Posted on Jul 16 2012 in General by admin
By Vicki Bentley, www.everydayhomemaking.com
1. Set goals for each child (intellectual, physical, spiritual, social – see Luke 2:52).
2. Determine what will be covered this year.
3. Order appropriate materials to accomplish goals. Consider “living” books and life skills.
4. Decide on a “school” schedule. Some suggestions: Many new homeschoolers know only to have “school at home” and don’t realize that it’s okay to have a different routine. For example, some families may use the regular public school schedule, while others may educate year-around, and others may work eight weeks on, one week off, for five cycles (like we did!). They may begin at 6 a.m. and finish by 10 a.m., or they may eat a late breakfast because dad works night shift, and they may work on lessons from 10 till 3. You should decide what works for your family.
5. Peruse materials and determine what you will cover and what you will not. Your curriculum is a tool, not a master.
6. Divide materials by the number of weeks or the number of days for a rough plan.
7. Build in some “down time.” Plan to succeed by recognizing that there will be tough days, sick days, good weather days, catch-up laundry days, etc. Consider adding an “educational games day” every few weeks, which can be used for educational play if they are “on track,” or for catching up if you feel you need some catch-up.
When we participated in a co-op, I gave us a very light academic load on Tuesdays. I also built math (our toughest subject) as a four-day schedule with math games on Friday; if they were caught up, the children played a math game on Friday, if they were not on track, they used that day to catch up corrections, etc.
8. Lay out a framework (1 math lesson per day M-Th with math game Friday; 1 LLATL lesson per week, 1 A Beka literature unit per month, one Konos unit per month, etc.).
9. Write out a plan to accomplish your goals. Use pencil! Consider doing your actual daily planning in shorter time periods, such as eight weeks at a time. That way, every eight weeks you can review progress and plan the next eight weeks accordingly.
10. Records to keep: A lesson planning book can include a rough journaling of the basic assignments covered each day (week-at-a-glance format), and assignments can be checked off when finished. Grades (if desired) can be added in red pencil in the appropriate block (if the spelling test is Friday, put the score in red in the Friday language arts block in the planner). This gives you a record of your lesson plans for future reference, or to submit to the state (if you live in one of the states requiring submission of plans–Virginia does not require plan submissions).
Other helpful items to keep (see “Beginning the Homeschool Journey” in theVirginia Homeschool Manual):
- Your school calendar, with field trips, outings, sports events, etc. marked (as well as any attendance records, if required).
- Your typical daily schedule. You might even include your lesson plan book or journal.
- Lists of the materials you used this year. I like to include how much I spent and where I purchased my materials, for future reference.
- Report cards/grades, if issued, and any standardized test scores or evaluation reports.
- List of extracurricular activities and field trips.
- Photos of your child studying, playing sports, learning on field trips, socializing with others, etc. Also, photos of projects your child has completed.
- Reading lists of books completed.
- Projects and achievements.
- Samples of your child’s best work. You might collect this weekly, then cull monthly.
- Checklist of life skills acquired.
- Audio or video tapes of your child reading, playing an instrument, reciting from memory, etc.
- Standardized test scores/evaluation of progress.
11. Measure yourself against the goals God has given you for your family (not against your neighbor’s or the state’s). (For a helpful “Lessons Learned” worksheet, see Home Education 101.)
Excerpted/adapted from Home Education 101: A Mentor’s Manual.
Vicki Bentley is the mother of eight daughters, foster mom of more than fifty, and grandma to seventeen wonderful grandbabies (so far). Vicki has homeschooled 17 children since the 80′s, alongside her husband Jim, and led a local support group of more than 250 families for 14 years. She is the author of My Homeschool Planner, Everyday Cooking, The Everyday Family Chore System, Home Education 101: A Mentoring Program for New Homeschoolers, High School 101: Blueprint for Success, and other homeschool and homemaking helps, and HSLDA’s Toddlers to Tweens consultant and Group Services director. Vicki has a heart for parents, with practical wisdom and encouraging words. You can read more from Vicki at www.everydayhomemaking.com or www.hslda.org.