Homeschooling is not something you just do on a whim. It takes thought and preparation. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with curriculum choices and schedules. Maybe you are struggling with trying to recreate public school at home. These things can feel like roadblocks and make for a rocky start to the school year.
Instead of these rocky starts, what if we took a few minutes to develop a vision for our school year? Even better, what if we included our children?
The first thing you need to do is find some quiet and really think through your homeschool year. The above Homeschool Vision for Parents worksheet is a great tool to help you begin. You can download it (and the other homeschool planning sheets) here for free.
Start by writing your purpose for homeschooling. This might seem silly to you, but many times our purpose (our why) changes from season to season. I will be the first to say, the reasons my husband and I began homeschooling are completely different from why we are choosing to continue. Your family evolves, your children's needs change, and your purpose may change along the way.
Next up: What do you want your homeschool days to look like? When you are thinking about your day, don't think about time slots and a rigid schedule. Think in terms of rhythms. For example, this is what mine will look like this year (on the days we do not have co-op and when life goes according to plan):
Wake up before kids - walk, coffee, quiet time, prep breakfast, set out bins
Kids Up - breakfast and show, while I workout and/or get ready for the day
Oldest works independently, middle and youngest work with me
Gather for Morning Basket time
Middle works independently, youngest plays, oldest works with me
Snack and physical break or errands (library, dog walking, basketball, play in basement)
School together (loop - science, history, art, geography - whatever the day's focus)
Quiet time/ workout time/ chores
Activities, park dates, wrap up independent schooling, practice music, computer time, etc.
It could be even more simple depending on the ages of your children:
Language arts and quiet reading
Snack and break
Naptime/ quiet time and parent break time
You can start your day with a walk or not do school until mid-morning, so you can get things done around the house. Do what works for your family but do take the time to reflect on what works best to run your home smoothly and efficiently. Also reflect on when your children function best when focusing on new material (you can also ask them to use the Homeschool Kid Vision planner below).
Also notice I added time for a parent before or after school (maybe you need a break mid-morning) but do put that in your rhythm. When do you start feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated? What type of quiet or break do you need? Make it part of your family's rhythm and you will find you are less frustrated and worn out.
Once you've worked through the vision sheet for yourself, it is time to let your children do the same.
I have two versions for children. One lists subjects and one leaves the list blank, as not all families focus on the same topics. Both are available in coral and teal. You can download them in the packet, for free, here.
When you sit down with your children, make sure you go over the vision sheet first and answer any questions they have. If you have elementary aged children, you may need to walk through each question with them. Try your best to not lead them to answer a particular way. If you need to give examples, give several, so they don't latch onto the only one you give or the one they think YOU want them to choose.
Once everyone in your family has planned their homeschool visions. You and your spouse can go over them. Then you can really begin laying out your year. Curriculum, rhythms, schedules, and everything else can be worked out based on your family's vision. I also always recommend sitting down together and having a family meeting to go over the parent vision. Talk about the school year and what you will include based on your child's vision sheet. This will get everyone on the same page and excited for the year! Keep your vision somewhere you can reflect. It may change a bit, but it should be used as a tool to ground your family as life happens.
Happy planning homeschool moms, dads, and grandparents!