How to Homeschool
Looking to homeschool next year, but not sure where to start? Using your summer to research curriculum, plan out schedules, and create pacing guides is a great first step to homeschool success!
For more help on how to thoroughly prep for your first year of homeschooling, check out 5 Ways to Prep Your Homeschool Year Successfully to get all the best tips!
Take Time Off
If this isn’t your first time at the rodeo and homeschooling has been a norm in your home for sometime, this step is essential! Taking some time off from homeschooling will allow you to have a moment of rest before gearing up for what feels like another never ending race!
As a homeschool mom, my first goal every summer is to take 2-4 weeks off from all school work! We tend to finish up old curriculum mid May, followed up with starting our new curriculum mid June.
Some kids finish old work before others, sometimes we all finish early, sometimes someone finishes late. Life isn’t perfect, so I try to always allow myself a little flexibility with that 2-4 weeks off time frame!
If this is your first year however, feel free to take a little less time off than we do! Extra time hitting the books with your kids over the summer months can be extremely beneficial when starting your very first homeschool year!
Plan Your Start & End Dates
During your time off period, take a day or 2 to plan out the tentative start & end dates for your upcoming school year. This doesn’t have to take long and I highly suggest starting this process after you’ve taken at least a full week to practice some self care and recoup from the current school year!
Life’s short. Don’t spend it stressing out and pushing self care to the back burner!
Looking for simple ways to practice a little self care during your time off, but never sure how to fit it in? Check out these helpful articles!
*QUICK TIP: To lesson the stress, pick multiple start and end dates as possibilities for your homeschool! Remember to be flexible because nothing has to be set in stone! You’ve totally got this!
Create Your Schedule
Once the start and end dates have been picked, it’s time to figure out your new homeschool schedule!
First, look over the time in between your planned start and end date. Do you already have a solid 40 weeks built in like most traditional schools do? Or do you have something totally different lined up?
Next, take those school weeks and plan your attentive days off. Want to take an entire month off around the holidays? Write it down! Love the idea of no school on Mondays or birthdays? Jot that down as well!
Finally, look over your children’s curriculum and figure out just how many lessons they have per subject.
For example, if Child A has 100 math lessons and you are already planning a traditional 180 school days per year, they will not need to complete a math lesson every single school day. HUGE WIN!
However, if Child B had 150 math lessons to complete and you are only planning a 120 day school year, you will have to find a solution that allows those extra 30 lessons to be completed. Stress free, if possible!
Finalize Your Schedule
Once you look over all subjects, It’s time to finalize your plan and create a functioning homeschool schedule!
First, start marking down finalized no school days. These are the ones you just have to have built in. In our home, we always take off birthdays, holidays, and Fridays. We plan an extended holiday break, but continue to school over the traditional fall break & spring break.
Next, re-assess your children’s lessons. Will they still fit in during the time allotted? Or do you need to tweak some things?
Looking for more tips on creating a functional homeschool schedule that works for your family? Check out Mom’s Master Schedule to find out if block scheduling might be the right fit!
Our homeschool schedule looks slightly different than the average school schedule. We run a 36 week school year, only homeschooling core subjects 3 days a week. Somehow this year we lucked out and all the kid’s birthdays already fell on days off, so our running total of school days will be 107 this coming year!
Want more tips on how we make our schedule work? Check out How to Homeschool 3 Days a Week to learn more about our perfect fit!
Simple Sample Schedule for Homeschool Prep…
First, I break all my prep up by subject, not grade. Meaning I prepped 9th grade, 7th grade, and 1st grade science lessons all on the same day and so on. Breaking it up this way is what works best for me! However, if breaking it up by child is more your thing, that definitely works too!
Next, I set small goals for my self each day to avoid complete overwhelm! If I tried to tackle it all in a single afternoon, I might just cry. Not even joking, you guys!
Sample 10 Day Schedule
Below is a sample of how I prepped all of our homeschool lessons this summer in only 10 days!
*Note: If you have more than 3 kids, you may need to adjust the time period you allow to get these tasks completed without overwhelm. Simply extend it by 5 or 10 days if needed!
Day One – begin pacing guides (rough draft)
Day Two – finish pacing guides (finalized)
Day Three – prep social studies & science for all kids
Day Four – prep math & electives for all kids
Day Five – prep history for all kids
Day Six – create first grade supplies needed list for first semester
Day Seven – create seventh grade supplies needed list for first semester
Day Eight – create ninth grade supplies needed list for first semester
Day Nine – create shopping list for first 6 weeks (at least)
Day Ten – organize and put away curriculum
*QUICK TIP: If setting aside 10 days in a row seems like a complete chore, simply extend it by a few days, adding in “days off” where needed!
When prepping these subjects I simply print things that need to be printed, tear out worksheet pages and so on! All assignments and loose papers go into a folder system that houses a weekly folder for each child. If you want more details on our homeschool prep & organizational systems, you can find those below!
5 Ways to Prep Your Homeschool Year Successfully (this includes the printable pacing guide we use)
5 Simple Homeschool Organization Ideas (this briefly touches on our folder systems)
Ease Into It
THIS!! Whether you’re planning a long school year or a short one (like us)… easing into new curriculum is key! Because we only homeschool 3 days a week from Aug-May, we have to start easing into our new year well before August rolls around.
For us, this means averaging around 1 lesson, per subject, per week during the summer. So basically, a full days worth of school work each week, for each child over the course of the summer. Not too shabby and totally doable!
I actually really like this method. Not only does it help encourage my kids to stick with the cycle of responsibility throughout the summer months, but it also helps keep them in learning mode constantly. Meaning – NO beginning of the school year slump!! This makes it all worth it for me!!
As I mentioned earlier, we school Aug-May, easing back into our new curriculum starting mid June. It’s almost like schooling year round, you guys… but my kids totally don’t feel like it is!! Win-Win!
Love these tips, but not sure it will work for you because you’re behind on your current homeschool year? Check out How to Catch up on Homeschooling to learn how to use your summer to catch up & still start out the new year ahead! My catch up method is super similar to my planning method, you guys! You know what though? It totally works!
Summer is also the perfect time to fit in some homeschool extras! If you’re anything like me, you might just have a huge curriculum addiction. Not even joking, you guys! I purchase so many extras, that I don’t know how to squeeze them in sometimes!
Enter summer vacation! My older boys will be doing some light book studies this summer (in addition to playing a little catch up and easing into next years curriculum) while my younger daughter will be working through a fun science kit I purchased!
Want to know how we fit extras in during the school year? Check out Kid’s Activities & Homeschool Looping to find out how creating a looping schedule during the afternoon hours saved my sanity!
Don’t want to work on curriculum over the summer? Try adding these educational activities and learning sets to your summer lineup instead!
Check out my top 3 picks!
- Sink or Float Science Kit – This science set is perfect for young homeschoolers that enjoy hands on learning & water play! My 6 year old daughter will actually be using this very kit over the summer. So excited!
- Osmo Genius Kit – Not going to lie, this is one of the best homeschool investments we have made in a very long time! This awesome kit is great for the kid that loves tablet time, but also perfect for hands on summer learning. No more mindless tablet usage!
Worried about your child’s screen time usage already? Check out How to Limit Kid’s Screen Time (coming soon) for some helpful summer tips!
- My First Reading Library – Extra reading is always a must over the summer! This set is great for emerging readers & perfect for goal setting!
Don’t have a young reader? Check out Must Have Books for Older Kids! (coming soon) instead!
Simple worksheet learning packs are another easy way to add a little extra learning to your child’s summer. Love this idea, but not sure how to get started? Check out Summer Learning Packs (coming soon) for help!
Want More Summer Extras?
Check out these fun options to add to your summer lineup!
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