How to do homeschool yearly planning!
|

How I Plan Our Homeschool Year (Part 1)

Do you need help planning your homeschool year? Then, this post is for you! In this post, I’m sharing how I plan our homeschool year. This is my yearly homeschool planning routine that I’ve landed on after nearly a decade of homeschooling. I pray it helps and inspires you in your homeschool journey!

Whether we like it or not, the summer days are nearly over, and it’s time to start seriously thinking about a new school year.

If you’re a homeschool mom, you’ve probably been thinking about the new school year since you ended the last school year.

  • Maybe you’ve been actively planning your homeschool year all summer long, or
  • Maybe you’ve just been letting ideas tumble around in your head waiting for the day you will sit down and put pen to paper, or
  • Maybe you’ve checked out entirely all summer giving yourself a much needed break.

I’m a little bit of all of these, to be honest.

However, like it or not, August is here, and it’s time to finalize our yearly plans for a new homeschool year.

How I do homeschool yearly planning!

Over the years I’ve gotten better and better at planning our homeschool year.

When I was first beginning our homeschool journey, everything felt overwhelming. I said in this post that feeling this way is totally normal. It’s okay to start as a beginner in the homeschool world.

I also said, the best way to learn to homeschool is to just do it. Because here’s the secret that I really, really, really wish I had known before I had to learn it the hard way.

No one is an expert at homeschooling.

There is no magic way of homeschooling, no one right way to do homeschool planning, no perfectly fitted homeschool philosophy that you need to unlock in order to be the best homeschool mom you can be.

There is no magic bullet, no easy button, and there is certainly no guarantees that what you have planned will work.

We’re all walking this out by faith.

Every one of us.

The way you start homeschooling your children will likely not be how you homeschool them ten years from now.

Sure, there are a few unicorn moms, and I applaud them (and ask them ever so humbly, how did you get so lucky to get it right the first time?). But for the vast majority of us, we aren’t coming at this homeschool thing knowing exactly what we’re doing.

We are learning on the fly, learning as we go, learning from our successes and failures, and learning to not take ourselves too seriously.

It may seem like we have it all figured out from our pretty Instagram squares.

But we’re normal moms just like you.

If you’re new to homeschooling, I hope that encourages you.

If you’re a veteran homeschool mom, I hope that encourages you.

Homeschool is a journey.

One that is glorious and exciting and full of possibility, yes. But it’s also a total walk of faith for every single one of us.

So, take a deep breath.

It’s time to plan for a new homeschool year!

And the way I do it is just one of many ways you can go about planning your homeschool year. I pray you gain some encouragement and fresh inspiration as you read about how I plan our homeschool year, but remember: the best way to learn to plan your homeschool year is by planning your homeschool year.

Be kind to yourself, and I promise you, you’ll grow in confidence as a homeschool mom as you allow yourself space to learn and grow.

Ready to plan an intentional homeschool year?

How I Plan Our Homeschool Year

How I do homeschool yearly planning!

First, I reflect on the previous homeschool year.

Before planning for a new homeschool year, I like to reflect back on the previous homeschool year.

I usually start by writing down what worked and what didn’t in my homeschool journal as we near the end of a homeschool year.

I like to capture these thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind, so when I sit down for my complete evaluation I have a clear picture of what truly did and didn’t work for us in the previous homeschool year.

Then, around June or July I print off my homeschool planning pages from the Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide and reflect more deeply on our homeschool year. I use the question prompts in the planning guide to guide me through my time of reflection.

Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide - Plan your homeschool year with confidence!

Here are the question prompts I use:

  • List 3 words to describe your previous homeschool year. (Then ask each of your family members to do the same.)
  • List what went well for you last school year.
  • List what did not go well for you last school year.
  • What do you want to do differently next year?
  • In what ways did you see God move in your family’s life during the previous homeschool year?
  • What are you favorite memories from last year?
  • Any memories you hope to make next year?
  • Who do you need to say thank you to?
  • What else do you need to think about?

Next, I ask a series of questions to help me think through our needs for the upcoming homeschool school year.

Again, I use the question prompts in my Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide to hep me gain clarity for the year ahead.

Before I ever start buying curriculum, or filling in a course of study, or anything that looks like typical yearly homeschool planning, I spend time thinking thinking deeply about our homeschool and the relationships that make up our home.

To some this may seem like too much, but taking time to journal your answers to these questions will help you:

  • Uncover sticking points you didn’t know existed,
  • Discover priorities you wouldn’t otherwise consider, and
  • Dig deeper into why you homeschool in the first place.

It is so easy to get caught up in the doing of homeschool that you forget the gift of being together.

I like to really spend time thinking about our relationships, and how I can best nurture and disciple my children and love my husband well in the upcoming weeks and months.

Here are the questions I’m asking myself regarding our homeschool:

  • How is my attitude toward homeschooling right now?
  • What do I wish I had more time for in my homeschool?
  • What part of homeschooling do I most enjoy?
  • What part of homeschooling do I least enjoy?
  • What is my biggest source of stress in our homeschool?
  • What are some things I can do to alleviate this stress?

Here are the questions I’m asking regarding my relationships:

  • How is my relationship with the Lord right now?
  • What is one thing I can do to make my relationship with the Lord better?
  • How is my relationship with my husband right now?
  • What is one thing I can do to make my relationship with my husband better?
  • How is my relationship with my child right now? (Do this for each child.)
  • What is one thing I can do to make my relationship with my child better? (Do this for each child.)
How I do homeschool yearly planning!

After I’ve answered these questions, I move deeper in my assessment of each child individually.

Here are the questions I ask for each individual child:

  • What worked well for this child last year?
  • What didn’t work well for this child last year?
  • What needs to change in the upcoming school year?
  • What do we need to focus on most this upcoming year?
  • By the end of the upcoming school year, what do I most hope this child will: read, do, help, grow?

Then, I do a sibling assessment.

The fact that our children are home together all day, every day is a gift. God has placed each of us in this family unit for a purpose, and it’s here in the context of family that we live out John 13:35 for the whole world to see.

How we love each other in the context of family matters, and I spend time thinking and praying about how I can cultivate deeper bonds among my children.

Here are the questions I ask regarding the sibling relationships in our home:

  • How would I describe my children’s attitudes toward one another this last school year?
  • In what ways did my children’s relationships grow this year?
  • Are there any heart issues I want to address in the coming year?
  • By the end of the upcoming school year, what do I most hope my children will: read, do, help, grow together?
Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide - Plan your homeschool year with confidence!

Finally, I interview all of my children individually, as well as my husband.

Some years I make it a whole thing where we go out one-on-one for milkshakes or coffee and just chat. Other years I just pull them into a separate room for a little chat.

It depends on the season, but I always make sure they know they can be completely and totally honest! I will not take offense at what they say. This is important because unless they can be honest, I learn nothing and in turn, this is a waste of time.

But this is the most valuable thing I do when planning our homeschool year! The hearts of my children and husband are what I’m after, and when they feel heard and understood, they will feel most loved. And loved people thrive!

Questions I’m asking in my children in their interviews:

  • How do you think this homeschool year went overall?
  • On a scale from 1-5, with 5 being excellent, how loved to you feel by me right now?
  • What is one thing you wish I would start doing?
  • What is one thing you wish I would stop doing?
  • On a scale from 1-5, with 5 being love it a lot, how how much do you love being a part of our family?
  • What is one thing you wish we would start doing as a family?
  • What is one thing you wish we would stop doing as a family?
  • Do you think your siblings are delighting in you as a brother/sister? Why or why not?
  • What is one thing you can start doing to love your siblings better?
  • What is one thing you can stop doing to love your siblings better?
  • What else do you want me to know about our family and how you feel?
  • What would you most like to learn about next school year?
  • What part of school do you most enjoy?
  • What part of school do you least enjoy?
  • What do you wish you did more of in school?
  • What do you wish you did less of in school?
  • What do you think your strengths are?
  • What do you think are your weaknesses?
  • What opportunities do you feel are available to you that you would like to explore?
  • Is there anything you wish you could do in order to explore your interests further?
  • What challenges do you feel you need to overcome?
  • Are there character issues, educational challenges, etc. that you want me to help you with this year?
  • What else do you want me to know? Anything else you hope I consider in the planning of our upcoming school year?

Questions I’m asking in my husband’s interview:

  • How do you think this homeschool year went overall?
  • On a scale from 1-5, with 5 being excellent, how was my mood toward homeschooling the children this year?
  • On a scale from 1-5, with 5 being excellent, how loved to you feel by me right now?
  • What about during the school year? Is it the same?
  • What would you most like our children to learn about this year?
  • What is one thing you wish I would start doing?
  • What is one thing you wish I would stop doing?
  • What else do you want me to know about our relationship?
  • Are there any subjects or skills you would like to teach the children this year?
  • Is there anything you would add or take away from my assessment of the children and their relationships?
  • What else do you want me to know? Anything else you hope I consider in the planning of our upcoming school year?
How I do yearly homeschool planning!

Finally, I set my homeschool priorities for the year.

By now, I have a lot of data to work with. With each question and answer, I’m recording what I’m hearing.

I’m asking the Holy Spirit to give me fresh vision for the new year, clear insight into the hearts and minds of my children, and help in zeroing in on the priorities for the next school year.

The truth is you can’t do all the things, all the time, in every season. This is true for you as the mom, and it’s true for you as a family. The beauty of homeschooling is that you get to set the priorities according to what you need in the upcoming school year.

So, I look back over everything I’ve written down and determine the themes that keep weaving their way through the conversations. Then, I write down my top three priorities for the upcoming school year.

Additionally, I write down what I’m saying, “Yes!” to this year and what I’m saying, “No!” to this year. And, I write down why I want to keep these priorities.

Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide

Writing my answers down and spending time reflecting is a large part of my yearly homeschool planning.

You can do this with a simple journal. Just walk through the questions and prompts in this post, and one-by-one record the answers in your journal. I like these dotted journals personally.

Or you can get my Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide, print off the pages for reflection and planning, and just work through the prompts that way. This is the easiest option, of course, and how I do it now.

But either way works!

Also, I want to point out something in my yearly homeschool planning routine.

I haven’t bought a single bit of homeschool curriculum yet. I’ve learned in my many years of mistakes, it’s better to wait.

Wait for the new of the curriculum frenzy to wear off.
Wait for the exhaustion of the previous school year to fade.
Wait for the feelings of failure to gain perspective.
Wait for the Lord to direct my steps for the new year.

Wait.

Don’t assume that you know the plans for the new year yet.
Don’t rush ahead buying curriculum on autopilot because it’s what you’ve always done (or it’s a good deal!).
Don’t get swept up in the feelings of hurry because you know how much effort it takes to learn a new curriculum.

Just wait.

I’ve saved myself so much heartache and frustration these last few years since I started taking my time with my homeschool curriculum purchases. Since I started thinking more deeply and intentionally about my yearly homeschool plans and priorities.

Because here’s another secret I really, really, really wish I had known before I had to learn it the hard way.

Each year is different.

Each child is different.

And each year YOU are different.

Pushing the pause button on your curriculum decisions until after you’ve completed a thorough review of the previous homeschool year and set your priorities for the new school year will save you a lot of buyers’ remorse (and money!).

Trust me.

Alright, now that you have your priorities for the new homeschool year, it’s time to start getting into the practical parts of planning your homeschool year.

That’s what I’m going to share with you in my next post! Click here for Part 2 of How I Plan Our Homeschool Year.

Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide

In the meantime, if you want to think more deeply about your homeschool year, and you want a guide to help you, check out the Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide.

Planning your homeschool year doesn’t have to be overwhelming!

Whether you’re just getting started homeschooling and need someone to guide you through the nitty-gritty of homeschool planning, or a veteran homeschool mom who wants to go deeper with her children this year, then the Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide is for you!

Click here to learn more about the Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide!

Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide

Other posts you might be interested in:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.