The following is a post from contributing writer Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
Getting ready for next school year? But, I just finished this one!
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Really, though, if we’re honest, most of us homeschool moms start daydreaming about next year’s curriculum even while we’re bemoaning the last few weeks of our current school year. It’s the bibliophile in most of us, I think.
So, go ahead and enjoy your summer break…but while you’re doing that, I’m going to offer a few tips for getting ready for next year.
One of the most productive things that I ever do to prepare for a new school year is reflect on the one I’ve just finished. I like to look back and consider what worked well and what didn’t work at all…or could work better with some tweaks.
Sometimes I remember things that we really enjoyed that kind of fell by the wayside. I try to figure out when or why we let them slide and how we could add them back to our homeschool line-up in a way that they won’t get pushed aside again.
Sometimes there are things that worked, but could have worked better. Making curriculum work for you isn’t always about finding the perfect curriculum (because it doesn’t exist), but figuring out how to make good curriculum perfect for your family.
I also consider if there are things that we aren’t doing that I’d like us to be doing. If there are, I try to figure out the best way to weave those into our homeschool the following year.
I’m one of those planning, organizational freak types. I don’t enjoy a strict schedule, but I thrive on a consistent routine. Last year was our family’s first successful year round homeschooling year. I don’t know why we didn’t do this before. It’s been wonderful!
I don’t think it matters how you homeschool, most (not all) people do better with a plan. I like to sit down with a calendar during our summer break and sketch out our school year. I figure out when we need to start in order to finish when we like to finish (before my older daughter’s birthday at the end of May).
I figure up when we’ll take breaks and schedule off our birthdays. (Birthdays are always school holidays at our house.) We may not stick to this schedule perfectly, but I work better with deadlines, so it helps me to know that if we just keep busy, we’ll get a break at this or that time. It’s also nice to know that if we need an unexpected break, we’ve got some time built in to catch up and still finish when we want to.
I like to talk to my kids when planning curriculum. I want to know what they liked and what they didn’t. They don’t get to not do math just because they may not like math, but we might be able to find a curriculum that better suits them. We’ve had curriculum that really suited my teaching style, but did not mesh with my kids’ learning styles. For the most part, it’s their tailored education, not mine, so I try to find way to accomplish what needs to be accomplished in the ways that work best for them.
I also like to find out if there are any particular areas of interest for them that I may have missed. Are there any people they’d like to learn more about? Any particular topics they’d like to study? Any extracurricular activities or outside-the-home classes they’d like to pursue or sports they’d like to try?
Both of my younger children will be in middle school this year. There are lots of opportunities for middle and high school kids in our area, so I’ve encouraged them to let me know if anything interests them. Since we’ll be working toward greater independence on schoolwork this upcoming year, it will be a great time for them to pick up individual interests…and I’d love to have a little time during our summer break to start finding out what might be involved in making that happen in the fall.
When and how do you plan for the next school year?
Kris blogs at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She is the classically eclectic, slightly Charlotte Mason homeschooling mom to three amazing kids, the Christ-following, sweet tea addicted wife to one unbelievably supportive husband, and the formerly obese, couch-potato-turned-healthy runner of a bunch of 5K races and two half-marathons.
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