Being the middle of July, parents everywhere are working on solidifying educational pans for the coming Fall. For me, it goes a little like this:
“I should send my kids to school.
…but the public school here is only rated at a 3/10.
So I’ll send them to private school!
…oh, wait, I’d have to raise (legal) rare animals or something and sell the pelts to afford that. And I don’t want to skin animals. Bad idea.
Public school is still an option.
…oh, look, the public school curriculum! I’ll look through it –(about a hundred hours pass)– Well, that’s not going to work…
Maybe I could start my own school?
(using a screwdriver and my teeth to replace a belt on the vacuum cleaner while I watch my three year old pretend that the couch is Mt. Everest–I feel proud of my multitasking until I realize the baby is about to suck on the electrical cord of my newly working vacuum cleaner.) Ok, adding children is a bad idea. I need clean floors and alive children.
I could trade work with a private school so my children can attend.
Ok, home schooling. That’s a great academic option.
Home schooling. Maybe. It would take more effort on my part (is it ok to admit how much work it is to home school properly? and that my perfectionist mind will accept nothing less from myself?).
…I don’t know, maybe I should send my kids to school.”
Do you see how that goes? It’s like one of those If You Give A Mouse a Muffin Books (bangs my head on the table full of math manipulatives). Since I’m still working on my options for the upcoming Fall, it means that I’m planning for every option so that whatever the end result is, it’s successful. So without further ado, here is how you can plan for a successful homeschool year!
- Don’t overburden yourself. I can’t stress this enough. Starting simple and adding in will be much easier than trying to figure out what you can and can’t weed out a few weeks into the school year! Fertilizing is easier than weeding. Remember that.
- Combine subjects. Especially for the younger grades, this is pretty easy. Not only will it make things simpler for you, but it will increase the depth to which your children are learning because it provides a variety of ways that the children are being exposed to the material and increasing the frequency of which they hear/experience it. My favorite subjects to combine are:
Choose a curriculum or educational philosophy that you can continue through the years. This will save you the step of sifting through a thousand different books every summer so that you can decide on what curriculum to use in the Fall. Programs that are designed for ongoing use are especially nice for saving you effort and time!
If you’re homeschooling multiple grade levels, combine your teaching where possible. Many curriculums plan for teaching multiple levels, and have different activities/books/supplements for each one. This way, you can teach the core for everyone at once, and then break each child up for the appropriate activities for that level.
Plan to cut the busy work. One of the beauties about home schooling is that it allows your child to go at his or her own pace. So if your child “gets” the math concept, don’t make them do rote problems of it for weeks. If you do this, then you’ll have more time to spend on the math concept that is harder for your child to “get”. You also avoid the frustration of boredom.
- Music History
- Geography (if possible)