by Angie McFarren –
Who wants to think about school during the summer? The most common answer is no one. Homeschooling families are no different from their counterparts. After all, the whole point of a summer break is fun and relaxation.
Before we get into the purpose of this article, let us review this past school year. Did you feel overwhelmed and frustrated with your lack of organization? Was it a common occurrence for your children to ask what their daily school activities were and you had no answer for them? Did you declare things were going to be different the next school year? With a little planning, an organized homeschool can be a reality. The key to reducing your frustrations is to plan now. Do not wait until August to begin.
First, let us look at what may happen if you procrastinate. You start your summer with the intention of preparing the school activities for the entire upcoming school year. However, your summer quickly becomes busy. Since June is full of sporting events, vacation Bible school, and church camp, you decide you would benefit from some free time away from your school responsibilities.
July arrives and is spent completing 4-H projects in preparation for the upcoming fair. There are also vacations, a holiday celebration, visits to grandparents, and many other activities. When you realize the summer is half over, you decide on lowering your goal and only plan the first half of the school year. Yet there are trips to the lake, camping on the weekends, and many other activities to enjoy. Therefore, your organizational goals are placed on hold.
Then August arrives and the lessons have yet to be created. The books you purchased in the spring are still in the box and collecting dust. You begin thinking that maybe planning the first month of school will be okay instead of a whole year worth of study. However, the family wants to go on one more vacation before the summer ends. After your return, you are busy with unpacking and doing the laundry. Later you discover you should give the house a thorough cleaning, since you may not get to it again for a few months.
Finally, the first day of school arrives and you surrender to the fact that you waited too long to begin your homeschool scheduling. Your feelings of frustration return and each day you fall farther behind in your home and school responsibilities.
Ladies, this does not have to happen to you. Do not wait until August to begin creating the school assignments and activities.
The purpose of this article is to show you advance planning brings freedom in your home and school schedule. Here are a few simple tips to get you started:
1. Start with one subject and plan it over the course of two weeks.
- Determine what you want your children to learn from the subject and make a general outline.
- Decide how you will teach the subject. Will you create a unit study or use a textbook?
- Determine which days of the week you will teach the subject.
- Total the number of lessons and divide them according to the number of days to be taught. This will give you the approximate length for each lesson.
- Make a list of weekly or daily lessons. These do not have to be done in detail since the lessons tend to take on “a life of their own”.
- Decide if you will incorporate additional activities into the study (field trip, etc.).
- List any items you need for the course and gather them in one area so they are easily accessible.
2. Utilize a homeschool planning software.
- A homeschool software program makes organization a lot easier and is an asset for record keeping.
- One such software is user friendly and allows you to enter each activity, keep track of attendance, prepare a report card, create a transcript, and offers you other record keeping tools as well.
- The cost of a program is minimal and well worth the small investment.
3. Enroll in an online home educator course.
- The “classes” give you the chronological steps on how to homeschool. A course such as this is extremely beneficial to the mom with three years or less homeschooling experience.
As you go about the rest of your summer, you can feel confident knowing you have a well thought out plan for your children. Your frustrations will be less if do not wait until August to begin your school planning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angie McFarren is the president and founder of H.O.P.E. Home School Consulting. She is the author of Educate the Home Educator course. Angie began homeschooling her two children in 2002. She assists new and existing homeschooling parents nationwide and specializes in educating new home educators. http://www.hopehomeschoolconsulting.com
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