It’s March! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the flowers are blooming. It’s time to start planning next year’s homeschool!
10 Steps to Planning Next Year’s Homeschool
1. Start at the Beginning
I always make myself a table to begin planning. At the top I list my kids and their upcoming grades. I write the subjects along the left-hand side of the table. Math and English are always easy to remember. Fine art, music, grammar, and penmanship are harder.
2. Fill in Easy Information
Some of the plans are super easy. My family uses Saxon Math almost exclusively. On the table I list the next Saxon Math book the children will be using. I also know the kids will be using Tapestry of Grace at one of the four levels. That information is jotted down as well. These are no-brainer decisions.
3. Don’t Worry about Details Yet
While subjects such as math usually don’t need many additional books or supplies, others do. History and literature usually require quite a few other books. I don’t fill in the specific books we’ll need until I have an overview of next year’s homeschool.
4. Morning Time
Will your family be doing morning time as part of your homeschool day? Remember to plan your curriculum and general subjects for this precious time. It’s too easily overlooked while we’re trying to ensure the individual children have everything they need.
5. Make Decisions
Research and finalize any subjects you’re still deciding on. Do you know what you’ll be doing for science, history, and art? What about language arts?
The advantage of starting your planning in March is that you have the time to research and make decisions before purchasing curriculum in May or June.
6. Fill Out the Details
Once you’ve finalized your decisions about subjects, it’s time to fill out the details. Not all curricula come with every book in the box. Do you need to purchase extra science, history, and literature books? What about calculators or math DVD lectures?
Make a list of all the books you will need. It’s useful to note how long the books will be used. Sometimes we only need the books for a week or two, but other times they’re needed for the entire year.
7. Check the Library
What books does the library carry that you will need? Any books I need for more than 4-5 weeks I like to purchase. However we use quite a few books that are only needed for a week or two.
Check to see what books are available at your library and if there are reasonable substitutions. Often I can find a good different title that covers the same historical information as the book assigned.
8. Calculate the Cost
Calculate the cost of everything you need for next year. Is it in budget? While it would be lovely to pick up every book and curriculum we want, the reality is most of us have a budget.
Don’t purchase anything until you have ensured your budget and curriculum needs mesh. Remember to check out Homeschool Classifieds and other used homeschool forums.
If you can’t get the budget and cost to align, go back and rework your plans. Can you substitute books from the library or do you need to rework your plans for a subject or the entire year?
9. Purchase the Books
Once you’ve aligned the budget, plans, and costs, it’s time for the fun to begin. Start purchasing! Keep track of what you’ve purchased and when it’s due to arrive. Also keep next year’s books in a safe spot. Nothing is worse than trying to find a book you thought arrived but has since disappeared.
10. Budget for Changes around Christmas
Despite all of our research and planning, sometimes the curriculum just doesn’t work out. My husband and I budget for purchasing homeschool curriculum in December. Some years everything works out just fine. Other years we reach December and I realize something just isn’t working. We need to make a change.
Make certain you have a budget for jumping ship a couple months into the new school year. If you need it, you’ll be thankful it’s there. If not, use the money for extra art and science supplies. After all, can we ever have enough paper and paint?
Using these 10 steps to planning next year, you should be well on your way to a marvelous homeschool the next school year. Just remember to pick up art and science supplies as well as books.
If you’d like more guidance to planning your school year, check out Pam’s Plan Your Year Homeschool Planning Kit. She walks you step by step towards planning for the homeschool you always wanted.