The thought of homeschooling for most people is some kind of idealized, utopian, perfect scenario that will never fucking happen. I get it. You won’t catch me complaining, well not much anyway. It’s a blessing to be able to do it. I know. I happen to be a self-employed, sorta SAHM (stay at home mom) that has the luxury and the time. My husband, my in laws, my parents, and my social circle are tremendously supportive. These things are key to success.
Homeschooling is not for everyone. It’s just not. If you can’t do it, or don’t want to do it, don’t force it. Trust me. It takes a tremendous amount of dedication, patience and not to mention, endless hours of research. If you don’t like research, don’t do it. Again, trust me. It never ends. The older they get, the MORE research you have to do. So if you’ve decided to take this path then buckle down, you’re in for the ride of your life.
When I was trying to figure it all out, the internet was obviously a great resource. There are a TON of blogs and free stuff to get you going, give you ideas, and inspire you when you’re feeling down. The local library is also a great place to go. I highly recommend it. It is also the best place to check out books to support your lessons, since buying everything can get rather costly. We do a combination of child-led learning, structured lessons, and play learning. I’ll go into each of those in later posts.
After who knows how many hours of reading blogs and websites and searching for curriculum ideas, I stumbled upon the most magical book in the world. It’s entitled Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp.
In this book she outlines what children need to learn year by year from preschool through high school. When I say it’s invaluable, I mean it’s the holy fucking grail of homeschooling resources. Seriously, buy a copy or two right now. Armed with this and a good handle on google searches and you are on your way to lesson planning bliss! I’m not joking. This book completely changed my entire life. Here’s how I used it…
Step 1: I grabbed a large, sturdy, hardback sketchbook that would serve as my lesson plan book for the year.
Step 2: At the top of the first page I wrote down all the themes, colors, animals, and favorite whatevers each kid was into.
Step 3: I looked up the grade level info for each child, and made a list on the first pages of the book of EVERYTHING they should know by the end of the year for each subject area. My main categories include: Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Art, Music, Health & Physical Education, Home Economics/Practical Skills, History & Geography, and Miscellaneous. Under MISC, add whatever is important to you and your family. Spirituality or Religion for example. I’ve added mindfulness, theatre, show and tell, and storytelling this year.
That’s it. Easy peasy. Now, once a week or (once a month if you prefer), I simply choose from the list and build a lesson plan from those topics. This is really cool for me who is really free flowing and moody. Some weeks I’m just not into doing the “hard stuff” so we do more play or more fun lessons. Having the master list however, keeps me on track so I don’t stray too far away from the “more important” stuff.
That’s all for now. Go get that book! Here’s the link again. Click HERE.