This was another question asked recently at co-op. Another part of the question was: How do you plan for next year when you may or may not want to change curricula? Once again, here’s the answer I gave, but I know my friend would appreciate your thoughts in a comment.
I’ve told you before that I can be considered by some as “curriculum ADHD”, so I’ve had experience planning for a year in the midst of curriculum changes! Here are my basic planning steps:
1.) PRAY! Ask God to guide you in all things – and that includes curriculum choice.
2.) Know Your Goals
– What is my educational philosophy? Do I need to plan my year to be more in line with Charlotte Mason? Do I need to make more room for classical subjects? Do I need to buy more workbooks?
– What are my children’s learning styles? Do I need to do more/less hands-on next year? Do I need to find materials that are more auditory? Do I need to stick with one type of curriculum all year or do I need to vary the approaches for more interest?
– What “holes” do I see from this year? For instance, I don’t feel like I have been including enough classic literature in our curriculum. I also don’t feel like I’ve been pushing my oldest to her greatest potential. Those will be things I’m sure to think about as I make out plans for next year.
3.) Know your plans
– For example, if I know that every Monday afternoon we will be at co-op, I need to plan my curriculum with that in mind. I wouldn’t want to plan schooling so tightly that we would be behind in our studies from “missing out” on a Monday afternoon of book work.
– If I like to plan field trips or be a part of 4-H, Keepers At Home or other clubs, I need to keep all that in mind as I think about what I want to accomplish in our curriculum over the year.
4.) Research your choices
– With all the above in mind, really take some time to research what’s best for your family. Think about things like:
- Is there anything I can buy that will cover more than one child?
- Is there anything I can find that will meet several of our needs – meeting particular learning styles, filling the “holes” from last year, and helping me include more CM style learning?
– I use catalogs, the internet, used curriculum sales, our state homeschool convention and a local Christian/homeschooling bookstore when researching.
– I often buy things I’m not sure about from used sources so I haven’t wasted a lot of money if it doesn’t work. Internet selling sites are my friends when a bad choice has been made! 🙂
5.) Write out a plan for each child to be sure everything:
– is being covered (Make sure you haven’t forgotten math or something!)
– is well balanced (You haven’t overloaded the schedule, but at the same time you have enough.)
– really fits the learning style of that particular child
– pulls the kids together as much as possible
– won’t overwhelm you!
6.) Gather supplies
– don’t be afraid to make mistakes
– don’t be afraid to make changes
– don’t be afraid to stick with something and give it another chance
It’s funny that as I type this, I’m simply ready for this year to be finished! It’s been a long year with a toddler running around. We only have four more weeks to go!! Once our year is over and I have a few moments to sit on the porch swing with the sun in my face, I’ll be ready to cart the catalogs out with me. 🙂