Whether you are just starting out in your homeschooling journey or whether you're an established veteran, making homeschool subject plans can be an effective way of planning your homeschool year.
Planning Your Year
Many homeschooling moms attempt to plan their year either in part or in its entirety at some point while they are homeschooling. Planning can be a big help if your state requires you to keep records, because you can use your planning tool as your record keeper as well. The trick is to find a system that works for you and works well. There are several ways to go about planning your year.
Some moms find that it is best for them to plan by the week. One advantage is that if you find yourself not getting to things, making a weekly planner means that you can schedule things accordingly without having to reschedule assignments over and over again. Weekly plans can help you stay on track and then if you miss some assignments or activities, you can easily schedule them for the next week.
Detailed Homeschool Subject Plans
Generally, when you make subject plans, you can plan your homeschooling for the month, the quarter or the year. Planning your homeschooling around your subjects rather than by weeks or months has a few advantages:
- You can see a holistic view of an entire subject and it may be easier to see if you're missing something.
- You don't have to keep rescheduling if you miss an activity or assignment.
- It's easier to pull in a variety of resources when you can see a "bird's eye" view of the subject for the quarter or the year. You can easily see when your extra resource would fit in, or see where it's needed.
Planning your homeschooling around subjects, rather than around weeks or months, is not the only way to go. You may find that it works better for you to do both homeschool subject plans and weekly plans. You may find that you prefer a complete curriculum that does the scheduling for you. With that said, planning by subject is a good place to start if you're feeling like you need plans but are at a loss when it comes to actually writing them down.
Step by Step: How to Plan According to Subject
In order to plan for a subject you will need to set aside some time to sit down and pull all your resources together. It is generally helpful to be next to a computer with Internet access as well.
Step 1: Go Through Your Primary Resource
Your first step in planning is to choose and go through your primary resource. Consider this resource to be the "spine" of all that you're doing. Whether it's a textbook or you're reading a chapter book, go through a write down a basic objective for each week. If you're using a [Homeschool Science|life science]] book for example, your list might look like this:
- What are cells?
- Plants and Animal Cells
- What do plants need?
Make sure to leave plenty of room under each title for additional notes and you'll want to plan out at least a month at a time.
Step 2: Add "Helpers"
Helpers are any extra resources that you think that you'll use. Often times, you'll already know what extra resources you're going to want to pull in. However, if you're not sure what resources you want to pull in, try this system:
- Go through your own library. (Hint: If you organize your library according to subject, this will be easier.)
- Do a search on your local library's website. For the example above, you could search the kids' section for "plant experiments" and you are likely to come up with quite a few books that can assist you in devising just the perfect experiment.
- Search the Internet and pull in resources that you find there.
Step 3: Field Trips and Projects
Are there any field trips that would go especially well with your theme? What about special projects that you want to do? Planning your larger projects over the course of a month helps you not only to make sure they get done, but to also place them at an appropriate place. Rather than starting them on a specific date, you're starting them in correlation with something else that you're studying.
Helps for Subject Planning
Thankfully, you don't have to create your own templates or figure it all out on your own. If you want to buy a plain teacher's planner at an educational store, that will work, but there are also some resources that you can download for free:
- Donna Young is synonymous with planning. Her worksheets and templates have been helping homeschoolers for years.
- Homeschool Tracker offers two editions--a basic and an upgraded edition. The basic edition is free. This is planning software that you download to your computer.