I have been homeschooling for just over 15 years.
I have graduated 3 students from high school.
I have sent 3 students off to college. With scholarships.
So, ahem, you would think I have this whole homeschool thing completely figured out. And you would certainly think I at least know how to plan out a homeschool schedule for the new year. And you might scoff at the ease of homeschooling just two measly children after a household full of 5 busy homeschooling students.
Well, that’s all somewhat true.
I definitely have a lot of things figured out for our homeschooling family. I know what curriculum we have loved over the years (Sonlight, Horizons Math, Rod and Staff English, Spelling and Health, and of course the EXCELLENT Potter’s School for so many online classes). I know that we have thrived at homeschool co-ops and made some of our closest and dearest friends there.
At the same time, I have made many mistakes. I have neglected subjects. I have spent more energy on people than school, opening up our home to friends during school hours. I have taught according to MY STRENGTHS and not based on my CHILDREN’S NEEDS.
This last week I spent a good deal of time trying to decide how I would map out our homeschool schedule for the fall. I have used a variety of planning schedules over the years – I have printed out individual weekly pages, I have kept loose schedules, I have made detailed charts, and we’ve had months where we plugged along without a written schedule.
So basically we’ve covered a broad spectrum of organizational plans.
This week I spent hours looking through Pinterest at blogs on homeschool planning. I downloaded files, looked at dozens of organizers and planners, made lists of paper, and tried to determine what was keeping me from just going ahead and making September’s schedule.
Finally I went back to the large chart that I’ve used for several years now. It has worked great for us in the past, and I have most of the template already created and in place. I use printable address labels for the individual subjects. The template works perfectly in Word, and I can easily and somewhat simply modify and change each month’s schedule once I have the first one in place.
I divide a 24 x 32 handwriting chart (from Amazon) into two halves (one for David and one for Sarah). I print out a cute graphic for the month, glue on their names, and proceed to fill up the month of curriculum lessons.
The address labels fit perfectly on the lines of the handwriting tablet, and having the document in Word makes it easily editable and changeable. The only thing that is difficult is the time it takes to fill out the assignments, but really that’s true any time you do careful planning.
This time I decided to just print out the subjects and write in the daily assignments by hand. I had mostly filled out September (which has a bit of a slow start for us with our classes beginning on different dates), when I stumbled on a review for some online homeschool planners.
I found this interesting article which included a graphic for picking the best online planner for your school. It also had reviews of several of the major online organizers. I signed up for several of them, downloaded one, and went with another one. I found myself really enjoying the ease of tracking things online and recording all of our books and info right on the computer.
I can print out schedules, send the kids special messages, track our assignments, move work to different days if we miss something, and so on. I’ve imported most of our September assignments, and am thinking about abandoning my large, oversize chart. We’ll see how the kids and I like it. I know Tim will laugh at me – I’m constantly changing and tweaking things in our school and household chores. I can’t help it, making adjustments, trying new things, and exploring different options, keeps our homeschool experience alive and fresh for me.
I’m also entering into the high school years with David and Sarah, and I want to do everything I can to help them have a wonderful, challenging, creative high school experience.
I finally settled on the Plan, Educate, Record online planner. I am very pleased with it thus far. The price (FREE) was great and the ease of figuring things out (SIMPLE) right what I wanted. I will review it again after we’ve used it for a little bit.
This was the first week of our Three Week School Start. Each week we’re adding in portions of our school. By the week of the 14th, we’ll be fully engaged and participating in all our classes (and our co-op program). Exciting! Once again, I find myself so thankful that I have the privilege and joy of educating my children. I am thankful that Tim has supported and encouraged me to be home with the kids, teaching and learning alongside them.
Here we go! Fall 2015!
Project 365 – Day 242 (Aug 30)