I’m a planner. I love to plan. When my babies were little I was already planning their kindergarten year of homeschool…seriously. LOL. I guess it was the teacher in me or something.
That said, there is something about planning with the end in mind. No, you don’t need to plan EVERYTHING out. No, you don’t even have to “get it right.” However, thinking through where you want your child to be when he/she graduates from high school can have a significant effect on how you plan your homeschool year-by-year.
[bctt tweet=”When your homeschool child graduates, what do you want them to know & stand for most? “]
Step 1: Create a Foundation of Education
I remember one of the first education courses I took in college. It was all about understanding the different philosophies of education and creating our own foundation of education to guide our steps as a teacher. Thus, when I began to think about teaching my own daughters, one of the first things I did was to sit down and create our Homeschool Foundation which would in turn, guide our decisions regarding curriculum, priorities, and extra curricular activities down the road.
Don’t know where to start? Begin by answering these questions, and you will have a good beginning to your own foundation of education.
- What/who do you want your child(ren) to stand for?
- What do you want your child(ren) to believe?
- What do you want your child(ren) to be prepared to do once they complete their homeschool education?
- What do you believe is your role in your child(ren)’s education?
- What style of homeschooling appeals to you and/or your child(ren)? Charlotte Mason? Classical Education? An eclectic view?
Need some more ideas to help you get started? Feel free to use our homeschool foundation as a guide. The importance of family, hard work, love of our Lord, and desire to always learn were among the most important things to us. Pray about it. Ask God to guide you as you analyze your priorities, and work together as a family to create your homeschool foundation.
Step 2: Look Up the Latest High School Recommendations
You may be thinking, “but my child is going into kindergarten, why does knowing what is expected of high schoolers matter?” I agree on one hand, but our goal today is to think long-term.
That said, what is currently recommended for high schoolers in your state? Or, what are colleges currently looking for on their applicants’ high school transcripts? If you live in Oklahoma, you can look up the current high school graduation requirements here and the current requirements from a state college here. If you live in another state, google “high school graduation requirements,” and I’m sure you will find a similar list.
The goal is to look up those requirements and then begin to think backwards about how you can help your child(ren) accomplish those goals (and/or whatever goals you would like to accomplish) by the time they are to graduate.
Step 3: Create a Long-Term Scope and Sequence
When you look at curriculum, one of the things that is often reviewed or included is the curriculum’s scope and sequence. A scope and sequence outlines the standards or expectations presented throughout each grade of the coursework. Most provide a scope and sequence by grade or course unit as well as a list suggesting the order the coursework should be presented.
[bctt tweet=”Planning with the end in mind is not about getting it right, it’s about having a place to start.”]
In thinking long-term with your homeschool, begin to think backwards (beginning with high school first) to create your ideal homeschool scope and sequence. Remember, this is NOT a fine-tuned science. This is your scope and sequence in an “ideal” world. Your child is not “ideal” so you will most likely NOT follow this scope and sequence exactly, but it will be a wonderful source to help guide you along as proceed through your homeschool.
When do you want your child to learn about American government? What kind of history cycle would you like your children to work through? Do you want history to start over every 3 years? 4 years? 6 years?
What kind of math level do you want them to have completed by graduation? Algebra II? Calculus? AP Calculus? Do you want to leave time in the schedule to allow them to further if they so desire?
While they may not obtain the goals you set today, if you want your children to have the option to complete a certain level of learning, plan for the opportunity. For instance, I planned in our Scope and Sequence a 12th grade year a choice. Meaning? I want most of their core curriculum finished by the time they are in 12th grade so they can explore what THEY want to explore during their 12th grade year whether that is cosmetology school, local college courses, or AP curriculum.
Since I created our Scope and Sequence several years ago, I have changed things numerous times as I’ve learned new ways of doing things, found resources that better fit my children’s personalities and gifts, and new curriculums have been released. Yet, I am so thankful to have taken the time to create a Scope and Sequence because it saves me hours in the planning stage come each new year.
Thanks to our Scope and Sequence, my beginning of the year analysis often looks like this:
- What do we want to accomplish this year?
- How does that fit in with our scope and sequence?
- What do I need to change, remove, or add to our scope and sequence to keep us on track to accomplish our end goals?
What subjects might you want to include in your scope and sequence? There are several subject options, but here is what we have included on our Scope and Sequence. Keep in mind that not all of these subjects are completed every year and some eventually morph into other subjects (like phonics into reading, spelling, and vocabulary).
- History/Social Studies
- Critical Thinking
- Foreign Language
- Technology & Business
- Physical Education
- Home Economics
Step 4: Analyze Your Child’s Learning Style
Cathy Duffy provides a good simple analysis as it relates to homeschool curriculum in her book 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. I’ve also enjoyed The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias for a good overview, and this article on Nitty Gritty Homeschooling is one of the most thorough introductions I’ve seen.
Take a look at your child’s personality and guage how you think they would learn best. A hands-on curriculum? A self-taught curriculum? A parent led curriculum? Some combination of all-the-above? Knowing your child’s personality will help you to choose a curriculum that will be a better fit for your child.
Step 5: Find Curriculum That Best Matches Your Scope and Sequence and Your Child’s Learning Style
Now comes the fun part–choosing the curriculum. What curriculums or resources can help you accomplish your year’s goals with your child’s learning style and YOUR teaching style in mind?
[bctt tweet=”When HS planning, ask: does it fit my child’s learning style, my teaching style, & our goals?”]
Do you need a planned curriculum like Truthquest, or would your child learn better just by reading books about that time period such as this Native American History Living Book List by Crystal Wagner?
Do you need something prepared for you such as a Reason for Handwriting, or do you think you could better tailor your child’s handwriting experience to coincide with other subjects he/she is studying (kind of like I did with these copywork printables)?
Having the end in mind can assure you that you are on track and where you want to go year-by-year. It’s kind of like that old saying, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Creating an editable Scope and Sequence does just that–it creates a plan so you won’t fail!
How do you plan for your new school year? Do you find it helpful to plan with the end in mind?