I am sitting here prepping our homeschool planner/binder for the year and I wanted to share how I prep for a new school year and get everything organized and prepared. I will also be sharing a homeschool haul of things that I picked up for Sophia as additional resources outside of her curriculum.
School starts again in about two weeks for us. We begin the same day that the public schools do here, which is always the day after Labor Day. I normally start prepping in the middle of August so that I can spread it out and not be overwhelmed with it all on top of my own schooling. This also helps me make sure that I have everything that I need for them and myself.
The very first thing I do is pick a curriculum for the girls. Normally I do this before the previous school year even ends so that it comes in with enough time for me to look it over and see what other resources I need, how I plan to use it, etc. I take this time to figure out exactly how I will lesson plan and how I am going to set it up. Some curriculums are already set up for you and tells you what needs to be taught and done each day and some need a little more work out of you. The one that we are using this year for Autumn is a 10 unit curriculum and there are 10 units/workbooks for the four main subjects and each unit is meant to be completed in 3-4 weeks. I then calculate how many pages need to be done for each workbook in each subject.. yes, that’s 40 workbooks. It sounds like a lot more work than it is. I calculated 3 weeks for every workbook which will leave us 6 weeks that we still need to have work for. This works our perfect for us because we do mid year tests which are a week long, review weeks, and a week of their end of year testing the last week of the year. Whatever amount of time I have set aside will be used for either more review, field trips, library days, etc.
Once I have their curriculum the next thing I do is figure out what planner I am going to use and go ahead and buy it as well as any other planning essentials that I need for the year. This is one of the hardest things for me because as a homeschool mom I need some things that teachers use, but not all of them. So a lot of the teacher planners have a lot of things that I don’t need and the student ones don’t have everything that I need. Normally I just get the teacher Happy Planner and buy the other things that I need to add to the planner. I use
• monthly pages,
• weekly lesson plan pages,
• daily pages (sometimes, this is not an every day thing),
• reading logs,
• Attendance logs,
• And a yearly overview.
On the monthly pages I write out any important dates – like first day, last day, events, tests, etc. I also keep track of our weeks because we have to do school for 36 weeks and it’s just easier to write down the week numbers on the monthly pages.
On the weekly lesson plan pages I write down their lessons and work to do each day. I will write down page numbers, test into, etc so that it is easier for all of us to scan it quickly to see what all needs to be done.
On the daily page I will write down more details if needed for their lessons. I don’t always use these but I like having them so that Autumn can look at it and see exactly what needs to be done so that she can work through her assignments and lessons by herself since she prefers to be 100% independent unless she needs help with something.
Reading logs and attendance logs are pretty self explanatory. I like to track our days on the attendance for the year and have it handy just in case we get audited. Autumn uses reading logs every day to write down the book she is reading as part of her daily reading assignments. It helps me see what she is reading and making sure that she is getting it done everyday. This is something she fills out everyday after she has finished her reading.
For the yearly overview I like to highlight the first day and last day of school, any holidays or holiday related days off, personal time off, and testing days. It allows me to see the whole year laid out and to plan accordingly for any tests that we have coming up that way it is not a huge surprise when I open up their lesson pages to see they have a test that day.
After I have my planner and everything that I need for it I begin setting it up. I plan out our entire year as far as time off goes so that I know when our last day will be. Knowing when our last day will be helps me spread out test days and see when is best for personal time off, if needed. I work my way through the pages of my planner filling out what I can.
This year I switched to going completely digital with all of my planning, so I had a planner made for me with everything that I will need for each month/week. I still do all of the same setting up as a I normally would, it is just done on my iPad instead of a paper planner.
Another thing that I like doing before school starts is planning out the first month. I pull out their curriculum and any other resources that I have and figure out what the lessons will be. This is when I will use the calculations that I did when the curriculum came in to write down and lay out the first month of school.
Planning the first month is something that really helps me relax when school starts. I don’t have to worry about rushing to figure it all out and I can plan ahead and not feel behind. I generally like to stay two weeks ahead in their lesson plans so that we all know what to look forward to and what is coming up in the weeks ahead.
We have a homeschool hutch with all of their curriculum, supplies, games, etc. I like to organize it really well in between every school year and get rid of stuff that we no longer need or the kids didn’t really like. I clean it out throughout the school year, too, but I do a really thorough clean out over the summer. I got a book bin for this year and I have all of Autumn’s workbooks for the first month of school in it as well as the teacher/parent guides. I also have a section in it for Soph’s books that she will be using to start out the year. I have found that having it separated from the rest of their curriculum makes it so much easier.
I think that is all of the prepping I do, but I feel like I am forgetting something. Oh well, I’ll add it if I can remember whatever it is I feel like I am forgetting. Now I am going to share with y’all some of the things I got for Sophia as additional resources to help her this year, and years to come.
Most of that I found at Target in the dollar spot. The math counters I got at a store called School Crossing but you can get them on amazon. If you have any questions about any of these, leave me a comment!
Thanks, as always, for reading my blog! Every view is very much appreciated.
How do you prep for a new homeschool year or how did you prep for this year of virtual school?