- Look at the Full Year Calendar.
One of the large benefits of homeschooling is to be able to visit museums and attractions when they are not busy. I find it incredibly helpful to pull out not only the calendar with the holidays on it but also to look at a school calendar so that you can see when the teacher conferences are and PD days. That way we can plan not to go out to one of the more popular attractions when many other children are there.
- Choose Certain Days to be Home Days.
With so many different classes, activities and programs now offered to homeschoolers, your family could be out of the house every day of the week. Homeschooling is about balance and working with all members of the family. Some extroverted kids like to be out many times a week, and others not so much. I find in our homeschool that the maximum number of days that we can be out is 4. Three of those days are for educational related programs or activities, and the last one is an errand day. It makes it easier for both me and my kids to know that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are out of the house days and most of Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are our at home days to catch up on lessons and other cool experiments and crafts.
- Spend a whole day cleaning out all of the old curriculum and seeing what you actually need.
I get a little carried away at the beginning of the year with all these ideas about what new curriculum I just need to have. The thing is, you don’t actually need it. Go through what you already have and see if you used it, if you liked it, or if you will use it again. Sell it if you are not going to, and use that money to buy new stuff.
Tip – Photocopy your curriculum worksheets if you have multiple kids. This will save you tons in the future.
- Separate your curriculum into subjects, and if possible grades.
In our homeschool I have different cubbies for each of the subjects. The older elementary levels are all bunched together, and the Preschool and Kindergarten are at my fingertips for when I need to distract said preschool and kindergarteners. It’s really easy to find a science experiment or a specific note on grammar when they are in the proper cubby.
- Stock up on school supplies.
One of my favourite things about homeschooling is that we can wait for all of the public school kids to go back to school before we buy our school supplies. There are some amazing sales to be had if you wait until closer to October. Make sure that you grab white board markers, stickers, labels, and those little mini notebooks. We use a lot of those in our homeschool.
- Print out a daily schedule and put it on your fridge. I have both a weekly and a daily schedule on my fridge so that my kids know what is planned for the day. They can look at it and know that Wednesdays are English Language Arts and that we will be going to the library and also working on book reports etc. It just gives us a general idea of what the day is supposed to look like. (not that it always does)
- Set up a Study Station or Discovery Table.
One of my favourite things in our homeschool is the Discovery Table. It gives us an overarching view of the theme for that week (or month). This year because my older son is in Grade 5 it will also have a few assignments that he can choose to do when he gets an urge.
- Use a Homeschool Journal to facilitate independent study.
We have just started to use the Homeschool Journal. I like to look in it each night, one for my son and one for me, to see where we are, and where we are going. It helps me to feel prepared for the next day, if only slightly. It also gives him the ability to do some independent work while I am putting my littlest down for a nap. It’s the little things that make a homeschool run smoothly.
- Use a reporting software like Evernote.
Depending on the type of homeschooling board that you belong to, you may have to do some reporting. I have tried many different things over the years and honestly, its trail and error. You may find something that you like better. Some parents use written reports, some blog, some scrapbook, and some don’t report at all. Last year I started to use Evernote, and it made my life so much easier. I made sure that when we were out, or when the kids were learning a new concept I took a picture. I then uploaded that picture to the notebook in Evernote that was theirs and done. At the end of the year I emailed the whole notebook to their facilitators and it was relatively painless. Make sure you check out my Vlog on how to use Evernote.
- Have some ready-made meals and snacks on hand.
Learning is hard work. I always have protein rich no-bake cookies or balls for the boys to munch on. Dehydrated fruit, hummus, crackers, and edamame are also regulars in the homeschool room. On days when we leave the house for our learning I try to have frozen meals already prepared and thawing in the fridge or I will make a meal in the crockpot. Try to make life a little easier on you.
- Be Realistic.
We homeschoolers can get a little carried away, we can’t help it. There are so many cool things that our kids can do and we want them to do them all. Just know that what you think your homeschool will look like at the beginning of the year, it might not look that way at the end. Break your year into manageable chunks with one or two goals for each semester.
- Be Prepared to Change Throughout the Year.
The great thing about homeschooling is that you have the flexibility to change what your kids are learning. Curriculum not working? Get a different one. Interested in Bugs instead of Dinosaurs? Great! All of a sudden your child has a passion for coding? Or Rainbows? Go with it! Just got a job offer to go to Africa for a year? GO!! Worldschooling is so awesome! Homeschooling is so family friendly. Parents can really learn about their kids and learning styles, likes, and dislikes and plan accordingly. Planning and Organizing is important, but being fluid is also really important. This learning journey is for you as well as the kids! Have a great year! If you have any organizing tips or would like to share what you do in your homeschool, please leave a comment below.