Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Planning for the Home School



As the calendar turns to March, many homeschooling moms turn to the annual task of choosing curriculum. Some of you don't have to think much about this because you are using a standardized, boxed curriculum and you simply order the materials for the next grade. But for many moms, the early spring is full of thoughts about next fall. Last week, I was amused by the mother who posted this question on a website: "Am I the only one who is obsessed with curriculum right now?"

It took us three full years to understand the way we needed to organize our learning adventures and how we should shop. Every family must find what works for them. That's the beauty of homeschooling. We can use a custom-fit for the needs that are present. One of the keys to our process was for me to have enough time to assess and plan thoughtfully.

I found that setting aside some time in March worked wonders for the year ahead and for our current year. That's because the first thing I did was assess what we had accomplished over the last 6 months. I put the schoolwork into looseleaf binders which were divided into subject areas. I made notes. How much had we done? What had worked well? What had not worked at all? How much farther could we reasonably go into the material by June? I based my projections on the reality we had been since September.

I learned that I needed quiet and space for this task. So I made arrangements for the kids, either with their dad, a relative, a friend, or a sitter. I used Friday and Saturday afternoons for my work, and I rewarded myself with a "treat" on Saturday night and an afternoon nap on Sunday.

Rewards are important for me. I need an incentive to push myself to get work done. Appointments are essential. By arranging for the kids, I made an appointment to do the work. That kept me accountable.

Beginning this in March let me work on it before the distractions of spring sports and events began. It also gave me two full months before a curriculum fair in May. What I thought should take one month actually took two. And that was the first rule.

A job always takes at least twice as long as I think it will. Always.
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What about you? Have you started thinking about curriculum for next year? How do you like to do your planning?

5 comments:

  1. Thoroughly practical, wonderful advice. Thank you.

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  2. Around February and March each year is when I start thinking and planning for the following school year. I have already ordered and received our materials for next year. That leaves me plenty of time (hopefully) to get all the individual lesson plans typed out for our lesson plan binder.

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  3. Thanks for sending me to your link! I ended up selling an Algebra 1 book we didn't need on Amazon.com used to someone else who needs it. It felt good to help out someone looking for their own solutions!

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