Many of us are only half-way through out current homeschool year but already thinking about planning for the upcoming homeschool year! Regardless if you are brand new to homeschooling, planning your first year, or a vet homeschool mom planning their 10th year- we all need a little help getting organized planning for the upcoming homeschool year.
In this post I am going to share my step by step guide to how I plan for the upcoming homeschool year.
Step 1: Determine any Homeschool State Requirements
This is an extremely important step if you live in a state that has homeschool requirements. If you aren’t sure if your state has requirements- I recommend using HSLDA to find your state and any legal requirements: https://hslda.org/legal
Some states have specific requirements, such as a certain number of hours of instruction per year, specific subjects to be taught, tracking requirements, or testing. Make sure you are aware of these requirements and plan accordingly.
Thankfully the state we currently live in has very low requirements, however because we plan on moving in the future, I try to keep records for attendance, curriculum, and testing.
Step 2: Plan for Co-Ops, Extra Curricular Activities, Camp, and Vacations
Planning for all the “extra” things is also an early and important part of my planning process. Its not always easy knowing 6 months or a year from now exactly what is going to be going on but the more you can plan and anticipate for will help you in the long run.
For example – I know we have 2 co-op sessions, each one running about 9 weeks. long- 2x a week. I can factor in these days as school attendance days, as well as I might not need an extra school subject because it will be completed in our co-ops.
I also tentatively know around what months we will take breaks- like for example in December we usually take around 2 weeks off. My kids also enjoy summer camp, so as much as I would love to be year-round homeschoolers, I know with summer camp we take a longer break in the summer months.
Step 3: Plan Out Your Homeschool Year
This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on your family’s needs and preferences. You may want to follow a traditional school calendar, or you may prefer a more relaxed approach.
If you have notes and some ideas from Steps 1 and 2, then you can start formulating your school year.
I tend to use a 40 week school year, and break that into 4 quarters, each being 10 weeks. Doing it this way gives me about 12 “no-school” weeks.
We don’t school every day, and typically we only school 3x a week because of those extra things like co-op. So if I take 40 weeks times 3 school days – that equals 120 actual school days PLUS- I can also count in our co-op days which is 36 additional days. Attendance wise, we school around 156 days per year.
Our state has no attendance requirements, so this works just great for us and gives us the flexibility we need.
If you are like me and like physical papers to plan I have FREE planning resources available here
Step 4: Choose Your Homeschool Curriculum
Now, this section is not “How To” choose curriculum, that will be its own blog post. This is just saying in the planning process, this is where I start picking curriculum.
This is the longest process for me, but because I have completed the above steps, I at least have a general game plan.
I know we have 120 at home school days, so when looking at curriculum, if I choose one that has 180 lessons I must be realistic and understand we won’t complete it in 1 year, or we would have to double up lessons on some days.
This is also where you don’t want to over buy, its hard to think about those fun holiday units- but we know we will all end up wanting them. Leave yourself some wiggle room and don’t over commit.
Last bit of advice in choosing curriculum as far as the planning process- decide between teacher-taught, self-taught, or outside-teacher lessons. This obviously will depend on your kid’s ages, your time restraints, and more- but if you have older kids and are ready to hand over the reins on some of the teaching part- there are tons of great curriculums out there!
Step 5: Be Realistic and Don’t Over Plan
Even though this whole post is on planning – don’t over plan !
Don’t try to do too much in the upcoming year. Plan the basics and give yourself wiggle room! It is always easier to add more in, than take some away.
Be realistic with your time, there are only so many hours in a day and only so much our kids and us as teachers can handle.