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Let’s reimagine our homeschools in 9 simple steps. So we can be more clear and confident.
Whether you’re a seasoned homeschooler wanting to reimagine your homeschool or you’re just starting out on this homeschool journey, these 9 steps will guide you in creating a solid foundation for your child’s education at home.
In today’s episode, titled “Reimagining Our Homeschool Lives: Nine Simple Steps to Plan with Confidence & Clarity,” we’ll explore how we can infuse new energy and creativity into our homeschooling journey. As experienced homeschoolers, it’s important for us to periodically reassess our goals, refresh our approach, and reignite the joy of learning.
However, whether you’re a seasoned homeschooler or just starting out, these steps will guide you in creating a solid foundation for your home education. So, let’s dive in and discover the nine simple steps to reimagine our homeschool lives!
So what are the 9 steps to plan your homeschool?
1. What do YOU want your kids to know?
Before I give you my ideas, let’s examine yours.
Because your answers matter. A lot.
Can you ask that question?
Um, yeah, you’re homeschooling.
You get to infuse your child’s education with what you want your kids to know.
So what do you want them to know? Write your ideas in a planning journal (a journal devoted to learning ideas for your kids).
You don’t have to use the school systems’ approach to creating an education, you can decide to raise them up in the way that you believe is right for you and your homeschool kids. Did you know that the Latin root of the word education is “educato” and it means to “raise up”?
Raise up what I ask.
Not a school system, not a classroom, not a neighbourhood of kids, rather, the kids in your home.
So grab your journal and answer, what do you want to raise up and how and what do you want your kids to know?
2. Read about homeschooling.
I imagine you’re doing that if you’re reading THIS. Here’s my Homeschool Mama’s Reading List that I think every new homeschooler could read to feel confident.
Introducing the Homeschool Reading List…
John Holt, author of How Children Learn.
A thirty-year schoolteacher who watched his students engage in their learning has taught me about how my children learn. This author shifted my approach to my kids and their learning.
Rachel Gathercole, author of The Well-Adjusted Child.
Does anyone ever ask you about homeschool socialization?
John Holt & Pat Farenga, authors of Teach Your Own.
Want to be certain that this home learning thing will actually benefit your child? This book will undergird you with certainty.
Julie Bogart, author of The Brave Learner.
A veteran homeschool mama of five, Julie, will show you how to engage your kids so that you ALL will be brave in your approach to your homeschool lifestyle and find the freedom you need to enjoy this lifestyle.
John Taylor Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down.
This spitfire of an author and powerhouse of a book will blow your socks off. Everything you subconsciously knew about your conventional education will be reflected in this book. This celebrated and award-winning teacher spent thirty years analyzing the very educational system he was celebrated for teaching in.
Lisa Rivere, author of The Homeschooling Option: How to Decide When It’s Right for You.
This is the book I picked up on a lark, read in a week, and changed my family’s fate…we homeschooled because of this book. Kind of a landmark book for me.
Judy Arnall, author of Unschool to University and Parenting with Patience.
She frees me from homeschooling like my home is a school. I can rest assured that my unschooled child can even get into university. And she teaches me HOW to be patient with my children. Umm, where have you been all my homeschool life?
Barbara Oakley, author of Learning How to Learn.
She empowers me to understand learning and how the brain absorbs and processes it. This learning about learning is a fundamental must-read that has helped me understand my children’s learning process and how to support it.
Oh, and by the way, if you don’t have time to read all these selections, join me in the monthly Homeschool Mama Book Club, where I’ll read them for you and we can chat about them discussion-style.
3. Know your WHY & clarify your goals.
Before you begin planning it’s essential to define your goals. Ask yourself: What do you want your child to achieve academically, socially, and personally? By having a clear vision for your family and understanding the WHY behind your decision to homeschool, you can establish a solid foundation and set the stage for your version of success.
As Simon Sinek said in his cleverly titled book, “Know Your WHY.” Why do you want to homeschool?
By knowing WHY you’re homeschooling, you gain a deeper understanding of your motivations and aspirations. Your WHY becomes the driving force that guides your decisions, choices, and your educational approach.
When you know WHY you’re homeschooling, you’ll gain a clear vision of your educational intentions and have a clearer direction to walk toward. This clarity empowers you to align your planning with your intentions, choose the appropriate curricula and resources, and make informed choices that resonate with your values.
So, take the time to reflect on your WHY.
- What inspired you to choose homeschooling?
- Is it the desire for a more personalized education, the wish to nurture your child’s individual strengths and passions, or the need for a flexible learning environment?
By having a clear vision and direction, you can align your planning with your objectives and make informed decisions along the way.
Why you homeschool matters more than how you homeschool. But why you homeschool is very influenced by what you think an education is anyway.Teresa Wiedrick
4. Plan planning.
If you’re new to homeschooling, decide how you’re going to engage your child’s education and start planning.
1. Explore different homeschool philosophies.
There are a few: Charlotte Mason, unschooling, child-directed learning, self-directed learning, project-based learning, Waldorf, Montessori, classical, and the very popular and nearly ubiquitous when you reach seven years of homeschooling: eclectic.
2. Just plan for this year.
- NO 12-year plan, please!
- NO signing up to organize the co-op in your first year.
- No expensive curriculum in the box for the first year (you’re guaranteed to overwhelm).
- Do assume you’re changing everything next year (cause you will: you’ll decide some things work for you and your kids and some things don’t. Homeschooling is an ever-evolving process).
3. Jump on to Facebook groups and ask what other people think.
Public opinion matters: there’s always a reason that something is popular. Also know, that public opinion might not always apply to you.
Who you are might not be who they are so you might not value their values or their approach, so take everything with a grain of salt. Read everything about everything, but only do what seems truly reflective of you.
4. Begin learning about time blocking now.
You could go down the rabbit trail of research indefinitely, so intentionally choose how much time you want to invest in your homeschool research before you do it. (Your kids will grow up right before your eyes as you stay glued to your computer or handheld device while you read one bajillion homeschool blog posts, listen to podcasts, and research Facebook threads.)
If you’re not a natural-born timekeeper, a woman after my own heart, then grab your Time Audit here.
5. Or you can just join me in coaching where you and I can do this together.
You can learn more about coaching opportunities when you schedule a chat with me.
And if you’re not a new homeschooler, you’ve been there done this a few years already, here’s what you can do:
- Ask yourself, What worked this past year…for your kids and yourself?
- What did you learn about your kids?
- Who is each of your kids?
- How does each of them learn?
- What did you learn about yourself, what works for you, and what do you need?
- What do you now believe an education to be (after this homeschool year)?
- Is there anything you need to deschool from?
- What are your unrealistic expectations?
- Are you confident in your homeschool choice & why?
- What are the core values guiding you?
- Which resources, extracurriculars, and activities do you want to include next year?
You could do what I’ve done every year: I created an end-of-year portfolio.
I didn’t have to. My Canadian provincial government didn’t require me to.
But at the end of the year, when I looked at the lists of books my son had read, or the oodles of science experiments my second daughter did at the kitchen island, the history books my oldest daughter consumed on her bed, or the YouTube videos our third daughter wrote and recorded, I felt more at ease…
I could see that I engaged each of them in ever-so-unconventional ways and plenty of conventional ways. And I didn’t worry that they weren’t learning or had an inadequate education.
I could see with my very eyes, they’d learned a ton that year. They’d learned knowledge bits and also about themselves (but that’s another podcast episode).
(Also those portfolios were nice mementos).
If you’d like to join me in assessing your past year and also learning how I put together a portfolio for each kiddo each year, you are invited to, join me in the Year-End Review.
In this year-end review, we’ll do a year-end homeschool assessment:
- to align your actual activities with your homeschool vision
- to assess your homeschool curriculum, if you want to do all the things, but you need to focus on a few for an easy, fun routine
- to assess your homeschool routine
- to help those entering kindergarten and have no idea where to start
- to help those entering high school and are at a loss in making curriculum choices
- to assess your homeschool philosophy (& ask if it’s working for you?)
- to simplify your homeschool
- to tackle your real homeschool challenges & create an attack plan
- to encourage you to show up on purpose in your homeschool (& life)
- to address your real homeschool kids, so you can create an individualized home education
- to encourage you to keep on going in your homeschool (& life)
5. Plan learning opportunities.
Plan learning opportunities for your kids, don’t try to recreate school subjects.
In the show notes of this podcast episode, I share personalized educational ideas for a 6, 10, 12, and 13-year-old. (Because I’ve been writing about my homeschool kids since very early in my homeschool days: which, as an aside, I highly recommend as a practice, and if you’re interested in beginning a writing practice, beyond your Instagram feed, you’re welcome to join me for a Beginner Writer’s workshop in the Homeschool Mama Support Group).
But note to self: your kids aren’t my kids and I’m not you.
So what I value, what my kids’ value, how they learn, and where they were in developmental stages at certain ages, might not be the same as yours. Having said that, if you want to check out what my kids were doing at those ages, head over to Capturing the Charmed Life.com to learn more.
And along with planning learning opportunities, might I recommend getting a library card if you don’t already have one (clearly I’m talking to the new homeschool mama here)?
- Structuring an education for a six-year-old.
- Structuring an education for a ten-year-old.
- Structuring an education for a twelve-year-old.
- Structuring an education for a thirteen-year-old.
If you prefer watching a discussion, instead of reading a discussion on learning opportunities, it’s here on YouTube.
6. Search for learning opportunities.
This is easy. This is fun. Don’t overthink this step. Don’t overbuy for this step.
Check out the library, online resources, a community calendar, or local homeschool lending libraries, and ask your kids what they want to do.
Learn what other local homeschoolers are planning. Discover a new museum, art gallery, science center, nature reserve, or literally anything that interests you. Include that.
Also, remember that discussion in the minivan on the way to the grocery store, those conversations around the kitchen table, or that debate that broke out as you were taking the recycling to the depot, all of that is learning too. Count them as learning.
And games. So many games. Every game can be used as a learning opportunity somehow some way,
ps Your home is not a school. You don’t have to try to make your home a school. In fact, it’ll be counterproductive. I discuss this in the newly recreated free mini-course for homeschoolers that want to reimagine their homeschools. You can find that here.
7. Keep a planner.
But don’t do daily lesson plans (unless you & your kids really want to). I had kids that really wanted to and kids that really didn’t.
I used a paper planner. Write in a planner what learning opportunities you’ve already DONE.
(Yes, observe what your child likes to do, and learn to follow their lead: this is harder than it looks. Unschooling isn’t passive.)
You can check out my Homeschool Planner in this YouTube video.
8. Create a routine, not a schedule.
What is the difference between a routine and a schedule? You can check that out in the free mini-course too.
A schedule is forced confinement, routines are guidelines.
Forced confinement? We’ve done that in the last few months, so no thanks!
Routines include the stuff you want to include, they’re flexible, and routines create predictability. Oh, and routines bear out in productivity.
What do you want to include in your day? Write it down.
- Carve out a morning routine. Begin the day alone. Just fifteen minutes.
- Create a morning routine with the kids: a prayer, a lovingkindness meditation, yoga, readalouds, and discussing plans for the day.
- Ask the kids what their hopes and plans are for the day and make sure you let your kids know yours too.
- Include study time or engage in learning opportunities. (Think in subject areas or follow their curiosities).
- Include a post-lunch communal quiet time.
- Get outside and active every day.
- Slot in screen time.
- Include fun every day.
- Include household chores in your weekly routine: everyone helps.
- Include extracurricular activities, co-ops, and part-time jobs in your routine.
- Inject some homeschool hygge in your day!
9. Pay attention to your kids and stop overthinking.
You won’t do anything perfectly. There’s no such thing as perfection. I share ten lessons I learned in ten years of my homeschooling and one of them is about learning perfection ain’t a thing in homeschooling or any part of life. Check it out here.
But I’ve got to ask, what is an education anyway? That’s the reason we send our kids to school right? So what’s the purpose? When you determine what your reasons for education are for your kids, you’ll get a really clear vision of how you want to approach their education.
Keep listening to your kiddos, watch how they learn, and watch how you like to engage their learning (how do you like to learn? You’re probably engaging them in a way that works for you).
Then do your thing. Enjoy your kids. Have fun. Assess and reassess every season and keep on keeping on as the most invested person in your child’s life.
Deschool your Homeschool Journaling Workbook
Deschool your homeschool journaling workbook that aids in your self-exploration, to get clear on how you can bring freedom & individualization into your homeschool.
People also ask:
- Where can I find your book Homeschool Mama Self-Care: Nurturing the Nurturer?
- Planning for Next Year’s Homeschool
- Listen to a discussion on the 9 Steps to Plan your Homeschool with Confidence & Clarity
- If I had my child to raise over again this is what I would do?
- How can I capture my charmed homeschool?
- Do you offer one-on-one coaching? Why, yes I do!
Call to Adventure by Kevin MacLeod
Hi there. I am with CBC and hoping to book you on a program within the next 2 hours. Can you give me a call? 778-229-3955