Have you followed the beginning part of the series? Part 1 (Outline your beliefs), Part 2 (Finding your child’s dominant intelligence(s) and learning style, Part 3 (Choosing a learning style), Part 4 (Locating the curriculum/program and finding resources), Part 5 (Adapting/Modifying the curriculum) are all important steps before you can sit down and really plan your year.
Planning far in advance can be intimidating. But, don’t make it so.
Planning the year is all about looking at how many days you have and chunking them into smaller parts.
Mapping out the year using a calendar
You might already have a sense of how you’d like to homeschool. Will you follow your province/ state’s academic calendar or do you plan to do school year-round. Whatever the decision, there’s a calendar for that!
Since I’d like my son to be able to have time with his family/ friends when they have time off, I’ve decided to follow the local academic calendar. That means that holidays will coincide, as will dates like spring break.
Steps to planning the homeschool year
1- Start by printing off one of the yearly calendars (see the resources link). The one I used is editable in Word and it allowed me to change the US-based holidays to Canadian ones and I added spring break and summer holidays as well (see left hand column).
2- Using a highlighter, block-off all holidays/breaks. In my province, we have 180 school days for students with 20 pedagogical days for teachers. When I counted, I had 190 “school” days (not including weekends – those are bonuses!) giving me 10 weekdays to play around with.
Now, of course, you don’t have to be strict about the number of “school” days. Counting the days just gives you a broader picture and a point of reference. We all know that learning happens all day long, including weekends and holidays. I’m using the set days for more formal planning because I like to have things in order that way. Feel free to count – or not count – whatever suits your style best!
3- Since I’m going to be following the Waldorf approach, I am going to separate my year according to the seasons. I’ve basically blocked-off 13 weeks (more or less) for each of the seasons using different colors. What I have now is a great visual for myself for planning the year. Instead of worrying about 52 weeks in the year, I can now focus on one season at a time. For instance, I know that the Autumn session will run from Sept to the end of November. Three months of planning is easier to manage than 12.
You might choose to separate your year into months, or perhaps several weeks on with one week off and repeating that year-round. No matter how you choose to do this, you have to feel at ease with it.
How do you plan your homeschool year? Do you have calendar templates that you’d like to share?
Academic monthly calendars – you can print July to June, August to July, or September to August (as I have done) – use the layout you prefer – free printables
I can help you create a general yearly homeschool plan so that you don’t have to do it alone! Check out my one-on-one consultations.