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How I Plan Our Homeschool Year (Part 2)

Do you need help with your yearly homeschool planning? Then, this post is for you. Today, I am sharing part 2 of how I plan our homeschool year.

Welcome back to how I plan our homeschool year. This is the second post in the series, so if you haven’t read part 1, you can do that here.

Part 1 of How I Plan My Homeschool Year was all about the WHY – now we’re going to get into the actual HOW we will make my homeschool priorities a reality. Now I’m ready to start making decisions about the homeschool resources and homeschool curriculum I will need for our upcoming homeschool year (and it’s time to get it all organized!).

How I Plan Our Homeschool Year (continued)

Determine my Course of Study for each child

Once I’ve completed the hard work of determining my priorities for our homeschool and each child, I’m ready to determine the Course of Study for each child. This includes choosing the subjects we will cover this year, as well as the homeschool curriculum and books we will use for each subject.

First, I print my Course of Study printable from the Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide. I use the one with the subjects already written in to save time. Then, I start penciling in the homeschool curriculum and books I think I will use for each subject for each child.

This is not my final version, so I don’t worry about how it looks. I just want to capture all the thoughts, ideas, and potential curriculum choices I have for each subject. Sometimes I know exactly what I will use; other times I write down a list of curricula to research.

How I do my yearly homeschool planning - setting my course of study

I also print the Homeschool Curriculum Evaluation page from the Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide. For the curriculum that I’m deciding on, I like to use the Homeschool Curriculum Evaluation page to make sure I’m choosing curriculum that fits the goals we have for this year. Walking through this process with pencil in hand, keeps me from impulse buying when things are on sale, or I come across a curriculum that looks fun to use!

If you don’t have the Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide, you can use your homeschool journal. I mentioned that I like this one in my first post (more on my homeschool planning journal below). Just write the list of subjects you want to teach this year, and make a list of the curriculum and resources you think you’ll use.

Once I know the homeschool curriculum and books I will use, I start gathering and purchasing my curriculum.

As the homeschool curriculum and books begin to trickle in, I stack them on our homeschool table, which goes off limits for the children until I am finished sorting everything out!

As I have snippets of time between pool days and camping trips, I begin the process of familiarizing myself with our new material.

How to plan your homeschool year - course of study

This is also when I will start a Course of Study Word document for each of my children, and save it to my computer.

This is probably my most important document for my yearly homeschool planning. It’s where I list every resource, book, and goal I have for each subject for each child.

This is my MASTER Course of Study list; no pencils permitted.

You can download my oldest son’s course of study for fifth grade here.

Each of my children has a Word document just like that with his or her Course of Study outlined. I will use this list to make sure I at least have all of my books for the first term ready to go in August, and it’s what I will use to check off what we’ve done all year long.

Next, I set our homeschool calendar for the year.

In the past, I’ve enjoyed drawing it into my homeschool journal, but this year I used the Year-At-A-Glance printable from the Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide.

Homeschool Yearly Planning - Year-At-A-Glance

When I set our homeschool calendar for the year, I decide our:

  • Start date
  • End date
  • Breaks
  • Holidays
  • Co-Op days
  • Testing Dates

Then, I highlight the weeks we will be “doing school.” I like to also add the week numbers to help me know where we are in the year as the year goes by.

Once I’ve set the calendar, I can put together each child’s syllabus for at least our first term.

We primarily follow Ambleside Online, so this is already mostly done for me. I just have to make adjustments to the reading schedule to fit our needs, and make a plan for math and the extras like art, music, foreign language, etc.

How to plan your homeschool year

For many years I didn’t put together a full outline of readings and lessons to complete each week. It seemed a little fruitless because:

  • What if I changed my mind?
  • What if something didn’t work?
  • What if we followed a rabbit trail?
  • What if…

Over time, I’ve found that having a road map doesn’t mean I have to adhere to it perfectly each week. It’s a road map that might have detours, but I have the map to guide me in to the destination I say I want to reach by the end of the year.

My personality needs the accountability of this structure, so I will know when I’m following too many rabbit trails and need to get back on track. Plus, it’s exhausting to me to think on the fly or HAVE TO plan each Sunday evening for a new week. Bulk planning works much better for me.

How to plan your homeschool year

For subjects that are lesson rich, however, I usually just write down how many lessons we need to complete each week to finish by the end of the school year. There is no need to write each and every lesson number down. That would be tortuous!

For example, for math, we need to complete 3-4 lessons each week to complete the curriculum in one school year. Because math is a mastery subject, we might slow down, we might speed up, and I don’t know that until we get to that lesson. Therefore, simply making a note in my syllabus to complete 3-4 lessons a week is sufficient. Then, I just stick a post-it note into the book wherever we leave off, and pick up where we left off the next day.

Next, I like to set up my new homeschool planning journal for the year.

Think of this like Bullet Journaling® for Homeschoolers I like these dotted, spiral bound journals for my homeschool planning journal. I used it for the first time last year, and it was amazing!

One the first page I write the name of our homeschool and the school year.

Inside the first pages, I write a guiding verse for the year and our “Rule of Six.” I learned about the Rule of Six from the book, Teaching from Rest. Great book!

Next are our goals and priorities for the year.

Then my Year-At-A-Glance page, as well as our ideal rhythm and “If nothing else, we will…”

I learned about the “If nothing else, we will…” from Ready Set Homeschool. Great book for those just getting started homeschooling!

After that I start filling it with notes, ideas, lists, and whatever I need throughout the year.

Here are some sample pages from last year’s homeschool planning journal:

In addition to my homeschool planning journal, I also set-up my homeschool notebook.

I use a Five Star Flex Binder with 2-pocket plastic dividers for each child.

Behind each child’s divider, I place their Course of Study for the Year, their syllabus, any lists or lesson plans I’ve made for them, as well as their weekly checklists.

I also have tabs in my master planning binder with extra copies of our hymns, poems we’re memorizing, coloring sheets for busy hands, and some notes I need for reference throughout the year. I don’t use the pocket-dividers for these things because I don’t need the extra bulk.

After I have all of this in place, I do all the things my state requires.

Every state will be different (go here to find your state’s laws), but here’s what I’m required to send in:

  • Proof of progress from the previous year (due August 1st)
  • My Notice of Intent, and
  • A List of subjects we will teach in the upcoming year (due by August 15th)

Once all of that is mailed in, my homeschool planning notebooks are set up, and my homeschool curriculum is organized, it’s time to start our new year!

If you’ve hung with me this long, then good for you! I wanted to be as detailed as possible about how I do my yearly homeschool planing in hopes of giving you some fresh ideas for your own homeschool planning. Feel free to leave me comments below with any questions you have!

Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide

If you want a step-by-step guide for planning your homeschool year, then check out my Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide.

With the help of the Your Intentional Family Homeschool Planning Guide you will no longer have to make decisions out of fear (fear of missing out, fear of not having enough, fear of not being enough).

You will be able to make decisions for your homeschool with confidence because you know exactly what you’re priorities for your homeschool year are.

Then, you’ll be able to choose the resources and curriculum to help you meet those goals for this year.

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

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