How Do You Plan For Next Year’s Curriculum?

Choosing homeschooling curriculum

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.   🙂

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