When I was a new homeschooling mother, the idea of planning out our homeschool year seemed like an insane task. I had no idea what our days would or should look like. I wasn't homeschooled as a child, so this territory was brand new to me.
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Over the last few years, I developed some tips for planning my homeschool year:
1. Look at the required hours per year.
Many states have a specified number of hours that you need to school your children each year. For example, Ohio requires 900 hours. Now, they don't ask for a detailed sheet of where this time goes, but it's a great guideline. It allows you to determine how many weeks you should school each year. Remember, homeschool co-ops, field trips, and art classes all count towards those required hours per day.
2. Be liberal with off times.
The beauty of homeschooling is that you don't have to stick to the typical schedule assigned to public schools. Some families school for six weeks then take one week off, continuing this schedule throughout the year. We take three weeks off for Christmas. We also take a nice chunk of time off for Easter. Think about upcoming events, such as a new birth or throw in a vacation in the off season (much cheaper).
3. Homeschooling is more than book work.
If you don't think your child will school four or five hours a day, don't forget that learning is more than worksheets. It's reading together or solo; learning is an eight-hour trip to the zoo, or watching a documentary on Anne Frank. Learning options are endless. Chances are you will school way more than four hours a day!
Related: Homeschooling a High Schooler: The Basics You Need to Know
4. Don't assign dates to tasks.
I plan out our math, spelling, grammar, handwriting, reading, and history. One year, I tried to assign dates to tasks, such as finish 14A in math on February 5th. Instead, it stressed me out when I didn't match the dates. Instead, I make a grid of the order of tasks I want to accomplish. Some days, we might accomplish more than one grid. It allows me to see the final goal without stressing over meeting the dates.
5. Be flexible.
Remember, you will have days off that you don't expect. Kids get sick. You get sick. Sometimes, you need a mental health day to relax. Your schedule won't work out perfectly, but it will give you a solid base for your homeschool year.
This year will be the best yet!