As I thought about the upcoming school year, I realized it’s my older daughter’s last year of homeschooling. I want it to be a good one with more time for teaching. I want to focus on the older children without neglecting the younger ones. And that’s always a challenge!
Tapestry of Grace sponsored this post. In the interest of disclosure, I purchased all 4 year plans of Tapestry of Grace and Planning Aids, and I’m planning my 7th year of using Tapestry of Grace to teach my own children. All opinions are my own honest opinions. For more information please read my disclosure policy.
Find More Time to Teach in Your Homeschool
Over the years I’ve noticed that homeschooling has three major components: planning, teaching, and organizing.
Grading is included with teaching as I grade with the kids near me so we can run through the material and correct mistakes together.
Teaching time is non-negotiable. While kids can learn to be relatively self-teaching, they still do better with a teacher’s oversight, corrections, and lectures.
You also have to keep an eye on kids to ensure they’re learning the lessons you want them to learn! My kids have picked up some funny ideas from time to time.
You need time to sit down and teach your kids. To read books together and introduce your kids to great minds. To hold those long discussions over cookies and tea.
No, teaching is not an area to shirk.
Organizing may not be as vital, but you need to know where your books are. You need a spot to toss completed work and to put things back where they go.
You can streamline your organization. I know families who simply toss all completed work into a large box. At the end of the year the box is labeled with the school year and stored. It’s quick and simple!
I keep color coded 3-ring binders to hold the kids’ completed work, myself. But it still takes a few minutes each week to 3-hole punch and store the assignments.
And you need a few minutes to put school books away at the end of the day. If you’re not organized you’ll never find the books and papers when you need them!
What if you could reduce the time you spend planning?
I don’t know about you, but I spend hours each week grabbing books, figuring out how many pages we need to read each day, and choosing activities for the week.
We’re only given so much time in a day, a week, and school year, and I don’t want to spend that time planning.
Instead I can enjoy long discussions with my teenagers this year. Make paper airplanes to fly around the house and study Amelia Earhart. Read great books aloud to my children.
The hours I save in planning can be used to teach my kids.
How to Save Hours of Planning Time
Prepare During the Summer
Instead of trying to find time every weekend to print out papers and locate workbooks, print out all the papers you need during the summer. Use a simple filing system to organize and store the papers until you need them.
Order the books you’ll need for the first quarter or two so they’re sitting on the shelf when you start homeschooling.
See if your library will allow you to pause books on hold when you go on vacation.
Use as Few Curricula as Possible
See if you can combine children and use as few curricula as possible. For instance Tapestry of Grace allows me to use one curriculum with all my kids, but also gives me the flexibility to adjust the curriculum to meet each child’s needs.
Writing assignments are given by level. My 1st grader may be creating word cards while my 12th grader is writing an essay. Same curriculum, age appropriate assignment.
Reading assignments are given by age. My little 1st and 2nd graders are studying the same time period but using picture books. The high school teens are reading high school and adult level books.
Open and Go Curriculum
I don’t combine the kids in skill subjects such as math, grammar, and spelling. Latin also seems to work best when I separate the kids.
For these subjects, I look for open and go curriculum. Programs I can open the book, read the instructions, and teach. This way I can simply write down Saxon Math Lesson 1 in my planner. It keeps life simple!
Can you find open and go curriculum for subjects the kids need to study individually?
Written Homeschool Procedures
Write out your homeschool prodecures for different subjects. This is handy with dialectic and rhetoric students using Tapestry of Grace. They’re so independent that I sometimes forget to collect the kids accountability and thinking questions on Friday. Or I forget to discuss geography and check the map work.
Having a detailed list of what you need to cover when you sit down with your kids saves you time. It simplifies your homeschool.
A detailed list prevents chaos and backtracking.
Can you find prepared plans for your curriculum? For instance Tapestry of Grace offers Planning Aids for lower and upper grammar students. This year I snatched up lower grammar Planning Aids for my 1st and 2nd graders and will use the recommended books.
Just why is an experienced homeschooler going with Planning Aids? After all, it’s advertised for novice homeschoolers!
Planning Aids is giving me the list of books to read, supplies needed, and even which activities are recommended! There’s even a checklist to remind me to do phonics, spelling, and grammar with my kids!
It’s going to save me hours of planning this year, hours I can use to teach my children.
Learn more about Tapestry of Grace and the benefits it can offer your family.