How to Start Homeschool Planning When You Don’t Know How
Not sure how to start homeschool planning when you don’t know how?
Once you’ve set out to homeschool your kids, things can get overwhelming fast. Panic mode sets in because you’ve taken on this monumental task to take charge of your child’s education.
You question your decision, you question yourself and your abilities. Now, you have to figure out what to teach them too.
This is too much.
What curriculum should you use? How do you know which one is the best? Where am I suppose to get all the money for this stuff?
I can’t do this.
Well, this is what I went through at least and what I go through each year when I sit down to work on our plans for the year.
We all started there, our kids are very forgiving, they’ll let you know what is working for them and what changes you need to make.
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How to start homeschool planning
Let’s take baby steps people.
Take a Look at Your State Laws
Different states have different requirements for homeschooling kids. In some states, you will need to clear curriculum with the local school district. In others, you will have much more free reign. These laws will play a direct part in how you plan your homeschool curriculum.
Learn About Different Homeschool Styles
Because homeschooling can be such a broad term, once you know your state laws, you will need to learn about the different homeschooling styles. Your curriculum choices will depend on your style.
Maybe you will want your school work to be led more by your children than by you. Or, perhaps you would rather have a curriculum that is entirely planned out for you. Be sure to keep your state laws in mind as you’re choosing a style.
Decide on a Teaching Style
Find out what you can from others who have homeschooled already, no need to reinvent the wheel. There are multiple ways you can homeschool, some using a classical education or Charlotte Mason style.
We’re a more eclectic style taking parts of different curriculum to create our own style. You will need to find something that works for you as their teacher.
Homeschool Planning Guide for the Unorganized Mom: An easy-to-follow plan for successful homeschooling when you don’t even know where to startThe Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and LifeThe Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your KidsThe Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at HomeA Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of LearningThe Call of the Wild and Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child’s Education
Create a homeschool budget
You can’t decide what you’ll need to get if you haven’t decided on a budget. Homeschooling shouldn’t bankrupt you, it’s why so many can do it who are at different levels of income. Figure out what extra-curricular activities you’ll add to your homeschool and add that to your homeschool budget.
Research different curriculum options
After you know which homeschooling style you would like to use, it’s time to look at the different curriculum options available for that style. Some curriculum makers offer entire boxed sets ready to go.
Others, such as Teaching Textbooks, offer only a select course or two.
No matter which curriculum you decide to go with, you will still need to plan it out yourself. Even homeschool curriculums that are fully planned out for you often require supplements and heavy parent involvement.
Find curriculum that will fit you
This means finding a curriculum that will work for you as a teacher and for your child’s style of learning. If you have a visual learner, like I do, a giant book of worksheets is not the way to go with him.
A more hands-on curriculum that uses manipulatives will be a win for him.
Also, take into consideration your teaching style. If you like to go off on your own rabbit trails, you won’t want a scripted curriculum that has everything planned out for you because you won’t use it fully and may feel like it is a waste.
Read more about learning styles here.
Decide Which Courses They Will Study
The great thing about homeschooling is that in most cases, you do not need to study specific courses beyond the core classes; reading/writing, math, science and history. This means that when you plan your curriculum, you will likely have a lot of freedom in any other classes your kids take!
After you have planned your regular curriculum, have fun deciding electives or special classes they may want to take. And remember, it’s homeschool, have fun with it!
Need more help getting your homeschool plans together? Grab the Homeschool Planning Guide for the Unorganized Mom or The Unorganized Mom Printable Homeschool Planner to go from chaos to calm.
Set realistic expectations
You don’t need to plan out every single thing for the entire year in one sitting. If this is your first year homeschooling, I wouldn’t plan out more than a month or two really. You will find that there are some things that will work and some things that you will need to adjust.
If you spend time planning out the entire year, then realize you need to make a change, it makes a waste of all the work you did. Instead, plan out the month first, then re-evaluate, then plan the next.
Create a one week plan
If the thought of homeschool planning is giving you hives. Seriously, just create a one week plan. Create a one week plan for each child, and then put it to use. See how it goes, what worked well, what changes do you need to make.
Sometimes siblings don’t work well together and you need to work with them individually at different times. Some kids prefer to get their most disliked subject out of the way first, or for slow movers, you may want to start with reading first to get them going.
There will always be adjustments, the plans are a guide and they are not locked it, you can change them so don’t fret if they’re not perfect.
Grab the free homeschool planner if you’d like some printables to get you started.
More Homeschool Planning Tips
Find the rest of the posts in this 5-day series here – Homeschool Planning Tips for the Unorganized Mom, along with more giveaways
31 Days to Better Homeschool Planning
I would love to win this! We are using mammoth math for first grade. I got the workbooks because it was easier to purchase two workbooks her year vs the entire download but I’ve been wanting to buy the download/cd. This would be such a blessing to our family to win!
Such good timing – we have been looking at Math Mammoth and this would be a wonderful gift to our family.