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Homeschool Planning – What to Know Before You Start
Homeschool planning gets you ready for the school year, but how do you start, if you’ve never done it before?
When we first started homeschooling I felt like I had a gazillion things to do. I was completely overwhelmed with what to do first. I’m a check the box kinda gal and I really needed a checklist to tick off as I made progress. I didn’t have that, but I did make a list of the things I felt were important. One thing I left off was homeschool planning.
That wasn’t the only mistake I made. There was a much bigger one too. Turns out my kids weren’t the only ones learning new things because I definitely learned a hard lesson.
Homeschool Planning Starts With You
A good place to start your homeschool planning isn’t with a bunch of homeschool planning pages, it’s with you. Ask yourself these questions and take note of your answers before you do anything else.
7 Questions to consider before doing your homeschool planning…
How many days are you required to homeschool per school year?
The number of days you’re required to homeschool per year can vary by state. Most states require that you homeschool your children 180 days per year. There are several states that require less. So, it’s best to check with your state board or department of education to find out for certain.
What days do you know you’ll not want to school?
There may be some days you know you’ll not want to homeschool. Maybe you decide not to homeschool on birthdays. You may want to take a late summer vacation and take those days off.
How many daily homeschool hours are required by your state?
Many states require four instructional hours per day. This number will vary based on your state and the age of your child. Check with your state’s board of education to find out your state’s homeschooling requirements or you can find information at HSLDA.org.
How many children are you homeschool planning for?
Homeschool planning for several children will limit the time you can spend with each child. For this reason, when you’re homeschooling multiple children, it’s always a good idea to try combine age groups for one or more subjects.
You don’t have to do it this way, but it will help you to devote more time to those children that need more of your attention.
Do you have children that can learn independently with little guidance from you?
As your children get older, you’ll probably notice that they’re able to learn a lot on their own. This transition is a little bittersweet. However, if you have other children that need a lot from you, it can also be Heaven sent. Try to embrace it for what it is… flowering independence and maturity.
There are some curriculums that encourage independent learning. A couple we’ve used are Alpha Omega’s Lifepac and Accelerated Christian Education’s Ace Paces.
The Free Resource Library has a weekly homeschool planning page you can use with your older kiddos.
Do you have children that will need your full attention and guidance while homeschooling?
By far, these precious homeschooling angels are the ones you’ll spend more time teaching and training. They’ll need you to hold their hand while they work and keep them encouraged to keep on keeping on, to focus, to try the problem one more time, or to work for just a few more minutes to try and concrete a concept into their young mind.
This won’t really affect your child’s homeschool schedule, but it will impact your daily agenda.
Are there little ones that will be underfoot while homeschooling your older children?
Many years ago, I learned that it is much easier to homeschool with toddlers, if I give some attention to the littles before attending to the bigs.
Reading to your little ones, coloring, doing a craft together, cooking together, or just playing a game will give them the attention they need to know you’re there for them too.
After spending time with them you can send them off to do their own thing or you can let them do their “school” by giving them some inexpensive workbooks or some free preschool printables you can find online.
Thinking about the answers to these questions ahead of time helps you set realistic expectations when you’re homeschool planning.