Hi everyone! I’m back today with another Homeschooling 101 post for you! Last time around we discussed Gathering Curriculum, so today we’re going to talk about what to do with it!
Now that you have your entire curriculum chosen and purchased, it’s time to plan out your year. There are a couple schools of thought in this area. Some people choose to plan their lessons as they go, assuming that it will be easier to make changes as needed since they haven’t planned too far ahead.
I personally like to plan out our entire year, even though there’s a possibility something will change. It’s been my experience that having my year completely planned out makes my year go more smoothly and reduces my amount of stress during the year as well. Changing just one thing is quite easily done.
Some people prefer to schedule only a few weeks or months in advance since things might change. Homeschooling schedules can be very flexible based on your own needs, so again, do what works best for the needs of your family.
This method also frees up your nights and weekends since all of the planning is already complete. All you have to do each Friday afternoon is make sure to have things ready for the upcoming week and then you have the rest of the weekend free to enjoy time with your family.
Now comes the fun part! It’s time to transfer all of that shiny new curriculum into workable lesson plans to make your life easier. I know the thought of this can be overwhelming and frankly a daunting task. I won’t claim to have the perfect solution for every family, however I will share how I organize our lessons into an ideal plan for our year.
I know it might sound redundant to plan for your planning, but you will need something to keep you on track or you’ll end up distracted by all that you need to accomplish. Taking the time to prepare ahead using the suggestions in this Chapter, will greatly increase the effectiveness of your planning time.
I typically take a weekend to get all of my lesson planning done. Sometimes I don’t get it all done that weekend and have to spend additional time to finish the lesson planning. The amount of time this step will take is going to depend on how old your students are and how many subjects you are planning for the year.
Prior to my “official” planning weekend, I make sure to take some time to go through each of my teacher’s manuals for the upcoming year. Don’t spend a ton of time on this step, just get a general feeling for how the manual is setup, and familiarize yourself with the curriculum. This will save time when you start to enter your lessons into your planner.
I also make a game plan of what I want to accomplish so I have a clue where to start. I like to start with one student, and plan one subject at a time. Then I move onto another, and finally another until I have gone through all of the subjects for that student. After that I will move onto the next student. For you it might make more sense to do one subject at a time for all of your students. Whatever makes the most sense to you, use that as your guide when planning.
So let’s get started!
I. Determine school/holiday/vacation days.
The first step in planning out your year is to decide what your year will look like. Taking into consideration your state requirements as well as any holidays, family vacations, etc., you’ll want to create a basic outline for your year. You’ll also want to decide if you prefer to follow a more traditional school schedule or homeschool year round taking breaks at times that work better for the needs of your family.
II. Determine a basic schedule.
Core subjects such as Math, Reading, and English are typically done each day, but this can be modified based on the needs of your family. Other subjects such as science, history, art, and music can be alternated weekly to fit your schedule.
During this step I take each of my subjects and look at the teacher’s manual. Determine the number of lessons in the curriculum, then divide the total number of lessons by the number of weeks you will be in school. This will help determine how many days per week you’ll need to do that subject.
III. List extracurricular activities.
Once my main schedule is set up, I then take the time to put in any extracurricular activities that we have agreed to do for the year. If you know that you will be doing something that takes place during the day, make sure to include that in your weekly schedule overview so you know not to schedule any subjects during that time.
IV. Add the lessons into a planner.
The next step in the planning process is to transfer all of your activities and lessons into a planning software, spreadsheet, or day planner. All of these items are acceptable means of planning, and really the format comes down to personal preference. Here are a few of my favorites…
Read more in Creating Lesson Plans Part 2 here!
- My Lesson Planner – Floral
- My Lesson Planner – Colorful (This comes FREE with my Homeschooling 101 book.)
Want more information? Check out Homeschooling 101: A guide to getting started!
If you’ve missed my previous posts make sure to check them out!
I love your planning tools! I just began teaching PS, Kinder and 2nd grade. It is a struggle, b/c i spend so much time with my 2nd grader. My kinder does not want to sit and do school, rather play. It has been quite difficult.
Do your little ones sit while you are teaching the others all day? Is everyone in the schoolroom until school ends? What does your youngest one do while the bigger ones go through their subjects?
Thank you!!! Love your blog and homepage.
My little one works with us for the first couple of hours, then she usually goes off and plays when her school is completed. Sometimes she stays in the school room and reads books, does puzzles, colors, etc. It kind of depends on her mood ;o)
Can you confirm where you got the templates that show up in both of your photos on this post? Do they really come from Home School Tracker? Or are they your templates?
I am looking for the template for the photos ‘bookstoplan’ and ‘daily planner’.
Thanks SO much!!
Hi I love your templates and blogs. I just started homeschooling my kinder and we are having fun he enjoys being home. I dot have one set curriculum I take bits from different ones and I don’t plan my lesson I much rather keep a journal of what w do day by day. But I am wondering if I’m doing the write thing . For example for the number 1 he writes the number and writes the word and we do adding 1 to the number 1-10. do you suggest I do that for a week and then go on to the number two or do a number day by day the review at the end of the week I don’t want t bore him by going over the same number for a le week I’m open to suggestions. This is literally my first week of schooling my son
I think for Kindergarten you’ll want to make sure to cover reading and numbers well. I also like to cover fine-motorskills, logical thiking, etc. My K4 Curriculum is great for kids age 4-5 who are ready for Kindergarten. The curriculum introduces beginning reading, math and handwriting skills that will give your student a huge advantage as they proceed through their elementary years.
Upon completion of this program, students will have a basic understanding of simple addition and subtraction, place value, basic 1 and 2 vowel words, and beginning reading skills, logical thinking and much more! With this curriculum you also receive 34 weeks worth of daily lesson plans to help guide you through a full year kindergarten skilled activities.
If you want to make your own curriculum as you go that is totally fine, just make sure you’re covering what he needs for kindergarten so he’s prepared for first grade next year. 🙂
I bought this book from you a few months ago and now I have time to look at it and I am not able to see many of the words. There are just black smudges across the pages, The titles are there and some of the pictures but nothing else. Is there away you can make it available to me again or will I need to buy it again.
Are you on a MAC by chance? MACs open PDFs using Safari by default and so they open in preview mode which causes issues when printing and viewing the file. The solution is to download Adobe Reader, and set it as your default program to open PDF files. Then you should be able to view and print the files.
Here is a tutorial on setting adobe reader as your PDF default program:
First, thank you for sharing your homeschool with all of us! Love your site. So, I have all my lesson plans entered onto homeschool tracker! Loving this, especially after getting it all figured out. However, I was trying to print out the calendar that you have pictured above (for each student). Where do you go to have that? They have the student checklist, which is nice, but doesn’t have color coding option. Please help! Thank you so much!
This is absolutely helpful, thank you! Been struggling with planning, and it’s never occurred to me to plan out the entire year. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Erica, first let me say thank you for all your diligence and time. I started following your blog and using your K4-5 curriculum last year. I am so thankful i found it when beginning my HSing journey. My daughter is turning 5 and is very bright therefore she completed your k4 and is ready for the next step. I have reviewed kindergarten curriculums and find it to be the wrong choice for her this year. We plan on following the first grade curriculum you choose for your youngest but i don’t know if I’m premature inn advancing. What would you recommend? Tank you again for being a guiding light in this journey.
Every student is different, so just because she’s a little young for first grade doesn’t mean she isn’t ready to move ahead. You could definitely try it and see how she does. One thing to be aware of is that as they progress in grade levels, the workload increases. So sometimes even through your child might be academically ready to advance, they’re not always mature enough to sit still and focus for the time required of a higher grade level. So I would just see how it goes. If she starts getting really frustrated and doesn’t like school anymore, you may want to go back to more kindergarten level work and try again with first grade a little later. If she’s doing well then great. Just keep the big picture in mind 🙂
I just ordered the organizer for my new homeschool journey with our teenager. Jesus be near! 😁 cannot wait to get it as all of the tips I have read on your page have made me feel a bit less overwhelmed.