Friday, August 6, 2010

Planning Your Homeschool- Part One

WHO WHAT WHERE WHY WHEN & HOW-- The Questions to Ask

Remember 3rd grade book reports-- recapping the book answering the classic questions- Who? What? Where? Why? When? (and don't forget the obligatory 'How?') Well, I have found that this simple method works for much more than book reports, and it has been an ideal way for me to organize both my thoughts and papers when I'm planning for homeschool. So, I thought I would share it with you all.

Below is a basic summary of the types of questions you should be asking yourself as you plan your year. I will expound on these 6 individually in subsequent posts.

Unlike the old book report setup, these steps begin with 'Why?' Perhaps we would have gotten more out of what we read had we taken the same approach in third grade ;)

1. WHY?
WHY are you homeschooling? What are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish by bringing your children home? Sit down with your family and create a family mission statement. What experiences do you want to share with your children? What beliefs and values do you want to impart on them? What does Scripture teach about rearing and discipling our children and how can that manifest in your homeschool?

2. WHO?
WHO are you teaching? Evaluate each child's strengths and weaknesses. How do they learn? What are their interests, what are their dislikes? What about you, as the teacher? Ask yourself the same questions. Do you want to have to plan your schedule or do you want that built into the curriculum you choose? Do you want to spend more time teaching or having the children work independently? Considering these variables is crucial to deciding which resources to use. Much of homeschool is trial and error, but much frustration can be avoided with a little prayerful planning ahead of time.

3. WHAT?
WHAT are you trying to teach your children? What subjects? Which topics? And, just as importantly, what do they already know? Again, consider each child's strengths and weaknesses This is the time to sort out the nuts and bolts-- what will your child's weekly planner (and yours) look like?

Check out World Book's Typical Course of Study and your state's standards if you need help getting started. (Florida's are here). Another great resource is the What My ___ -Grader Needs to Know book series, which you can find at most libraries.

4. HOW?
HOW are you going to accomplish this? After assessing your children's needs and your beliefs about homeschooling, you must choose which resources you will use to teach each subject. Curriculum Choice is a fabulous resource to learn more about homeschooling methods and philosophies. Make sure you know the homeschooling laws in your state so to make sure you meet their requirements.

Try and connect with like-minded homeschoolers in your area. While the socialization issue has been beaten to death by critics, it is still important to have fellowship, and for your children to have fellowship with people with whom you and they can share the struggles and joys. It will also allow you a wonderful outlet to discuss, share and trade resources.

Other great places to find resources cheaply: Homeschool Classifieds, Amazon, Paperback Swap, thrift stores, and of course, your local library.

5. WHEN?
This is the time to schedule. What time parameters do you want to give to your homeschooling day? Account for events such as naptime and meals. Do you want to get everything done in the morning or would you not mind having lessons spread out over the day?

Donna Young has fabulous printables for all areas of planning and organization, including subject and scope & sequence planners.

This is the fun part--WHERE are you going to be schooling? This is the time to choose a room or space, to decorate, make it your own. Do you want your children at desks? A community table? Do you need a chalkboard or shelving? Containers? Your space will be most useful if it is both inviting and effective.

And, there you have it. I pray this helps bring a little method to the mayhem. ;)

On to PART 2. . .


Chris said...

nice article.. im going to link to this post! :D

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