Evaluate Your Current Year
When you started out this school year, did you set any goals for your child(ren)? Did they reach them? Did you tweak those goals as the year went on? What worked for you and them and what didn’t? Did you make any adjustments to those goals or plans that you would like to keep or get rid of? Was there a subject or topic that you forgot to include again? Will there be a better year to tackle it? How did this year fulfill your overall educational goals for your child(ren)?
Set Goals For Next Year
Take what you learned and set academic goals for this year with your long term goals in mind. Do you want to use a certain type of scope and sequence? Are you going to continue to use the current series of books and purchase the next level? Are you going to carry over any unused portion of the books your child(ren) didn’t finish and pick it up in the new school year? Or are you going to totally revamp your homeschool using a different method or style and start over?
Check the Resources You Have
What books, curriculum, manipulatives, games, and toys do you already have on hand that you can reuse next year for the same child(ren) or a younger sibling? Is there anything that could be tweaked to better suit them? Do you have any books you didn’t quite finish? Do you want to finish them? If there is something you will not be using this year, do you want to keep it, sell it, or give it away? After your investigation, you can make a list of what you are needing.
Start by doing some research. Do you just need the next book in the current series of books? Or do you want to try a different series or method? Would a co-op or in person class be appropriate? What about a tutor to help with those high school courses? Look up curriculum companies, co-ops, online classes, local classes, and other opportunities. Write down your findings, including prices, and what you want to look into more. If you decide to stay with books at home, you might find some solutions at your local used book sales and swaps. Another resource can be found on our Resources page.
Shop Used Book Sales and Swaps
Some curriculum will need to be purchased new, like workbooks. Other books can be found at used book sales and swaps. Beginning in March, homeschool communities start planning in person used book sales and swaps, so take note of those dates. Then when you have your list ready, a spending budget calculated, and a drink in hand, you’ll be ready to go. But go with an open mind. You never know what other ideas and opportunities will come to you after a stroll through the sale racks.
Just a reminder that sellers are other homeschool parents just like you and would like to get a return on their investment, so don’t expect bargain prices. Try to go alone or with a friend, and without kids. But don’t forget to pick up something fun for the kids that you can give to them when you get home as a treat. Or if you do have to bring them, let them pick out a fun new book to read. Your local IAHE Regional Representative will have more information on book sales and swaps in your area.
Create Your Schedule or Routine
Start with any major upcoming events like vacations, new additions to the family, planned surgeries, house moves, job changes, etc. and put them on your yearly calendar. Remember you can take breaks any time you want to and need to as long as you follow the attendance laws.
Then take a look at your other family commitments. If you plan to be involved in weekly extracurricular activities, add those to your weekly calendar. Then you can plan when you have lighter and heavier academic days. Finally, consider your daily routine. When is it best to get the academic work done? When is it ok to be out for co ops, park days, field trips, doctor appointments, etc.? Would it be best to do some school work while the baby is napping or when a spouse is home during the weekend? And don’t forget to pencil in when to meal plan, grocery shop, run errands, and other household tasks.
Consider using a planner to keep yourself and your students organized. Check out the 2022-2023 IAHE Planner. It is free for IAHE Premium & Supporting Members. You can find out more about membership HERE.
Planning for the next school year takes just that: planning. From evaluating the past, to examining the present, to deciding on the future, you can plan out a general idea of what your homeschool year will look like a whole year in advance.