The following is a post from contributing writer Mary Prather of Homegrown Learners.
During much of our “off” time this summer I have been thinking about and planning for the upcoming school year.
The down side to immersing myself in homeschool reading (books, blogs, magazines, etc.) is the tendency to try and over schedule for next year. On more than a couple occasions, I have had to take a deep breath and remind myself: “Keep it simple.” and “Less is more.”
How, then, to keep from being overwhelmed with the planning and the myriad of curricular choices?
- Start with the basics. (In our homeschool these are math, writing, and history.) It seems that all other subjects will eventually fall into place. Once my children are in a groove with the basics we can add as needed. The last thing I want is for all of us to be overwhelmed within the first month of being back to school.
- Make a list of classics to be read-aloud in the first semester. So much learning can occur through reading and discussion of great literature. No matter what the circumstances in our homeschool, if we have a substantial read-aloud in progress I always feel that we are accomplishing so much. This year I am consulting Classics For Young Children at A Thomas Jefferson Education for necessary classics.
- Determine what the three most important “investments” (outside of academics) are for each of your children. My oldest child is quite musical. For her, music activities will take priority. My son, on the other hand, loves baseball. This is his priority. Add on top of these commitments our weekly co-op and church activities, and we have our three investments.
- Consult with your children! What do my children want to learn about this year? How do they feel about their extracurricular activities? I’ve already conferenced with my oldest child and helped her start using The Well Planned Day for Students to help her keep track of commitments and stay organized.
- Be cautious about reading too many of those great “Back to School” blog posts! Here I am writing for a blog and then telling you not to read too many of them. I have a few blogs that I know adhere to my philosophy of homeschooling. I need to keep my blog reading simple so as not to confuse myself (or compare myself) to other homeschooling moms. Be confident in what works for your children and stick with it. Don’t let the latest fads or curriculum reviews sway you too easily!
- Finally, write down your plan for each child. I love all of Donna Young’s printables and planning advice. I always put my plans in pencil or on the computer so they can be easily changed. I don’t want to feel that we are locked into ANYTHING in our homeschool plans. We homeschool so we can be flexible and adjust to each child’s needs!
This post was originally published in July 2012 on The Homeschool Classroom.
Mary is a former public school music educator and piano teacher with a masters degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision. She is now a homeschooling mom of two. She seeks to learn and share about all things education! Visit her at Homegrown Learners.
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