Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Jump Start Your Homeschool Batteries: 5 Tips for Planning

There was that brief moment in my life. 

I was organized. I had to be. 

I was taking 15 hours of college credits and teaching school full-time. 

However, I will admit to making early morning Wal-Mart runs on occasion for clean spundies. 

Laundry took up precious time. 
It is not in my nature to have it “all together.” I have to work at it. I take one look at a well-organized daytimer (does anybody use those anymore?) and I immediately retreat to my happy place. 

Just the idea of scheduling every minute of every day makes me physically ill. 

When I became a Homeschooling Mama my life changed just a bit. How is that for the understatement of the year? I no longer had an institution or school telling me when I needed to cross my “t’s” and dot my “I’s”. I was now free to make curlycues and bubble letters. 

I adapted fairly quickly to that idea. I am one of those girls who needs bubble letters in her life
Let me be honest. It has been very hard for me to plan for this homeschooling gig. What if I’m doing it wrong? What if this plan sounds better? Should I do it this way? 

I am so not that person who has her ducks in a row. My ducks are free thinkers and floaters. They wouldn’t know what a row looks like unless it came along and smacked them in the kisser. 

And I just have One child! Granted he has some of his own free floating ducks. 

So now that I’ve got myself all worked up (all these ducks) I want to share with you 5 Things that go into my Homeschool Planning process.

1.     I have to make time to plan. There is nothing more frustrating than not being prepared. I have also learned that if I don’t put time into some of those important things in my life I am not going to get the results I want. Same goes with the running of my household, my weight loss efforts…So here is how it works (this making time thing). I put on an audio book or podcast. I fix myself a cup of tea. I make sure that the young one knows he is too manage his own life for a brief time. Of course, those of you with more than 1 are telling me that it can’t be done. Sisters! Who’s running the show? There is such a thing as a television set. There are books to read. Castles to build. Naps to take. 

Just in case you need some planning time inspiration. 
Here is my favorite kind of tea in the whole wide world. Sadly, I can't buy at any of my local haunts. A friend gave me a few bags not to long ago. I hoarded them like Josiah hoards Reeses Cups. My precious.

Here are just a few FREE resources for podcasts for homeschooling. These are my favorites...and from some of my favorite people on the planet.

A great one with Carol Barnier 
This one is with Mary Jo Tate who wrote Flourish: A Life in Balance. I just reviewed this book!
How to Organize Your Homeschool the easy Way (with Dr. Melanie Wilson from Psychowith6).
Scroll down this link and listen to Andrew Pudewa (How to teach boys and other children who would rather play in forts)
Diana Waring talks here about Homeschool Burnout. 

2.     Recently, I sat down and evaluated what I wanted Josiah to learn this year. I looked at resources I already had on hand. I thought about his current interests and about things he needs to improve on. When planning you have to have a goal in mind. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you look what at what’s out there in the homeschool world. I also made note of the extra activities he would be involved in. How do those fit in with our schooling goals?  My husband and I decided that this year we would focus more on discipleship. We must always be Evaluating our progress and Setting GoalsMake some time to make some goals for your kiddos and yourself!

3.     I have to have things Simple Bimple. I tend to get lost in the details and if there is too much involved I spend way more time than I need to. I am amazed at those mamas who plan a whole year (or years) at a time. We homeschool year round so I plan 4 weeks at a time. I get to reevaluate curriculum, methods…what’s working and what’s not. My planning form doesn’t have any bells and whistles. In fact, it’s just a spiral notebook. I know! I spent hours (and hours) designing a planner that fit my needs. But then I got too wrapped up in my cute little fonts and graphics. Somebody stop me! And then sometimes I didn’t have ink to print them off. I love my notebook. It has released me from my crazy! 

This is how I do it. I start off with Bible Study and Devotions. We move on to math and so on. There are subjects that we do every.single.day. Some subjects or activities are done weekly or biweekly. 

There isn’t a homeschool mafia group that will hunt you down and stuff you in the back of a Buick because you don’t schedule things the same way as everyone else. Though I could try and fit you in the back of my Buick if it would make you feel better. 

Some days we have more time. Those are the days I schedule in our Timeline notebook, State notebook, science experiments, etc.My notebook cost $2. Last year I had a couple of cute ones with owls and flowers. I can change them according to my whims and fancy.

4.     The List – So you have stuff you would like to do, but don’t know where to start. Make a List. Maybe you need to make a more concerted effort with some of your school work. Make a List. The List has saved my life. Here is what I do. I have a few lists that contain movies, documentaries, read alouds…all those things that I want to happen within the context of our school day. Maybe they are things that will supplement something we are studying. Maybe there is a televised concert I would like Josiah to see. I use my Lists to keep myself on track. I also keep my lists in my spiral Notebook. 

I also have a list of approved websites Josiah can go to.  There is always time during the day when he is focus on independent work. These sites can be used for review or a reward. When I sit down with my planner, I can go back through my “lists”. What can I use to reinforce a lesson? If we need a light day, what can I assign to redeem the time?I realize I can keep all of this information on my computer. That's fine, too. I am just an old-fashioned girl. Notebooks and gel pens make me happy.

5.     Josiah is the kind of kid who needs structure (much to his mama’s dismay). Over the last year or so I have been more conscience about making him accountable for his day. This means he has his own student planner. Last year, he just kept a notebook with his daily activities and assignments in it. This year we are trying a few new things (including reviewing a fun product). Think about how you can prepare your student for success. Some of our kiddos need a little more guidance. 

Who am I kidding! I need a little more guidance. And a nap.

Tomorrow I am going to talk about my favorite things in my Homeschool Toolbox. I have a few things that I love almost as much as chocolate.

I am joining in with other blogging friends from the Schoolhouse Review Crew for the 5 Days of Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. Please check out some of the terrific blogs of my friends below. And if you really want some more good reading you can click on the banner below. There is a Giveaway involved! A really good Giveaway! 

 Marcy @ Ben and Me
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

Be sure to go back and read my post from yesterday. I give you some things to consider when thinking about curriculum and methods. 

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop


  1. Seriously, I think we were separated at birth. My happy place is YOUR happy place with the same people! LOL! And a good cup of tea works wonders for me too!

    Did I mention I work in organized chaos? Wow. It's like reading my own thoughts on your page! (snort)

    I too get caught up in big pretty planners...but this year I'm actually USING one...actually I have 3. One for blogging. One for homeschooling. One for life. So the whole make time to plan? Yeah. LOL!

    Loved your post--I have added your blog to my daily feed because you know, we were separated at birth obviously. ;)

  2. We sound very similar in our style & (relaxed) structure! :) I too am a BIG list maker!! Seeing it on paper helps clear my head. A little. lol

  3. Fun post! I do love planning, but it's the implementing that sometimes gets difficult for me!


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