Homeschooling: Organization & Planning

Yes, homeschooling is largely unrelated to childbirth education but I’ve found that I’ve been asked about this enough to warrant putting a few blog posts up so you can get a glimpse into what we’ve done. Any questions? Feel free to ask! Got great suggestions? Please share!

For the record, I consider myself a pretty relaxed homeschooler. I’m not a stickler for routine by any stretch of the imagination. I do not keep a daily or weekly log of activities, although I do buy a $1 teacher’s planner every year and fill it in for roughly the first two weeks of the school year. I do not strictly set aside certain times for lessons. We go with the flow – sometimes a lot of work gets done in a week, sometimes not much at all seems to get done.

I find it helpful to have one simple three-ring binder for my own planning purposes. The first project we do to kick off a new homeschool year with the kids is to let them choose and decorate their own binders. This gives them ownership, pride and purpose in what they’re doing through the year. At least, that’s the intention… This is what we did last year:

Since we choose to see a homeschool consultant at the end of each academic year for feedback, ideas and insight, I can prepare for our meeting with her quite easily using these binders. Mine includes sections for different topics, pocket folders for fliers and various notes and notices picked up along the way, and plastic sleeves for photocopies and some of the slimmer volumes we work through.

But probably the most useful part of my binder for me is the simple sheets I print at the beginning of each year to put at the front of my binder to organize my plans, ideas, goals and possible projects and outings. For example, here is my simple Monthly Goals planner:

You can download the PDF of this document here: Homeschool Monthly Goals

Some goals may be to tackle the concepts of money & time, to do a research project, study European geography, read a classic piece of literature, explore a certain kind of music, visit an art museum, go on a field trip, get through 3 chapters of math…

I also have a sheet on which to record any Extra Events we might go to:

You can download the PDF of this document here: Homeschool Extra Events Planner

I just jot down educational field trips, art classes, theatre shows, nature excursions, scout activities, and anything that may be coming up that we would potentially want to incorporate into our schedule.

I have a sheet for Kids’ Ideas:

You can download the PDF of this document here: Homeschool Kids Ideas

I want my children to be proactive in their own education so at the start of the year and at occasional points along the way I make time to ask what they’d like to know more about or any projects they’d like to do. It’s interesting to hear what comes up! Of course, mine always want to know more about LEGO, but we’ve also done life cycles (raising tadpoles to frogs, larvae to ladybugs), discussed trash and littering (with bike rides to collect neighborhood trash), grown a veggie garden, and so forth.

Finally, I have a sheet of Homeschool Ideas.

You can download the PDF of this document here:  Homeschool Ideas 

This, for me, is a fluid document and changes throughout the year. Right now it might look like this:

I type up a one or two-page summary of each academic year for each child based on my kids’ binders and the planning sheets in my own binder. I’m all about simple, and this makes it easy to see at a glance what we’ve accomplished. With four kids, it also makes it easy to look back at what an older child did to help plan for a younger child’s year.

Stay tuned for a post on these summaries!

 

 

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