Disclaimer: This post was Sponsored by Homeschool Buyers Co-op. As always, all my opinions are my own. Please read my full disclosure policy.
Last September marked my 7th year as a homeschooling parent. This is the year that my oldest son is in Grade 7, and my youngest daughter is doing Pre-K. I also have a grade 4, and a grade 2 child in the middle. People have asked me how I plan my homeschool year with so many different aged children and so I am going to share my top 5 tips with you.
5. Discover what type of learners you have.
Not all kids learn the same way. Some of them are visual learners, some are more auditory, or kinaesthetic. Some are a variation of a few different types. You may have a few kids who learn the same way, and you might be a family where each of the children learns in a completely different way. Once you know what kind of learners you have you can set your homeschool up so that they will flourish.
4. Sit Down WITH your kids and make a list of what they want to learn.
One of the big perks when homeschooling is that your kids are free to learn about anything that they want. We know that when children are intrinsically motivated they are more likely to have the information stick. Use this to your advantage and talk with your kids about learning goals and homeschool expectations from them and from you. Homeschooling is a team something, get them on board.
3. One you have your goals or projects decided upon find the resources that you need.
Not all children jive with the same resources or curriculum. Some kids do really well with one, while others find it convoluted or difficult. Since you already know what kind of learners you have make sure that you are not choosing curriculum or resources that are counter to that. Look and see where the outcomes or projects that your children want or need to do intersect. There are lots of units that can be studied by multiple ages, at different levels.
2. Don’t set the bar too high.
Look at your own work habits and those of your kids. When choosing a schedule (or lack thereof) make sure that it works with your family. Some people really like block scheduling, some like loop scheduling, and others like no schedule at all. Look at the curriculum that you have and make a loose plan for two months. After the two months are up make sure to edit your plan. Maybe you thought that your kids would do more math worksheets, and now you find that none of you really like or do well with them, this would be the time to add in a math game time maybe twice a week,
1. Be flexible in your planning.
There is no right way to plan. I have done monthly, weekly, and daily schedules. I have worked with blocked scheduling and loop scheduling. Sometimes I have changed it half way through the year just because we all needed a change up. The best advice I have is not to be stuck to your plan, or a certain philosophy of homeschool. Life is fluid, and so is homeschool.
One new tool that I have tried this year is a mixture of paper, bullet journals, and an online planner.
Using the Homeschool Planet online planner has made it really easy to keep myself organized as well as my kids. Every Sunday night I plan two weeks in advance for all the lessons and books that I want my kids to get done. I make sure to add it all into Homeschool Planet, and then transcribe it into their notebooks so that they know what they have to do as well.
The thing that I like most about Homeschool Planet is that it is completely customizable for your particular family. You can add as many classes, or as many kids as you would like. You can colour code (which is how I do everything) and text yourself reminders.
I especially love how it emails me my schedule everyday. Although I have already written out what we are going to do in the notebooks, having that quick reminder that I look at over my morning coffee makes sure that we are all on the same page. (Both literally and figuratively.)
Homeschool Planet has a list of features a mile long – and you can customize and use it any way that works best for YOUR family!
- A Calendar View that lets you see anybody’s or everybody’s calendars at once
- A Planner View with a simple list of everything you need to do and when
- A Resource View that shows you all the books, DVDs, websites and more that you are using for your lessons
- Separate logins for kids to view their assignments and check them off when completed.
- Daily Digest emails to everyone in your family with their own schedule, assignments, and chores for the day
- Email and text message reminders to help everyone stay on schedule (Some limits apply.)
- Lesson plans with assignments, web links, notes, and more
- Easy attendance tracking, grading and transcript creation
- Shopping lists (one each for Target, Safeway, etc.) that you can text to your spouse or have sent to your smartphone when on the go
- Widgets you can use to do research, plan meals, send text messages, and more
- Mobile Version — Ability to view and edit (with some limitations) your calendar on SmartPhones and tablets
- Calendar sharing — View the contents of your spouse’s Google Calendar inside Homeschool Planet, and vice versa! This also works with Apple iCal and other online calendars.
- Lesson Copying — Copy any lesson for use at a later time by another student.
- With each field trip, you get:
One last thing that I have to mention is these really cool Virtual Field Trips. I am a super introvert in the winter months, so when I got to check these out I was instantly hooked.
Each Virtual Field Trip Includes;
Teacher’s Guide for each Field Trip
ClickSchooling Review of the Field Trip
Activity Sheets for each Field Trip with a word puzzle, essay questions and a drawing activity to use for different ages
DIY Activity corresponding to the Field Trip topic
Additional web resources related to the Field Trip topic in case you’d like to go more in-depth on a topic
As always, please leave a comment, or send me a message if you need help planning your homeschool. I am always happy to help!