Planning Year Round Homeschooling

Yesterday I told you about the benefits of homeschooling your kids year round. This made you interested in homeschooling your kids year round, or at least I hope it did! But how in the world do you plan a year round school year? Let me tell you a secret, it is not every weekday for the full 52 weeks! Can you believe it?? We accidentally started homeschooling year round and the planning wasn't that hard.

Planning Your Year Round Homeschool Year

Plan Your Breaks

Now that I officially call myself a year round homeschooler, I needed to plan my whole year out. Don't be afraid! I do not mean lessons or details, I just mean what days do I need to have off and what days do I want to have off. One of the best ways to do this is to grab a calendar like the one from Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus (Option 3A, scroll down). This calendar lets me see the full year. I can mark down the days I want to have off each month, and add up the days we are, or will be active for school each month. This gives me a great visual of how many days we can take off after our scheduled breaks.

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Speaking of breaks, we like to homeschool for 3 weeks and take a full week off. We also like to take the whole month of December off. This gets to be about our "half way" point of our year for grade levels. I also notice a lot of restlessness happening at this point. This means that we need a break. I watch for other times like this during the year and can rework the schedule as needed. I ALWAYS fill these forms out with pencil because they WILL change!

Plan When You Will Learn What Subjects

Yes, you read that right. We don't always do everything every day. We will do reading, writing and math every day. Those three are a given. I also like to make sure to do copywork a few times a week. Everything else, science, history, extras, those have been getting grouped into different subjects each day or week. We don't do everything every day. This would be too much when going all year. Moe Man does better when I say, "Wednesday is Science day, do all your Science for the week and be done". He has no issues with this.

Sometimes, you will find us not doing a subject at all for the entire week and the following week we will do it every day. We pick and choose what we want to do. As long as we get it all done within 365 days I am happy. How it gets done, I don't care. We might even spend a Saturday doing school some weeks. We pay attention to the weather, extra-curricular activities and our schedule to tell us what we need to be doing.

Set Goals

What does set goals mean? To me, it is when I decide that I want to get this far in this subject by this time. Doing this keeps me on track for each monthly planning session. I break down my goals into yearly, semester and monthly goals. I know that I want to complete certain things by a certain date. Some of them are yearly, I want to complete Ray Ray's 1st grade math by August. Or monthly goals like wanting to get through this many lessons in Moe Man's Science. Having these simple goals makes it easier when I want to sit down and actually lesson plan.

I love using the goal pages in my Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner. These pages take it past educational goals and has me looking at spiritual, physical and financial goals to name a few! I have a full review of this planner right here. These pages make my year round planning easier.

Hey Mama! Goal Planning

These are the three main things I look at when planning my year round homeschool year. I don't worry about lesson planning at this stage. Right now I just worry about getting my breaks in, yes I love my breaks, and getting my goals set. Once I have the basics in order, I can worry about lesson planning! Join me tomorrow when I talk about lesson planning for the summer months! I can't wait to tell you how easy it really is!

What are your tips for planning out the school year?

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10 Days Blog 1

Top 5 Benefits to Homeschooling Year Round

When it came to deciding that I was going to homeschool the kids year round, it was not an easy decision at all! I struggled with the idea of not having the summer months off to do nothing. I struggled with how I would tell the kids that I wanted them to keep doing school while all the neighborhood kids slept until noon and played video games all day. It came down to the fact that I had to look at the benefits and see how this would work for us. Here are the top 5 benefits that made up my mind to homeschool year round.

Homeschool Year Round Benefits

More Time, Less Stress

What does this mean? How can homeschooling all year make for less stress? Well, when you homeschool all year, you have 52 weeks to plan out 36 weeks worth of school. This means that you don't have to finish by a strict deadline. I can look at the kids and say, "Let's go to the park and play, no school today" when I notice the attention is not there. This means I don't have to get frustrated and they don't have to get frustrated, we have time!

Vacation When We Want

EVERYONE goes on vacation at the same time each year, spring break and summer time. Why would I want to do the same thing when I am homeschooling to be away from that? We can homeschool right through the busy times and go on vacation when things are slower. You know what else? That usually means the prices are lower as well!

Year Round Learning

We have all heard of the summer learning slump. When we do year round homeschool, that also means we are learning all year. Yes, we do take breaks, but not for months at a time. Moe Man needs to keep his mind working on school or he will forget. If I give him more than 2 weeks off I notice that I have to restart the lessons, and this is not fun for any of us!

Easier Planning

What does easier planning mean and is this really a benefit? Yes, it is a benefit and I take my one week to plan for their next 3 weeks of school. I can see what is or isn't working and change it up every three weeks. I have used this many times with Moe Man especially I can see where he is lacking, take some time to find some extra work when he needs it and move on only when he is ready. If I had planned the whole year out and something didn't work for us, I would have to redo the WHOLE year. This way I can customize for the kids every month!

Shorter Weeks

What? How do you make a week shorter? Well, we do 4 days of school instead of 5. This is new to us in the last few months, but we LOVE this change! Monday through Thursday are our school days. Friday is our Home Ec day. While this isn't school books, I use the kids to help me around the house and use it as their home ec day. Not only are they happy to have only 4 days of school, I am happy to have help picking up, washing clothes, or even just cooking food.

Have you checked out any of the other blogs and their tips? Click the picture and find one you like!

10 Days Blog 1

Are you a year round homeschooler? What is your favorite benefit to homeschooling year round?

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New Year, New Goals

New year, new goals

Today is the start of a new year. With the start of a new year, everyone wants to make resolutions. What about instead of resolutions, you make new goals? Goals of varying lengths and outcomes? Wouldn’t that make it a lot easier to feel good about yourself this year?

New year, new goals

I have always had resolutions, and when I don’t accomplish them, or fail because they are too far out of reach, I feel like a failure and give up on them. This is not what I want to show my kids. And I have to say, having them has shown me that short, medium and long term GOALS are a lot better than those silly once a year resolutions!!

So, what are the goals for this new year? I have them in different categories so that I can separate home, school and work. Not to mention mommy goals.

Goals for the House

My goals for our house this year are simple. I want to find a plan to clean and follow it. I don’t want a house out of a magazine! I work from home, daddy works from home, all four kids do school from home. We are always home. This house will be lived in, but it can be clean. I have found some great information over at Clean Mama and have decided that I want to be a part of her Homekeeping Society. Within this society is everything to keep your house clean. You could go for spotless, but we are going for clean!

Goals for School

This year, I have a few different goals. First, I want to work on catching up on my grades during the month of January. That is my first short term goal. My second short term goal is to have all kids “caught up” to my lesson plan by the end of March. This will give us time to take more time off when we need to. I know we are never really on a lesson plan, but I have my ideas of what should be done each month, each quarter and each year. If it takes us 3, 4, 5 or 6 days a week, so be it!

Long term for the school goals is to have Moe Man working on his own, Ray Ray working on more handwriting and Little Miss getting ready for Kindergarten by the fall. This gives me time to assess each child’s needs and work on them as they need the help.

Mommy Goals

Mommy has her own goals for the new year. I want to work on mommy. My short term goals are to first start drinking more water and less pop. This may seem like a super simple goal, but for me, to get this done is a huge accomplishment since I love pop so much! Knowing how “simple” this goal is will make more achievable for me, and achieving this goal will make me stronger to work towards the next one.

Which leads me to my next goal, keeping an eye on the foods I eat. This has always been a struggle for me. I have never had to worry about food before, but now I do. To help me with this, I love the idea of a great filling snack, and Chobani now has their Simply 100 Greek Yogurt!! This is going to be my lifesaver when I need a healthy snack!

Not only will I be watching what I eat and drink, but I will be adding more movement into my day. There are lots of ways to gradually add that in that extra movement. Lots of great ways to burn an extra 100 calories a day! Check out this really cool graphic!!

New year, new goals

By adding in some of these activities I will get a start on my movement goals. I will also be following along with Jessica Smith and her fun workout routines. She has some great ones to purchase, and for FREE if you follow along on her YouTube channel. I love how simple they are, yet by the time I am done, I am sweating and feeling the burn!

Those are my mommy goals, my home goals and my school goals. I don’t do the resolutions thing, I do the goals so that I can see myself achieving them. This is my plan for 2016, what is yours?