This is it! I don’t know about you, but we are quickly wrapping up our school year (I’m ready to take a break and so are the girls). We will be talking about flowers to round up our botany study and that will end our official year! Don’t worry though, we will learning, making discoveries, and finding new passions during the summer too! I have plans for an ocean study and a fun reading program! With thing ending I have been taking time to look back over the year and evaluate what we did. What I found was that there were some things we did really well (math, reading, natural sciences) and there were some things that I think that we could have worked a little harder on ( grammar, money, geography) and there were some things that we never even got to (music, history, and formal art). But I think that all in all we learned a lot! The girls grew and really exceeded what they needed to know and we don’t hate school! So mission accomplished! So now I am looking forward to next year! What are we going to do? How are we going to arrange our work time? Are we doing things that same way? I don’t know yet. These are the things I am working really hard on, and with all the amazing things that you can do I find that it is so overwhelming! There is a million subjects and a million fun was to do each one! Where do you start and how do we make a plan without loosing our minds? Here are few tips that I have found in my own experience and some tips I have picked up from seasoned homeschoolers too!
1) Make a Mission Plan: What are your goals for this year? Do you want to focus on history, geography, science, or all of it? Do you want all the subjects to work together or are you good with things being as it? What do you want you kids to know before the end of the next year? Make sure you have some goals clear in your mind a stick to them! This make trudging through all the amazing materials easier because you know what to look for to help you meet these goals!
2) Break it Down: Set your school plan out by 4-6 week chunks. My mom has been school for over twenty years and she said that this has been the most successful thing she has done. I have also found that this is a great space of time to study a subject in depth, but also be able to move on afterward. It also allows for flexibility. If you want to do more you can, or if something is not working well, you can change it up! Maybe you want to start the year out studying geography or space. Work out what you want to cover in those 4-6 weeks and you will better be able to pick out the right materials! This works great for planning your year with Montessori albums too.
3) If its not Broke, Don’t fix it: If you have something that is working really well, consider sticking with it! Maybe you found a math program that is just perfect for your kiddos. There is no need to even bother trying to look through the math section! Skip it!
4) Look to keep things simple: There are a ton of great programs, crafts, hands on learning ideas, and methods for teaching all the same things. Its easy to look and find all these great ideas, book, and projects, but you cant do it all and trying to will really drive you and your kids crazy (and you will not learn much well).
5) Trust Your Gut: You know your family and your goals. If you are looking at books, or blogs, or other ideas and you find your self doubting or becoming anxious, then move on! (Even if that means leaving here). You have a mission and letting other people’s ideas mess yours up is not going to allow you to have a good, fun, and educational year! I learned this the hard way. What my kids do, is not what your kids will do and me trying to make it look like someone else’s work will only frustrate everyone! You are you; and your kids are your kids, so your school plan is your school plan! Even using Montessori ideas in your home will looks way different then how I use Montessori ideas in mine!
I hope that this helps you as you plan your year! I know I need the reminder! I do see some changes happening here next year and this has me broadening my horizons looking at different homeschooling sites! Keeping things in perspective have really helped me as I wade through all the great things out there! Good Luck to all of you and PLEASE share any great tips you may have for working out your plans for next year! I would love to hear them in the comments below! Happy Schooling Everyone!