Homeschool Planning: 5 Reasons To Plan Your School Year in Advance
Homeschool planning season is here! I’m getting new catalogs in my mailbox every day. I’m seeing tons of great items popping up in the Used Curriculum groups I’m in. Conventions are planned or happening as we speak. Everyone is gearing up for the next big push. Are you ready?
I always get a little excited about planning season. I still have four weeks left of this school year, but I want to drop everything and start planning next year instead. I love planning so much that I wrote an entire book about it. Next year will be my 7th year of homeschooling, and I’m looking forward to it. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite tips and tricks for planning a school year that works in reality.
Before we start in on the nuts and bolts of building the perfect homeschool year, I want to give you five reasons to plan a full year in advance.
Reason 1: SALES
This may not be the only reason to plan in advance, but it’s one of the most important if you’re on a limited income like I am. By the end of the year, every homeschooler you know is trying to get rid of all the stuff they don’t need anymore, and they want you to take it. For a low price. In every place I’ve lived, at least one homeschool group has organized a Used Curriculum Sale in early June. Retiring teachers will have garage sales and sell off all their supplies. And many of the homeschool catalogs have big sales in June and July.
If you know what you need in advance, you can take advantage of these sales. Not only that, but you can make sure you only buy what you actually need. (Where’s the fun in that, right?) After so many years of buying stuff I’d never use, I realize I needed to go to those sales with a clear plan. I still buy way more than I need, but I usually end up with the things I need at the same time.
Reason 2: More Time for Holidays and Special Days
One of the readers of Blueprint Homeschooling said this about the calendar planning section: “A note about holidays: We’re Jewish. So it’s not just like we have a holiday here and a holiday there. We. Have. Holidays. And when we have the major ones, there are several in succession (hello, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah) and usually revolving around a multi-day celebration, some of which we’re allowed to work during and some we’re not – it can get crazy. So having this already marked out actually gave me a huge sense of relief.”
Depending on how you and your family celebrates holidays, having this planned out will ensure you can make those celebrations as big or as relaxing as you want to. Think through all the things you do every year: baseball seasons and ballet recitals, birthdays, holidays, Thanksgiving, and family trips. Wouldn’t you rather plan those in as part of your school than be stressed and/or suprised when they pop up?
Reason 3: Planning is like cooking in a crock pot. You do everything all at once, and it’s ready when you need it.
I have friends who sit down at their kitchen table every Sunday night for hours and prepare lesson plans. Instead of spending time during my weekends, I sit down for about two weeks during the summer and prepare all of it. During the school year, I spend just a few minutes each weekend (or on Friday afternoons) to review and revise. If you like doing a lot of planning in the middle of the year, awesome. I don’t. I especially hate doing anything that looks like work in the middle of February. Instead, all of my work is done for me. I just have to dish it up for the kids.
Reason 4: Less Doubt. Less Guilt.
Now, I know homeschool moms just love adding doubt and guilt to their daily doses of momhood. We’re already ruining our children and raising up unsocialized weirdos. But what if I told you that planning a year of school, one that reflects your values and the methods that work for you, will actually take away those nagging doubts?
What if you planned for the hard days as well as the good days, so when things got tough, you could have a back-up plan you still feel good about? Sounds awesome, right? It has certainly helped me during cross-country moves and sad events like a death in the family. It has also been helpful when new opportunities come up. I can easily ask, “Does that fit with what we’re trying to do this year? Will this be an awesome addition to our education, or is this just something that will take extra energy?” It’s easy to say yes or no when you know what you’re trying to do.
Reason 5: Nothing Great Was Ever Built Without a Plan.
It’s the second week of May. If you’re homeschooling now, how do you feel your year is going? Hopefully it doesn’t look something like this:
Without planning a year, it’s easy for things to fall apart. You miss that one subject you really wanted to get to. You do too much of the work you really hate. You fall behind. You get swept away without really knowing what you’re trying to do.
Let’s not do that this year okay? This year, I’ll show you how to plan a year that works for you in the reality of your life. If you want to get ahead, feel free to pick up a copy of Blueprint Homeschooling. If you’d rather get the summary, subscribe and you’ll get my posts on discovering your values, finding your methods, setting your goals, finding curriculum, and planning out a calendar.