Planning a New Homeschool Year
Planning a new homeschool year doesn’t have to be hard or complicated!
After a decade of homeschooling, this is my simple 4-step process to get ready for the first day of school.
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Planning a New Homeschool Year (an overview):
MAKING A SCHOOL CALENDAR
- If your child will be heading back to the classroom at some point in the year or you have other children in the school system, it can be helpful to use the local school district’s calendar for the year.
- Check your state’s requirements for school hours and/or days.
- You can try a year-round option, especially if there will be a new baby arriving during the school year.
- We like to do six weeks in school, with a one-week break in between.
- Start mid-August and do school for six weeks. Take a break in October.
- Work for six more weeks, then take a week off for Thanksgiving.
- Three more weeks of school, two weeks off for the winter holidays, then three more weeks in January.
- One-week break in January, then six weeks of school until Spring Break in March.
- Six weeks of school, then a one-week break at the beginning of May.
- Finish the year off in the middle of June. Enjoy two months of summer vacation!
- Check state laws for required subjects before you purchase any curriculum or programs.
- We use a checklist (see video for details) to help our children plan out their week: 5 days of math, 4 days of science and history, 3 days of PE and music, etc.
- Build in extra cushion for long lessons, testing days, and re-teaching + extra practice.
- We have a small learning area set up in the living room — two desks from IKEA, plus a six-cubby shelf from Target, with a couple of bookshelves and a hand-me-down dining room table with two chairs (and an exercise ball for when someone needs to bounce). This allows us to work in a variety of configurations throughout the day!
- All supplies are kept in a metal picnic organizer — pencils, markers, glue sticks, scissors, etc. We also have a wall organizer between their desks, where they store timers, a calculator, a protractor, and more.
CELEBRATING THE FIRST DAY
- First day of school pictures are always fun!
- Have a special meal — breakfast or lunch — to celebrate.
- Take a walk before starting the day to talk about hopes and goals for the new year.
- Do a “not back to school” activity, like a matinee at the movie theater or a trip to the trampoline park.
- If you do schoolwork, don’t feel like you have to do a full day. Pick a few (fun) subjects and then announce the school day over at lunch! (Build up to a full school day over the next few days — but don’t burn out too soon.)
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What are your best tips for planning a new homeschool year?
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