Last year was our first year of home schooling. I had big plans and great ideas, but I lacked the experience and knowledge to really make it all work. We managed to get all the important basics in, and we did do some extra learning as well, but it certainly wasn't anything like I imagined.
On the other hand, I learned so much about how we interact and how our days work best, and all these non-school type information bits. This all came in very handy when I started planning for this year.
I've learned that for my part, I need to over-plan. Everything needs to be written down in detail (for myself) to keep us all on track. I use lists and calendars and charts and schedules. I have our entire year planned out. Each week I review what we did, and I adjust our schedule (entire year. if necessary).
For example, my daughter's Botany class has us making a butterfly garden in the wrong season. Instead, I scheduled a week in the spring for the garden. Planning the garden and building it will be science that week.
Even if I never use even half of what I have planned out and ready, it's better for me to over do it. I'm still working on the time factor of it all so it's better to just be prepared well in advance. It also helps me with books we will be borrowing from the library. I can get them on time instead of putting something off a few days because we didnt have the book we needed.
When planning this year, I started with the basics, Reading, Science and Mathematics Then I made a list of other subjects that are important to us - Bible, History, Music, Art, Writing, Poetry and Nature Study (plus a few more). Finally, I added a list of (other) topics that are interesting or important to my children.
I planned our year over 30 weeks (plus 6 weeks of unplanned time) to allow for sick days and catch-up days. Sometimes life happens or you need to be able to spend some extra time on a topic, and I wanted to be able to adjust for that.
I have some extra goodies planned for the end of the year if we have time, but if we don't, that will be okay too.
The basics were part of our day from the first day of school. Other subjects were added in as we found our best routine. This was much better than my all or nothing approach from last year.
By getting a solid start to our year with the main subjects, we were able to build a routine that works for us. We became familiar with the resources we are using. Once we were comfortable with those subjects, adding in just one more thing wasn't so bad. It was also much easier to fit our schedule into our life.
We still have some adjustments to make but this year is going much better than last year. It's amazing what a year of experience has done for everyone.
Have you been homeschooling long? Do you have any tips or tricks to share?
I would love to hear them. Share them in the comments below.