Planning My Homeschool Year

Yes! I love this time of year! I get to plan out my homeschool. Anyone else get as giddy as I do when pulling out the fresh new planner and bringing out the new school books and supplies?

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Now, I do have to say that my oldest is going into Kindergarten this year and you should know that I am an over planner. Which means I don’t have years of experience at this (but I have had homeschooling on the brain for over three years). And it means that when I plan, I tend to do more thinking than doing. But, because I know that about myself I have also learned where to simplify the planning process and I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be tweaked and tweaked until it’s perfect. Because we all know that plans, no matter how perfect they are, always change.

I began with knowing what my state needs from me and what subjects they require me to teach. Our subjects must include Math, Reading, Writing, Spelling, English Grammar, Geography, U.S. History, and Citizenship. My curriculum choices are Kindergarten Earlybird Math, Logic of English Foundations, Five in a Row, Kids of Integrity, along with various other resources.

Then I took a look at the calendar. I decided to spread out my 36 weeks by doing six weeks of school and one week off. I like to be able to have the flexibility to cover things we missed and catch up during the off week. Or use the week as a planning time for the next term. Or use the time to work on mom projects around the house. This year I wanted to also take time off from Thanksgiving to New Year’s because I know it gets hectic that time of year. It would also be great to make time to truly focus on Christmas and enjoy family time. I also wanted to take a week off at Easter.

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My schedule worked out like this: School starts August 10th, we school for six weeks. A week off at the end of September – apple season! Bonus: my Dad is visiting us then too! Then eight weeks of school brings us to Thanksgiving. It will be six weeks of break til the New Year. Then six weeks of school until the middle of February. Perhaps that week will allow us to recuperate from all the birthdays – the whole family, with me being the exception, has birthdays during the early part of the year. Then four weeks of school brings us to Easter break. A six week session of school and a week off at the beginning of May. We finish out with six more weeks, finishing the school year at the end of June.

I found a great planner that I purchased and printed last year from Teachers Pay Teachers by Tanya Rae Designs. It is editable and I get free updates. It’s designed for school teachers but totally works for homeschool moms too. I like it because it is super customizable and super cute (it’s a colorful chalkboard theme). I don’t mind the extra work of figuring out which pages to use and how to set it up. That kind of stuff is fun for me. In fact, another homeschool mom and I made a night of making our planners. It was great!

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My planner has to have a few key elements to make it work well for me. In my planner I want a “year at a glance” grid page showing which weeks we have school and which weeks are break weeks. I want a page where I can list the subjects and the curriculum I’m using for each. I have a scope of sequence page, it looks like a grid with the weeks down the side and the subjects across the top. I use this page to show the outline of my year. I also have to have the monthly curriculum planner. This layout allows for more detail and for me to write notes if I need special materials. The most important pages are my weekly planner pages. I can plan out which lessons are done on which days. These are my go to everyday pages.

After knowing what subjects will be taught, the curricula that will be used, when we will have school, and getting a planner, then it’s time to put it all together. The idea of planning my homeschool year is to have a guide or an outline from which to work; I don’t want each and every day planned before my school year begins. I just want that overview from which to work. Go week by week, but without starting from scratch.

Do you plan out your whole homeschool year or do you plan homeschool from day to day?

The Great Laundry Conundrum

washer dryerAre you a do all the laundry in one day kind of person or one load per day kind of person? Over the years I’ve struggled with the laundry. Should I just get it all over with in one day? Should I just do a little bit at a time and perpetually be doing laundry?

I have settled into the decision that I am a do one load of laundry a day kind of person. When I was working, my schedule was never the same from week to week. Add in going to school and making last minute plans with friends and laundry day would never be a day I could count on actually having my laundry cleaned. After having my daughter, forget it, babies somehow create more laundry in two days than my husband and I do in a week.

Doing laundry every day also allows everyone to have clean clothes. It is expected that at some point the washer and dryer will be used in the course of a day and with that laundry requests can be made. Now, I’m not saying that I am going to drop everything to wash somebody’s favorite shirt or that I am at everyone’s beck and call. I’m just saying that because the laundry does get done everyday then the underwear drawer is never empty.

This was not always the case. Yes, there have been times that the underwear drawer has been empty, but mostly because it just hadn’t made it’s way out of the dryer yet. Did I mention laundry has been a struggle for me? Not so much anymore. I have finally found the rhythm to make it work.

I realized this in a conversation with a friend tonight. Somehow we ended up on this subject and she was talking about how she always forgets to put the laundry from the washer to the dryer. I used to always forget. We chuckled about how frustrating it was to come back to have to rewash the load and even then it still didn’t make it to the dryer. Then she asked me “what do you do?”

I told her that usually I put the laundry in the wash in the morning and sometime during the day it would find it’s way to the dryer. That it wouldn’t be too long where it would need a rewash. Upon further reflection, I realized that my rhythm is pretty simple. Basically, after every meal you move the laundry to the next step.

After breakfast I put a load in the washer. After lunch I move it to the dryer. After dinner I move it to a basket. Usually there is a point in time where it gets folded. Sometimes not. Seriously, if there was a “worst chore” list, folding laundry would be my number one. But eventually it gets done: maybe when we are all sitting down watching TV, or maybe I’ll fold while talking to the hubby about the day when the kids are in bed. Once it’s folded, I’m pretty good about getting it to the proper rooms and into the proper drawers.

In this season of life, the laundry trouble is minimal. For now, doing a load of laundry a day is what works for me. Now, when is it that my children can fold and put away their own laundry….?

How is this chore/task done in your house?

P.S. I have learned to hang my laundry on the line during the warmer months, and I take delight in it!

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