Welcome back to the Homeschooling Essentials series! I hope you’re enjoying reading about everyone’s Essentials and maybe even learning some tricks and tips for including some of them into your homeschool.
Today’s Essential from me is a plan. I have to know in advance what I’m going to be teaching or it doesn’t get done. It’s as simple as that. I’ve tried it both ways, with a plan and without one, and hands down, it’s better when I plan things out. I was blessed enough to win a copy of The Well Planned Day Homeschool Planner earlier this school year, and it’s made a huge difference in our school. Things are no longer crazy “what do we have to do today?” And the kids are more focused too ;).
You don’t need any specific planner, although I do highly recommend the Well Planned Day. Just find one that works for you and your specific needs. The things you’ll need to include are the different subjects you need/want to teach, and a space for the lesson required for each child. That’s it. You can even make your own. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to work.
Even though my kids are in different grades, we do pretty much everything except silent reading and math together, so my planner looks kind of blank, but it’s really not. I should be a veteran teacher by now, since this is our third year of homeschooling “seriously,” but most of the time I still feel like a rookie. Having a good planner and taking the time each week (or ideally, planning out more than one week in advance, although that rarely happens) to fill it in really helps me a lot.
In case you’re curious, here are the subjects we do regularly:
Bible (typically, I read 2-4 chapters aloud to the kids; last week, we read the Gospel of Mark, this week, we’re reading some of the epistles)
Math (currently the kiddos are learning their multiplication tables using flash cards; once they have those mastered, which I suspect will be soon, we’ll move on to age-specific stuff for them)
Reading (Munchkin participates in a book club at the public library so he reads that book; Seahawk decided he didn’t love book club, so he’s reading Johnny Tremain right now – he loves history, so historical fiction was the right choice for him)
French (we’ve been using the lessons from SchoolhouseTeacher.com, but I recently got a membership to Mango Languages – look for the review near the end of February!)
Science (another review coming soon – Science4us.com; also reading The Burgess Animal Book for Children)
English (we do a grammar lesson and/or creative writing/pen pal letters)
History (reading An Island Story: A History of England for Girls and Boys)
And that pretty much fills our day. I try to have us done with lessons by the time Small Fry goes down for nap (at 2:00) so that the kids can go play with their friends while the baby sleeps. There’s another homeschool family just around the corner from us, so our kids and their kids play together a lot. That’s been a real blessing. While the baby sleeps and the kids are out playing, that’s “my” time. I use those couple of hours to tidy the house, take care of the breakfast and lunch dishes in preparation for dinner, and then do any sewing or quiet reading of my own.
So there’s my thoughts for the day.
Don’t forget to check out the other posts, linked below.
Lisa @ A Rup Life
Jordyn @ Almost Supermom
Jenn @ Teaching Two Stinkers
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy
Brandi @ Brandi Raae
Jodi @ Insane in the Mombrain
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles
I’ve really learned to love and depend on my planner over the years. I do lesson planning in a notebook and using my Homeschool Tracker program, just enough structure to keep ME on track. 🙂
Teaching Two Stinkers
I’m a planner too! Big time! 🙂 It is probably one of my biggest essentials!
I love that you guys have another homeschooling family nearby. We have one as well. It sure is nice!
I totally agree about needing a plan. I can’t homeschool without one. Like you, we’ve tried it both ways and for me, I just like how things run much smoother when we know what were doing each day..
I would be lost without some sort of plan. I hate creating one and don’t follow it precisely, but if I never created one, I’d have no idea what to do!