I actually think planning is one of my favorite aspects about homeschooling my children. Obviously I love being with them and having the opportunity to have such a hands on role in their education…but the planner in me also loves all of the prep work and creating binders and lesson plans and trying new ways to make our days efficient and fun! Today I want to share how I will be planning the up coming school year and a few ideas on how to organize your day.
Be prepared to change things up
Choosing curriculum can totally be a trial and error thing and so can planning your days. It’s going to take time to find a rhythm and routine that works well for your kiddos and your family. Don’t get discouraged when you have to change things up. It may seem less than ideal, but it is actually one of the great things about homeschool. You’re given the ability and opportunity to create a schedule that suits the needs of your children and your family.
We do not allow any screens prior to completing our school work, unless we need one for a lesson, obviously. We do this because, at least for my kids it’s just a terrible way to begin our day. It’s so hard to reel them in first thing in the morning if all they have on their mind is cartoons. So we made it a rule, no screens. I also put my phone aside and in another room so that I don’t get distracted when my children need my complete attention. I do let my kids play toys in the morning while I do some morning work, but when it’s time for our lessons then it’s time to tidy up our toys and focus on our work. It’s important to have an environment with limited distractions so that you all can focus on the work at hand.
I try to set time limits for our subjects. I think having those blocked off periods helps us to stay on track and focused on the task at hand. If distractions arise or a subject takes a little longer that day we find a good place to stop and move on. Then we come back to it later in the day. I have a little timer I set and when it dings then we know it’s time to move on.
Have realistic expectations for your children and for your day.
Don’t try to ” do it all” setting realistic goals for your day helps it to go smoother and be more successful.
Incorporate a morning basket or afternoon tea time
We use to have a morning basket and I absolutely loved it. As my boys grew, I found it harder to keep the morning basket. Even if we only dedicated an hour or so to morning basket it was becoming more and more of a struggle to get going in our other subjects. Now we do math first thing (least liked subject) followed by language lessons and later on in the afternoon we have “tea time” this is when we read aloud, do art, read our Bible and do devotions. I also use this time for character studies and make up work time for anything else that may need to be completed. We do History and Science right before, so we sort ease right into tea time from those subjects which has worked very well for us. I think this is a great way to come back together after a busy day to calm our hearts, relax and just enjoy each others company.
Everyone schools differently. That’s the beauty of homeschool, right? No matter what style you choose, whether you like strict schedules and routines or you’re more of an un-schooler, consistency is important and I believe we all do well with consistency and order in our days.
A lot of curriculums are considered open and go…but you really do need to do some planning ahead. I think it’s important to at least have an idea of your daily lessons a week in advance. I personally like to plan at least a quarter at a time. This year I’m hoping to actually plan both boys’ lessons for the entire year. It’s just takes all the guesswork and most of prep work out. Being prepared in advance really helps our school days run smoother.
HOW I DO THIS – To create our daily lessons I simply look through my teacher manuals and their workbooks. I create a chart on pages on my mac and just separate it by days of the week. Below each day I insert the lesson, seat work, quiz [whatever is required for that day for all subjects] I keep this in a binder and as we work through our day just check off what we have accomplished. This year I’m going to take it a step further [maybe] and actually put all the seat work pages in the binder with the weekly lesson plan….Typically we just keep our papers in our workbooks…but I may not do this this year….Have you done this before? Did you like this method?
Anyway, creating this simple chart not only lays everything out at a glance, but it also serves as our day tracker for our homeschool journal that we have to keep for our school district.
Have individual time for one on one instruction
This is a biggie. This past year was my first year really having to dedicate instruction time to both boys. It was an adjustment and I quickly realized I needed a more organized approach to one on one instruction. I’m currently planning our day for next year and trying to find the best way to organize my time so that I’m available to each child. I think the key is setting up one child for independent work and then instructing another, then setting him up for independent work and just repeating that cycle. We do art, history, and science together which is really nice so it’s only blocking individual instruction for math and language arts.
Here is a look at what our days will look like
8:00 – Breakfast | Pray for our day
8:30 – Start Math Instruction for my little, while big brother reads quietly
8:45 – Set up my little with his math seat work | Between 8:45-9:00 begin math instruction for my older son.
9:00 – 2nd grader working independently on handwriting | copy work
9:20 – 5th grader begins his math seat work
9:30 – Begin language instruction for 2nd grader | older son continues math seat work until he is finished.
10:00 – 2nd grader should be started on language seat work | spelling words | begin Language instruction for 5th grader
10:30 – Language seat work – Read with 2nd grader once he is done with his seat work
11:00 – 5th grader works on spelling and penmanship
11:30 – Lunch
12:30 – History or Science (we alternate days)
1:00-1:15 – Quiet time for my 2nd grader and reading with my 5th grader
1:45 – Tea Time – Bible, devotions, read aloud and art
This is what I have right now, this could change once we actually get into it. For now I wanted to make sure I gave myself enough time for one – on – one instruction. I am also expecting my 5th grader to be able to do a lot more independently this coming year.
I would love to hear how YOU plan your days and I am interested in how many of y’all pull your seat work out of the books ahead of time? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope this was helpful! Blessings,