If you’re a parent of children in 2020, chances are you’ve had some experience with homeschooling in this crazy, seemingly endless year we’ve all been battling through.It’s tough, right? We’d all been *just about* scraping through life with work plans and holiday plans and weekend plans and hobby plans, and then suddenly - BAM. Life hands us the reins of day-to-day middle school teacher life and expects us to all get through unscathed.
Ha! Not so fast, life.The good news is - you’re going to be ok.
The better news is, I’m going to tell you how to do it.
To that end, here’s 10 of my top tips for homeschool curriculum planning. Hopefully some of these will see you - and your new students - through the transition!
10 Tips for Effective Homeschool Curriculum Planning
1. Understand how your children learn best
Homeschool curriculum planning doesn’t start with a bunch of topics and an arbitrary refresher on the American Civil War. It starts with sitting down and figuring out what kind of learners your kids are. Visual? Interactive? Bookish? Understanding this will make the whole process that much more manageable!
2. Understand how you teach best
Don’t try to be Kindergarten Cop if in reality you’re more of a Nutty Professor. We’re not all natural teachers and trying to force yourself into a ‘teacher type’ that you think is best is never going to end well. Be you, and find your own teaching groove. Your kids already love and respect you as you are - don’t go looking for some kind of persona.
3. Choose themes for the year
Here’s a homeschool curriculum planning tip from one parent to another: Choose some themes for the school semester or year and use that as the overarching teaching focus for big kids and little ones alike. No matter if there’s a whole bunch of different age groups in your household - choose a theme (say: ‘renaissance artists’, or ‘the natural world’) and direct your older kids to more challenging aspects of that theme, and the littlies to the easier parts. School becomes a family affair and you save some of your sanity!
4. Choose your planner
A good planner is essential to surviving homeschool curriculum planning! Whether you want to use a digital planner for ease of access, or a paper planner because you love the tactile life, picking a planner that covers everything you need it to is vital. BOSS has a number of popular digital and paper planners on sale right now, including this amazing Teacher Planner to help you keep track of assignments, schedules, lesson prep, and grading.
5. Make an outline for the year
Starting big and working your way down to the nitty gritty is a smart way to do things. Jot down an overarching curriculum plan for the year to give yourself some perspective, then manoeuvre down into the details from there.
6. Make a separate page in your planner for each child
Setting up a homeschool planning calendar for more than one child? Eep! First of all: stop worrying - you’re doing great and nailing the #teacherlife. Secondly, pat yourself on the back - juggling homeschool curriculum planning for more than one child can be a lot!
Setting aside separate space in your Teacher Planner or homeschool planning calendar for each of your children will give you major organizational vibes and help you to feel in control of the chaos.
7. Set goals
We all need goals to work towards and kids are no different. Sit down with them at the start of the semester and note down some specific goals on their planner page that relate to the themes of the year and play to both their strengths and weaknesses.
8. Plan your days
Do you wake up in the morning in a cold sweat over how you’re going to structure teaching that day? Well, have a nice long shower and a hot coffee in the calming knowledge that you’ve already got the day’s plan all lined up. Planning out your days and weeks is essential for surviving homeschooling and seeing what’s on the agenda from day to day will make building a broader curriculum that much easier.
9. Print and sort your resources
There’s no curriculum without resources - whether they be printed, digital, or otherwise. One of the last steps to take when you’re homeschool curriculum planning is to organize all your school resources for the semester ahead. That might mean printing a bunch of materials, ordering in some textbooks, getting on a waitlist at the library for key books, or even just getting your piles of stickers SORTED.
10. Make an effective learning space
Last but not least, homeschool curriculum planning all means nothing if the space you have to teach in isn’t set up well for learning. We don’t all have dedicated school rooms, but at the very least a clean space clear of mess is vital for your children to feel comfortable and confident to learn.
Don’t be intimidated by homeschool curriculum planning!
Making a homeschool planning calendar or getting into the spirit of homeschool curriculum planning can be tough if it’s not in your comfort zone. But it needn’t be something to fear - all you need to start is a planner and a can-do spirit. If you’re looking for the perfect planner for homeschooling, check out this teacher planner or our always-popular digital personal planner. Good luck!