Planning a homeschool year with out of the box kids can be a challenge and feel lonely. Their varied needs make it challenging to find a box curriculum that is good fit. The longer we homeschool the more confident I have become to pull together different resources that work for us in each subject. I’m sharing these homeschool planning pages I use to organize my ideas and plan our year.
These out of the box kids want more and deeper information that what I often find advertised for their ages. I can meet their needs using various methods and formulas that I have learned from the various programs we have used over the years. I love using audiobooks for our theme and finding activities that go with them for our history, and then I just have to plan the pace at which we go through the books. For Science I have found Unit Studies to be a good approach. We can pick a topic and study it as long as we want, how we want, before moving on to a different topic.
What do you do when you are pulling all your own resources together to make your homeschool plan?
In our homeschool, we learn as much as we can together so I look for materials that fit our age range and are adaptable for each child. So my planning is divided into “family subjects” for everyone, and “independent subjects” for each child. Their independent work includes their Language Arts and Math. These subjects for the most part follow a typical grade leveled progression. Each child works through these at their own pace.
Our family subjects take the most time to plan as they are what we spend the most time doing. We do History, Science, Literature, Poetry, Social Studies, Art, Music together. These are all subjects where I am giving them information that doesn’t necessarily have to be sequential. The first thing I do is brainstorm what I want the year to include. I base this on what we have done before and what interests we have as a family. I also look at what we need to cover to be well rounded overall. For History, we look at doing the next period of history from either a world or American viewpoint. For Science, I look at what areas we haven’t studied in awhile and what their interests are. For Literature, Art and other areas I look for material that will keep their interest, and I collect my notes on my brainstorm page.
After I have ideas gathered, I look for how to teach them and start deciding when we will study it and add them to my calendar by term. This provides me a loose plan for the year. When I’m writing this we are in an election year, so i made sure to make space to study the election process in the fall so we could prepare to watch and discuss Election Day and the Inauguration. Other subject areas don’t matter as much with the seasons. As we enter middle school and prepare for high school requirements I’m using the Big Fat Notebooks as a guides to make sure we are hitting everything.
Planning by term also allows me to think about which units we might only do for a short time and not study all year, and how the shorter units fit together. We filling one of our subject blocks by 12 weeks of US Geography, followed by the 3 weeks on the Election followed by 8 weeks of Poetry to fill the year. I make sure to write all my plans with my favorite erasable Frixon pens so we can make adjustments later.
Having a Road Map makes Weekly Planning Easier
With a general road map in front of me I can plan our term. I look at the activities and subjects we assigned to the term and start to write those details out. I have one chart of our Family subjects which i cross off as we do them, and a second page I use to create the road map for their independent work and other activities that need space during the term. This includes big projects, holidays, field trips or other travel plans.
I use the Term Goals to fill in each page of my weekly spreadsheet on my computer. I make small weekly adjustments on Friday as we wrap up for the week in preparation for the following week. At the same time I also print all the needed worksheets for the term at once. This simplifies my weekly homeschool planning time and isn’t as wasteful as printing for the whole year and changing mid year.
Do you have a trick for homeschool planning?