Planning for a homeschool year can feel so overwhelming (even to a "veteran" of ten years, like me)...but it doesn't have to! With the right planning tools you can break the task down into very manageable parts that will equal a well-planned out whole year. Check out my post here that outlines how I planned my 8th grader's year. Ds3, my 7yo, is in 2nd grade this year. Here is the plan for him. :)
First I fill out a curriculum planning sheet. Donna Young is an excellent site for free planning sheets for homeschoolers. I list all the subjects I want to cover with ds for the year. With the lower grades it's really important to emphasize the basics: reading, math, language arts (including writing and spelling.) You can add on "extras" like science, history, and art, although they are not necessary...however they are fun and do help keep the young ones interested. :)
Now that you know what subjects you want to cover you can start researching curriculum. This probably takes up the most time and leaves homeschooling moms with the most heartburn lol. There are sooooo many choices for curriculum and it can be very hard to choose. Just remember, whatever you do choose you DO NOT HAVE TO STICK WITH IT if it isn't working for you and your child. Sell it and find something else...don't spend an entire school year suffering through. And what worked for one child may not work for all your children...I learned this with my kiddos. Abeka's phonics program worked great for getting my older boys to read. It simply did not work for ds3. I switched to something else and now he's doing much better. Here's what I'm using for ds3 this year.
- Math: Abeka
- Reading: Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons for instruction,
- FIAR and various classic books for reading aloud.
- Language Arts: Various worksheets from a complete curriculum workbook
- Science: I've chosen one theme for each of the ten months of school (based on Abeka's science book) and we will do lapbooks or unit studies on each subject.
- History/Geography: See above
- Art: Abeka Art 2 and following along with ds2's art
- Nature Study: The Outdoor Hour Challenge
- Spelling: Natural Speller
Now that you have all your curriculum materials you can start the process of preparing actual lesson plans. For some subjects it's pretty easy. For math my kids do one lesson a day and tests as scheduled. I prepare a year's worth of lessons with a Donna Young resource and transfer a week's worth of lessons at a time into my lesson planner.
For other subjects there can be a little more legwork involved. If it's a subject I am preparing lessons for myself I complete a scope and sequence for it.
Here's the s&s for ds's science with which subject we will cover each month. Now that I have determined what will be covered and when, I can begin researching for books, worksheets, unit studies, etc that we will use for each month. I did this for his reading as well.
(oops, that's actually the reading...thought it was the science.)
Here's my lesson planner where I put what we will cover for the week. I highlight a lesson when it has been completed and record any grades earned if there was a test.
I also input ds2's lessons into Homeschool Tracker so I can print up a weekly lesson plan for him to reference on his own. I put it in a folder and he must turn it in to me every morning with completed any assignments. This is helping him become more independent and responsible and will help him transition if he chooses to attend public high school next year. I put any of ds3's lessons that have tests or will be graded into Homeschool Tracker as well, to be able to produce a report card of sorts to include in his portfolio.
Other than my lesson planner, I keep all worksheets and such I have filled out in a binder with different sections for each child.
And there you have it. I wish that was the end of all things planning for our homeschool, but alas, that can never be. Sigh. I set aside Sunday afternoons for inputting lessons into Homeschool Tracker, and other general preparations for the lessons for the upcoming week. Without that small planning session, I'm a goner and the kids will be wandering the streets in search of worksheets and pencils...well, not really, but that weekly time I set aside does help keep me ahead of the game.
If you have any questions please leave a comment! I am more than happy to help. :)