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Planning: Where to Begin?

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By Megan Hykes

planning

It's that time of year again. You've finished your current school year, and your kiddos are all ready for that awesome summer break you've been promising them. Who are we kidding? So are you! But, what about next year? What curriculum should I use? Planning—where do I begin? How am I going to accomplish all of this while still enjoying the summer with my kiddos? Trust me, it's totally possible.

Choosing the Right Curriculum for Your Kids

First, Google and social media need to become your new best friends. If you're new to homeschooling, you are probably very overwhelmed with the abundance of options right now. Stop! Think about your reasons that brought you to the awesome decision to homeschool. Now, start searching! Check out companies that specialize in what you're looking for and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. See what they are saying and what is being said about them. Just start exploring!

Another great way to find the help you need is to start searching the bloggers. I know, I'm a blogger and this may seem a bit biased. But bloggers do tons of reviews on all the different curricula on the market. Read our reviews, and ask us questions about the curricula. I think you'll find that most bloggers really do love to share their honest opinions with you—especially when it comes to curricula.

You know, I really shouldn't have said, "If you're new to homeschooling."I'm finishing my third year this year, and this is still the exact process I use. I always ask tons of questions. Basically, you need to start with your reasons for homeschooling and know each of your child's needs. Then tailor your choices for that child.

Want the fun way to research? Attend a convention (or two). There are so many conventions these days it may be easier not to find one in your area! Okay, maybe not that many—but there really are a lot of them out there. Without a doubt, they are the best way to choose your curriculum. Think about it. What's better than getting your hands on the actual books and speaking with real live people? The price of admission will save you time, sanity, and probably even some money.

Time for Planning

So you've chosen your curriculum and ordered it. Now the fun begins—Box Day! Oh my, I love the crackle of a new book opening, the smell of the fresh ink—each box full of promise for an exciting new year of learning. Oh, sorry—I think I may have slipped off into a little daydream there.

Now you are ready to plan out your school year. In a perfect world, I would have the entire school year planned before the start of our first day. Actually, I did just that when my oldest was going into preschool and kindergarten. But we had fewer subjects and only one kiddo in the house then. Those days are gone now. My personal goal is to have a full quarter planned before the start of each new school year. You did notice I said "goal," right? I'm still learning to roll with the punches.

I have found that most curricula come with at least a basic plan already created for you. You are going to want to lay out your calendar schedule for the year first. When do you want to start, finish, and take your breaks throughout the year? Next I look through the curriculum plans and see if I like when and where it fits my schedule. Then I put together my supply list, and I'm on my way. It's not so much difficult as it is time consuming.

Getting It All Done

Finding the time to put this all together can be the most difficult part. You are teaching your kids at home so you don't have downtime. When I'm in planning mode, I will leave an orderly stack of the subjects and books I'm working on scheduling, all ready and waiting for me on my desk. That way, when nap time comes calling, I can quickly jump into planning mode. Also, I'm a night owl. So I tend to stay up late to accomplish most of this. I suppose you could wake up early to do this as well—I just can't imagine why you would want to.

I guess when it comes down to it, you just need not to overwhelm yourself, to get out of your own head. Ask lots of questions to as many sounding boards as you can, and be intentional about your time. But most of all, enjoy this incredible gift you've been given—helping your children learn and grow into beautiful adults!

Meg, aka Homeschoolin Mama (http://www.homeschoolinmama.com/), loves to chat about her little chix, homeschooling, and, oh yeah, her hubby too. She may not be crafty, but she's learned to fake it along the way!

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