before beginning your next homeschool term, seek clarity and direction for your family by getting quiet,turning inward, making dua, and asking yourself some very important questions.
WATCH THIS VIDEO
Watch this YouTube video, when I went LIVE on my Facebook and Instagram accounts, and chatted with you about preparing your homeschool for the New Year, and talked you through the questions listed below.
Seek Clarity for your Homeschool
1) What was my favourite homeschool memory of last year?
2) What was my most painful homeschool memory of last year?
3) If you were to summarise the last year homeschooling in one word what would it be?
4) What areas were really successful?
5) What areas/people/topics/activities drained me? What drained the kids?
6) Where can I get help?
7)What can I cut out?
8) Where can we grow, further develop in our homeschool?
9)What areas don’t allign with my homeschool/family vision?
10) What positive change(s) can I implement going forward into the next year?
There are far better things ahead than we ever left behind.
I hope that this video and the questions I’ve posed will help you find the clarity you need moving forward, and help you to live a life with your family that aligns with your values.
If you would like to share the answers to any, or all of the questions above, I would love to hear them! Please leave them for me in the comments below.
Peace and Love,
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This FREE student planner has been created to help homeschooled students to plan, or keep a record of, their daily work. It’s also a fantastic way to help older students take responsibility for their independent work.
We created this FREE planner to help children stay motivated, and encourage punctuality, diligence, order and attentiveness in their education.
The checklist covers every subject that the student is required to do every day in a Charlotte Mason homeschool, i.e. their daily instruction, along with how long each lesson should take, and the time frame within which all “daily instruction” must be completed.
“In the first place, there is a time-table, written out fairly, so that the child knows what he has to do and how long each lesson is to last. This idea of definitive work to be finished in a given time is valuable to the child, not only in training him in habits of order, but in diligence; he learns that one time is not “as good as another”; that there is no right time left for what is not done in its own time; and this knowledge alone does a great deal to secure the child’s attention to his work.” – Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1 p.142
The planner has “Time Frame” written across the top of the page, so you can set out for your child when “school-time” is for that day. If the work is not completed within the time set-out in my home, then there are consequences for my son. This teaches him to focus and be attentive to his work during those “school-hours”.
Charlotte Mason strongly recommends that lesson are kept short for young children,
“…the lessons are short, seldom more than twenty minutes in length for children under eight…” – Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1 p. 142
and so we have included a space for you to fill in how long each lesson takes. Timings will vary depending on your child’s age and personality.
We are using this planner/checklist ourselves alongside Year 2 of the Ambleside online curriculum, which adheres to the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy.
If you would like to see how we have adapted the Ambleside online curriculum to suit our family’s needs, CLICK HERE.
Memorization & Recitation (In our home that means memorisation and recitation of Quran. In your home it may mean poetry, prose, Scripture or something else.)
The planner also includes a “Narration” extension page for students whose narrations are longer, and need more space than is given on the first page. These extension pages can be printed onto the back on the first page for more lengthy narrations. These pages also have a “date” marked on the top giving you the flexibility to use them separately if you wish, and not with the planner itself.
In addition to their “Daily Instruction”, your children may also have other lessons to complete. These subjects typically vary from day-to-day and are often subjects done as a family, such as history, nature study, artist study etc. In addition to our “Daily Instruction” planner I would recommend your students are given a simple spreadsheet of their timetable for these other important subjects,
In my own home, I have found this checklist to be an excellent way to motivate my son to complete his work diligently and finish within the time allowance set for him. The earlier he can complete his daily work, the more free time he has!