5 Steps to Plan Your Homeschool Year

Whether you plan out your entire homeschool year at one sitting or take it one day at a time, it is helpful to have a basic game plan. Below are some steps to take to ensure that your new school year is successful. 

Choose your subjects

Make a list of subjects you would like to teach your student. Having a list of subjects will help you save time researching curriculum and organizing your homeschool schedule.

• Set goals


Set goals that you and your student want to achieve throughout the year. They could include subjects to improve in, skills to develop, or test scores to achieve. Make sure to establish goals that are attainable and measurable so that you and your student can stay focused and motivated.

 Evaluate methods & teaching philosophies

You don't have to decide on a method or philosophy and stick to it for the entirety of your homeschooling career. One of the advantages of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility to adjust these methods to your needs, and you will find your educational philosophy constantly evolving as you continue your journey. However, it is helpful to learn more about some of the existing methods and philosophies and adopt the ones that align with your own needs and beliefs. Here are five of the most popular homeschooling approaches to help you get started.

     1. Traditional

      - Uses traditional textbooks, workbooks, and teachers manuals.

      - Things to consider: Did your child perform well in a classroom setting? Do they like to complete assignments with detailed goals and set      deadlines? Are you comfortable with following through with the lesson plans and pacing the course of lessons?

     2. Classical

      - Learning through three different stages called the Trivium:

      1) Grammar stage - Elementary years that helps the student develop basic language and math skills

      2) Logic stage - Middle school years that equips the student with language and thinking skills to develop the ability to detect fallacies in an argument

      3) Rhetoric stage - High school years to help the student to use language, both written and spoken, effectively and persuasively

      - Things to consider: Does your child like to read literature? Are you comfortable learning materials yourself and teaching your child?

     3. Charlotte Mason

      - Charlotte Mason was a classical educator who believed that the child is a person that needs to be educated as a whole person.

      - The Charlotte Mason method puts an emphasis on the importance of a child-directed observational approach on teaching with “living books” rather than textbooks.

      - Things to consider: Does your child learn better through stories, biographies, nature walks, and other “living books” than traditional textbooks? Do you value outdoor adventure time? Do you feel comfortable with letting your student decide what and how to study?

     4. Unit Studies

      - Unit studies adopts a specific topic or subject of interest to develop in-depth learning plans that cover multiple subjects like math, language arts, history, science, and art.

      - Things to consider: Are you looking to teach your child responsibility and self-awareness through self-directed learning experience? Do you want to make learning fun and teach different subjects simultaneously through overarching topics?

     5. Unschooling

      - Unschooling is a free-form approach to homeschooling that does not use any curriculum or formal lesson plans. Unschooling focuses on the student’s interests with an emphasis on hands-on activities.

      - Things to consider: Are you looking to let your child explore their own academic interests with an open mind? Do you feel comfortable with providing minimal guidance and structure to your child’s education?

 Research Curriculum Choices

Often the most difficult task of homeschooling your child is locating the correct tools that work with your teaching methods and your student's learning style. For the most part, there is no "one-size-fits-all" curriculum available.  It is beneficial to take the time to read both the positive and negative reviews for curriculum or books that interest you, talk with other homeschool families about what is working for them and visit curriculum supplier websites to find free samples and trials to evaluate. 

 Create a Homeschool Game Plan

Once you have decided upon your subjects, goals, methodology and curriculum, the next step is to create a basic plan of action. Some families prefer to schedule the entire year into a planner of some kind while others may plan month-to-month, week-to-week or even day-to-day. What they all have in common is their vision of what they want to accomplish for a given time frame. When creating a game plan for your homeschool, it helps to lay out a road map of what goals you wish to reach for that time period and decide on the best course of action for reaching those goals. Whether you create a detailed course of study or a generalized list of things to cover, having a game plan provides a specific path to follow and equips you with the tools for success.