It’s that time of year, when we craft a fresh homeschool plan, we search for fresh ideas, create renewed routines, and ask our kids what they want to do for the upcoming year.
So how to homeschool plan?
Most years, by July, I would pull out the messy papers I’d collected all year long, the stacks of books the kids worked through last year, or the giant stack of books they would have read the previous year. I would take a look at my daytimer (and the kids’ daytimers if they had one) and I would create a year-end portfolio about what we did last year.
I’d gather this information into a portfolio for each kiddo (I’ll share more on how I did that in the accompanying post for this episode, but I’ll do a deep dive into how I did this in our Patreon support group too), and I’d gather the ideas that worked from last year, the ideas we hadn’t yet pursued deeply, clarified the ideas or approaches that didn’t work, and decide what we’d be doing for the upcoming homeschool year.
I share with you six key ideas to help you plan and create a fulfilling and successful homeschool year for you and your kids.
As the new homeschool year approaches, it’s the perfect time for homeschool moms to reflect on our past years’ experiences and reimagine the upcoming year with fresh ideas and inspiration.
1.✨ Create a Plan for Your Growth, Learning, and Wellness ✨
- If our goal is to enable our kids to become healthy versions of who they were meant to be, so they can live purposeful lives, we need to lead the way.
- As a homeschool mom, it’s essential to take care of ourselves, too. Set aside some time to create a plan for your personal growth, learning, and well-being. So ask yourself:
- * How are you showing up as the healthiest version of yourself?
- * How are you living a purposeful life that is unique to you?
- * What subjects or skills would you like to learn more about?
- * What hobbies or interests you’d like to explore? I
- * And how you can prioritize your mental and physical well-being amidst your homeschooling responsibilities?
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2. 📚 Look Back and Reflect on Last Year’s Lessons 📚
Reflect on the past year of homeschooling and ask yourself what you and your children have learned.
But how will you do that if you’ve not recorded what you’ve done last year? I found it useful to write it all out (spoken by a writer) and record it in a portfolio.
Here’s why I think we need to keep a general record of what we’re doing: it gives us confidence that we are indeed doing things. We won’t question our homeschool intention as often if we see with our own eyes that our children are growing, learning, and engaging in their world.
Just as I listened to Anne Kathryn share in last week’s Facebook LIVE: she noticed her kids were learning, doing deep dives into their interests, that they were exploring all sorts of subjects as they did life, you’ll notice this too when you record the activities they are doing.
So consider recording what you do.
- Use an Instagram account,
- a paper daytimer,
- screenshotting written activities or projects,
- photographing your activities,
- or jot down in a journal at the end of the day what you did.
After you’ve spent a homeschool season recording your projects and activities, look back and ask, which ones worked, and why?
- How can you do more of that?
- What areas of interest do you want to expand upon?
- Use a homeschool idea journal where you can jot down your interests or your kids’ interests, so you can return to those ideas later.
Celebrate the successes and acknowledge the challenges. Take note of the methods that worked well. What could you do differently?
Learning from the past will help you make informed decisions and adjustments for the upcoming year.
3. 🌱 Embrace Child-led Learning 🌱
One of the most beautiful aspects of homeschooling is the flexibility to cater to your child’s unique interests and learning style, to help them grow into themselves more so they can live a more purposeful life.
But we all know that just because we have this option to create that kind of freedom and individualized education, doesn’t mean we’ll do it.
So let me remind you that child-led learning is still learning, but it’s following your child’s present interests. And if you want to incorporate a science concept or explore the geography around something they are curious about, you can include that too.
If you want to overcome boredom and lack of motivation in your homeschool, ask them to participate in their homeschool choices.
ps if you’re still intent on creating a specific homeschool method in your home, you still can do this alongside child-led learning; just lean into child-led and discover that your homeschool method will be so much more well-received and enjoyable.
Embrace child-led learning this year by involving your children in choosing subjects or projects they are passionate about. This approach fosters their curiosity, motivation, and love for learning, making the homeschool journey more enjoyable for both you and your children.
4. 🚧 Addressing Last Year’s Challenges 🚧
Identify the most significant challenge you faced during the previous homeschool year.
What might it be?
- You’re questioning whether you’re doing this homeschool thing good enough.
- You know you’re not showing up as you’d like in your family: you’re angry, stressed, or overwhelmed more than you want.
- You don’t know how to relate to a specific child.
- You don’t understand why one of your kids isn’t learning like another child.
- You felt lonely and disconnected.
- You struggled alone last year.
- You know you have unrealistic expectations, but you don’t know where to begin to tackle them.
- You didn’t like your routine.
- You didn’t like your homeschool group, but you don’t know who else to connect with.
- You compared yourself to other people’s homeschools and too frequently felt a crisis of confidence.
- You knew you were doing a lot, but you don’t know if it was all meaningful, but you definitely knew it felt like too much.
- The homeschool routine is working for one kid, but not another. But doing more than one routine sounds overwhelming.
- You started the day running and it felt very dissatisfying and mind-blurring.
- Your kids are moving into adolescence and you can sense the relationship with you is different, they want something you’re not quite sure you can put your finger on, and you’re not sure how to help them.
- You’re not sure why last year wasn’t great, but it wasn’t.
- You don’t know how to motivate your kids or prevent them from getting bored.
No matter what challenge you may have, devise a plan to address them proactively.
If you want to do this alongside others, join a Homeschool Mama Support Group, and if you want to tackle these challenges alongside me, you’ll get personalized coaching designed for your challenges.
5. ⏰ Clarify Your Homeschool and Life Routine ⏰
Take time to clarify and refine your homeschool and life routine.
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are your kids transitioning into a different stage of their development and therefore, needing different sleep too?
- Are you sliding into your day without time to think? No morning routine?
- Do you have space carved out just for you to be in your homeschool alone?
- Are you spending more time doing extracurriculars or activities outside your home, but you want to spend more time inside your home?
- Do you want to spend more time doing sit-down activities? Or do you need to do fewer hours doing formal activities?
- Is there a time of day that works better to do formal lessons?
- What did you learn about you and your kids from your last year’s routine?
Every year will be different. What you learn this past year won’t 100% apply to your upcoming year, but as you listen to your kids, listen to your needs, clarify how you want to live your life, and engage education in your home, you’ll get the best approach for this upcoming year.
6. 📘 Assess Your Curriculum Choices 📘
Reflect on the curriculum & resources you used last year; recognize its benefits or disadvantages for your kids’ learning.
Consider what subjects’ topics were particularly enjoyable and engaging for them. Write them down in a homeschool idea notebook you can use as an idea book all year long.
Remember, as a homeschool mom, you have the freedom to create a unique and personalized learning experience for your children. Embrace the journey with enthusiasm, adaptability, and a growth mindset. Here’s to a fantastic and reimagined homeschool year ahead! 🌈📖
How to transform last year’s curriculum and routines into a useable plan for your upcoming homeschool:
Every July I pull out all the stuff we learned and engaged in last year, the piles and piles of papers, notebooks, sketches, math workbooks, writing stuff, whatever they did this year on paper.
I use this to write a portfolio for each child, that includes…
But this will take me a couple of weeks of tomorrow morning. I sort through everything they have written and read, and everything I’ve written in my daily and monthly homeschool planner.
Yup, I know: it’s a lot of work.
I do this for two reasons. The first is the most important reason.
- I see what we’ve been doing in the last year and I congratulate myself for an incredible effort. Who else is going to do it? Homeschooling is not an occupation that earns external awards, bursaries, scholarships, or renown. Built-in self-congratulation (and the occasional jaw gaping are all I see for my efforts, oh, and interesting, engaged kids walking the path they were meant to live with my own awareness that I’ve lived a full, meaningful life helping them do just that. There is THAT).
- I’m getting into the practice of writing useful portfolios for my high school homeschoolers so they can plan for their potential post-secondary years.
As I rummage through the past year’s efforts, I’m considering my next year’s homeschool plans:
- What will our routine look like?
- What activities will we include?
- What pursuits would benefit each of the kids?
- What will we continue and what will we change?
Instead of looking at the latest, greatest curriculum options (I’ve spent other years poring over catalogs and perusing curriculum fairs), I first consider my kids’ natural interests.
- When I’m not looking, when I haven’t organized a day or mandated screen limitations, what are they doing?
If my child defaults to reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, should I trade my prescribed reading list for her interests? Ohhh, tricky one. I buy those little graphic novels for my daughter’s Christmas amusement, but would not include them on an academic reading list. Since she reads and rereads this series, last year I found a Jeff Kinney unit study to incorporate writing stories.
- Should I trade my prescribed reading list for my child’s?
- I also want to continue what has been working.
Like Math U See curriculum. But tweak it to prevent monotony. Like creating games out of math concepts my kids struggle with. (Tried to do that with the Pythagorean theorem last year, ha, that was funny…trying to invent the Pythagorean wheel or triangle 🙂
Last year, my chess-entranced son took fifteen-minute morning breaks playing chess online. He also has a fascination with Lego (which a nine-year-old boy doesn’t). Sometimes he has Lego challenges to break up study days.
- Try something new to keep it interesting.
This year we’ll be incorporating book clubs from BraveWriter. Our thirteen-year-old will try another BraveWriter online class. Our fifteen-year-old will take a few BraveWriter classes on essay writing. Gotta get ready for the SATs.
So let’s get homeschooling.
Reimagine your Homeschool Workbook
Introducing the Reimagine Your Homeschool Workbook! Reflect on the past year, assess what worked and what didn’t, and build the homeschool you truly want. Evaluate curriculum, routine, philosophy, and plan for the future. Get renewed inspiration and fresh ideas.
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