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Homeschool Planning Techniques You Need To Know
Homeschool planning is often the primary focus of homeschool moms everywhere. How to plan? What to plan? How to organize a plan?
We assume there has to be one, best way to plan our days and years to make sure we don’t miss a thing and we get it all done. However, everyone’s preferred method of homeschool planning will be different. Yes, there are some broad categories of planning that most of us will use, but they will undoubtedly vary in design from family to family.
To best customize your family’s homeschool plans, you should familiarize yourself with all of the most popular homeschool planning techniques.
So what are the most common homeschool planning techniques and how do they work?
Homeschool Planning with a Standard School Schedule
If you use a traditional, school-at-home type of curriculum, you more than likely will use standard school scheduling to break up your work. Typically, each subject will be covered every day and broken up into 180 similar sized assignments.
The benefit of the type of schedule is that you make consistent progress in every subject. You also know exactly what you will do each day, and it’s easy just to proceed down the list.
If you purchase an all in one curriculum, they will usually have laid this out for you and your merely open and go.
Loop scheduling is gaining in popularity, and for a good reason. This type of planning allows for the spontaneous learning that homeschool families enjoy, but also allow you not to feel like you’re getting “behind” when unexpected inspiration strikes.
Loop scheduling is just what it sounds like, a loop. You make a list of the things you would like to cover, and you go down the list one by one. You stop when you feel the need and pick up the next day where you left off.
Loop scheduling is one type of planning that can vary significantly between families. One family may have a loop for each child that they cycle through; however, another family may have a loop for those subjects they do together and a checklist of daily individual assignments in subjects such as reading and math.
An example of a loop schedule might be:
- Family Read Aloud
- Art Appreciation
- Nature Study
Perhaps on Monday you only finished the family read aloud and history, that’s fine, on Tuesday you start the day with art appreciation.
The benefit of loop scheduling is the flexibility that allows for field trips and other life events but knowing right where you need to jump in when you get back to lessons.
Block Scheduling and Time-Blocking
Block scheduling is perfect for the family that doesn’t like to change gears but instead wants to spend more time diving deep into a subject.
Again, this can take many different forms. Some families assign a different subject to each day of the week, such as history on Monday, science on Tuesday, etc.
However, other families go even farther and might only study history for a week or more and then dive into a science topic.
Basically, you can block of days, periods of time, or weeks to study a particular subject or topic.
This type of planning works exceptionally well for families that use unit studies. It also is useful when planning for mom. It allows you to get all those science or craft supplies at one time, instead of piecing them out daily over weeks. That’s a huge bonus for those of us that hate to go to the store.
Time-Blocking, however may be as detailed as blocking off times that you will explore or work on a particular subject each day.
For example, you may time block each morning from 9AM to 10AM for a morning time routine. Then, you may time block 2PM to 4PM for independent work, or from 4PM to 5PM each day your children do chores after school. The options are endless.
Checklist Style Homeschool Planning
Using checklists makes planning and record-keeping easy! Many parents use a spiral notebook, which also makes this method of planning extremely cost-efficient.
To use this method of planning also doesn’t take a lot of time. Create a list of what you would like to accomplish daily and then check it off. It’s similar to a loop, but you can change directions anytime you choose.
Often moms create a checklist for what they would like their child to complete on a given day, and then simply write out a new checklist each evening. It doesn’t take long, but you do have to be consistent.
The bonus is that once you fill up the notebook, you have a simple record of what your child has done.
Also, it doesn’t have to be a daily checklist; it can be a weekly list for an older student who is more independent in their work.
Customized Homeschool Planning
One of the best ways to plan for your homeschool is to customize. Choose a planner that helps you customize pages with annual, monthly, and weekly layouts.
Printable homeschool planners are perfect for this; you can print additional pages for extra students and even create a binder that you just update each year. Often, it is much easier to adjust your binder each year or semester, than it is to start over with a new planner each time.
The binder with a printable homeschool planner is a wonderful idea for families who homeschool year-round. You can simply tweak plans and keep the spine rolling from year to year.
With a customized printable planner, you can also add loops, time blocks, or checklists all in the same place!
Consistent Homeschool Planning
No matter which homeschool planning techniques you choose, the most important factor is consistency. The most beautiful homeschool plan in the world won’t mean much if it just sits on the table.
So pick the homeschool planning techniques that appeal most to your family. It’s okay to decide loop scheduling isn’t working and try your hand at block scheduling. Play around with different ideas until you find what works best for your family.
The beauty of homeschool planning is that we have the freedom and flexibility to make it work for us!
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