It’s that time of year again. Parents are scrambling to prepare their children for school; the “back to school” frenzy is in high gear. Some parents however, are preparing for “back to homeschool” – perhaps even a more complicated process. Certainly, homeschooling doesn’t require the vital back to school outfit, but it does inspire vast, panoramic plans for the upcoming school year.
The number of homeschoolers is growing rapidly throughout North America and many parents feel overwhelmed with the task of pulling everything together. Planning a successful homeschooling year includes not only the curriculum, lesson plans, read-alouds, manipulatives and supplementary materials for the school year, but also involves every aspect of home and family life. In order to effectively homeschool all aspects of the home: meals, home cleaning, errand running, chores, childcare etc. must be carefully co-ordinated to etch out the necessary time for academic pursuits. For the organizationally challenged, myself included, this can be a daunting task.
How is a parent who struggles with organizing their homeschool to bring everything together? This is the question I’ve been asking myself as I head into my first year of semi-officially homeschooling my first-born, now 5 years old. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, possibly the most well-known homeschooling magazine in the world has developed a homeschooling planner for parents like me. Available as an instantaneous download from The Schoolhouse Store, it allows parents to start planning their year immediately in case they have procrastinated – another area of personal weakness for me.
The planner calendars cover one complete school year, from July of 2008 to June of 2009. Don’t let the dates dissuade you, all monthly planning pages have un-numbered date squares, so you can use this planner year after year. If you purchase the planner later in the year there is only one form I could find that wouldn’t work for you – a Bible reading schedule that starts with Genesis in July and finishes with Revelations the following June. Everything else is perfectly designed so that you can jump in at any point in the year. The first half of the 247-page planner is dedicated to monthly plans. Each month features a two page monthly calendar with large blank squares for daily planning. Each month also includes an information/reference page, a brief essay by an experienced homeschooler, a list of recommended resource relating to the reference page and some simple recipes for homeschooling moms. These reference pages, essays and recommended resources may or may not relate to your plans for the year, but they certainly provide educational reading and food for thought.
The second half of the planner is divided into two sections – "Homeschool Forms" and "Household Forms". This is where the planner truly shines. Developed by homeschooling parents with detailed input from homeschoolers at large, nearly every conceivable form needed for home management and homeschool tracking is included. The pdf format allows readers to click through to the forms you need from the "Table of Contents" page, saving time looking for elusive forms you knew were in there….somewhere. I’ve never before seen forms for meal planning, lesson plans, written and pictorial chore schedules for children, completed books and gardening all in a single planner; the editors of this work certainly understand the daily rounds of a homeschooler. Some of our favourite forms include: twelve year planning pages for outlining the big picture of your homeschooling vision, crafts completed this year with space for pictures of projects, monthly homekeeping reminders and a prayer journal form – great for keeping up with those prayer requests through email groups.
Developed with families of faith in mind, forms for recording bible verse memorizations and discipleship. The budget form includes a slot for tithing. However, secular homeschoolers or those who do not know Christ will also benefit from this planner. The pdf format allows users to print off only those pages they require and in the quantities desired, no matter the number of children!
Like any planner, this is a tool that you will need to actively use in order to reap the benefits of a more organized homeschool. I’m confident that once familiar with the contents, readers will recognize the awesome potential of synchronizing their homeschool, meals, chores and life in general with this comprehensive planner. I’m going to grab a binder and some page dividers and get planning!
Now available for purchase at The Old Schoolhouse Store.