Plan and Organize Your Homeschool Year

posted in: Homeschooling, Large Family | 9

How to plan and organize your homeschool yearLike it or not, summer is drawing to a close and it is back-to-school time. I have two goals for this year’s homeschooling: more FUN and more WORK. Do those sound like conflicting ideas? Not really. I have been working to streamline everything so each kid knows what to do and when, so we have more time for the fun stuff. Let me demonstrate my methods.

1. First of all I came up with a written plan of attack.

I wrote down goals for each homeschooling child in very simple terms. For instance, I want Tucker to (start) and finish third grade math. I want him to be able to write two paragraphs by the end of the year. These are simple, attainable goals that I can check throughout the year.

2. Next I inventoried what books and supplies we have and what we need.

Thankfully, we didn’t need much. A friend gave us a few used computers. They are old, but functional and so I installed Teaching Textbooks on them for Kalina, Jubilee, Hezekiah and Tucker. We have had these math programs for a few years, so the cost to me was $0.00! Teaching Textbooks is fun for them and less time grading for me!

Plan and Organize Your Homeschool

3. Amazing printables to keep everything organized and everyone on task.

4. Print a MASTER calendar. I used a free printable from Flanders Family to organize my year at a glance. The last few years I have repeatedly watched my carefully planned homeschool days fall apart due to appointments, days off for Mordecai and Avi and holidays. Totally preventable if only I were a bit more organized. This year, I printed off the calendar and sat down with Mordecai and Avi’s school calendar and wrote in every half day and day off. Next, I added in ALL appointments already scheduled. Now, at a glance I can see which days will be more busy (no time for extras) and which days we’ll be home and have time for more intensive activities.

Plan your homeschool year.5. Plan six weeks in advance.

Since life is unpredictable, I don’t like to make detailed plans of longer than this. Once again this year we will be using Story of the World Volume 1 and Apologia Land Animals. I have a very basic plan to get through both of these books this school year, and a detailed plan for the first six weeks. I plan to take a couple of hours every six weeks to plan the next six. I also scoured the internet for printables that related to our topics, such as this fun model of Narmer.

Plan your homeschool year

6. Give each kid  a clipboard with daily assignments.

For Kalina, Jubilee, Hezekiah and Tucker I printed off these Learning Checklists from Chart Jungle. It literally takes about two minutes to fill these out. I plan to write in the required page numbers and have the kid cross them off as they complete them. I printed out this Weekly Assignment sheet from I Am Homeschooling for Enoch.

Plan and Organize Your Homeschool7. Put it all together in a MASTER binder!

My school planning binder contains: my master calendar, my Story of the World and Apologia plans, printables I have found online that correspond with lessons, a Multiplication Fact Test Tracker from Curriculum Corner. The Teen Missions pre-teen memory verses (working on Bible memory is one of our goals this school year). I can take this binder with me as I escape for my planning sessions. As a bonus, there are no more ugly stacks of paper on my counter.

Plan and organize your homeschool8. Organize you space.

Kitchen table, couch, school desk, dedicated school room, no matter what area of your house you use (and we’ve used them all) make sure it is organized and uncluttered! I know, this space isn’t exactly eye-candy. I have tons of great ideas on in my head (and on my Pinterest boards) but for now, the space is organized and functional. Notice everything has a spot and is labeled. Also notice the giant TV…I don’t love the placement of that, but we moved it from its former space (on a desk) over here. The next is now a usable learning space. Chuck has  promised to fix the cord issue for me, but wanted to make sure the space worked first. For those long time readers, we still don’t have cable or any TV,  we use the screen for watching movies only.

9. Weekly Meal Plans

I anticipate spending 1-2 hours (at Starbucks) each week planning the upcoming week, using the resources I shared here. While I’m at it, you can bet I will be doing weekly meal planning as well.

How about you? Are you ready for the new school year? What are your best hints, tips or websites?

{This post includes affiliate links…and really cool printable links. If you choose to use the printables, leave a comment and say hello to those bloggers who made these available!}

 

 

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9 Responses

  1. I’ve got the planning down and materials/supplies mostly taken care of, but the organizing I’m behind on.

  2. As my kids have gotten older, I’ve gotten worse and worse about lesson planning. You’ve inspired me to have a plan for the year, and actually do some lesson planning. The past few years our lives have frequently ended up upside down because of M’s health issues… those aren’t resolved yet, but I can (and should!) still lesson plan. Thanks for the inspiration!

    (And the idea of an hour or two ALONE every 6 weeks or so sounds like heaven to me 🙂

  3. Thank you, Renee! I found your blog many years ago while desperately searching for plans on homeschooling a large family. We’re starting tomorrow, and I am completely unprepared. Reading this post has given me some direction again. We, too, have Teaching Textbooks for many of the kiddos, so they’ll be able to start with that at least. I appreciate all of these great tips! Happy schooling!! 🙂

  4. I worked all afternoon cleaning up the school room and reorganizing… almost done, but we start Wednesday {my boys work at the Food Pantry on Tuesday so we won’t do school on that day}. I have scheduling ready…. but I am sure we will tweak as we go!

    Thanks for the links. Going to check them out!

  5. All of this looks vaguely familiar! 🙂 It is good to see how other people are putting things together, thanks for sharing, Renee.
    I am reminded to give my younger two their own checklists so that they can take more ownership and feel that satisfaction of seeing it completed.
    Another great resource for printables of all things home and school is Donnayoung.org.
    I wonder, Renee, what do you do for your older kids, say from middle school and up, for record keeping? Do you build a transcript or portfolio of some kind?

  6. Wow…I cannot imagine homeschooling (or even teaching…hence I changed my major in college!) but it looks like you’ve got it all together!

    Have a great school year and thanks for linking up with the #SHINEbloghop!

  7. This is fabulous Renee! You are so organized and I love seeing this insight as to how you do it. Now I only have 2 children… one which is preschool aged, so my planning is a lot easier.

    I worked to do most of September’s plans in August and I am currently working on October’s plans.

    We are doing The Story of the World for the first time this year! I love it! Such a great curriculum!

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

  8. […] year I am determined to be on top of things. Figuring out a system to plan and organize my homeschool year has been life-changing. I still use this system but I have work harder to find methods that […]

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