I struggled for many years on how to get ready for our homeschool year. Pulling curriculum together, schedules, chores, activities and so on was a nightmare. This preparation happened at the end of our summer for me because during the summer all of my time is devoted to having fun. Preparing has evolved for me into a more methodical action than random.
As with everything I had to work on my homeschool prep in alignment with how my brain works. I do lists. Lists work very well for my random thoughts, lack of concentration on one thing and ADD issues. Homeschool prep this year started with an overall brain dump. I needed to visually see everything that I needed to have done before school started. So, I grabbed a piece of paper and walked around to get an idea of what needed to go on the paper. Before my brain could switch gears because I was seeing so many other things to do, I sat down with my pen and paper. All of my “to do’s ” went on the this list.
From this stemmed another list. Yes. Another list. My thinking process is to breakdown a list, then breakdown each item on the list. As I worked through my homeschool list I took a big green highlighter and marked it off. That is a visual action that took place for me to see progress. I have a tendency to quit if I begin to feel overwhelmed. By the time I was done I had used almost 23 sheets of paper, but I have a well organized homeschool prep plan. This will be saved from year to year now so that I do not reinvent the wheel.
Lists help with prioritizing. That was a big problem that I had. It seemed that I could not move forward and was working in circles. Part of the problem was my “I can wing” this plan. Do NOT wing the homeschool prep. Stress will happen with this attitude.
Make a List
Making a list helps to see everything that needs to be done from file folder games to art projects. Sorting curriculum to creating a scope and sequence. Lists are very helpful even if they are really long like mine. My worst fear is to start school and have to take time later to put something together that I forgot. Lists help with planning. Planning is great for homeschool moms.
Lists create structure. Homeschool operates best with structure. Not minute by minute structure bu an overall plan. Most projects need an overall structure or outline and homeschool is no different.
Lay Out All Curriculum for Kids
Seeing the project helps visualize the steps. Each subject, for each child laid out on a flat surface like a table. Label the subject, or label who will be working on this curriculum. Label to make it easier to break down. Walking by a big sign that has someone’s name on it helps move the planning process forward.
Looking at each subject to get a better understanding of how to break it down is helpful. Homeschooling is one of the most important jobs . Outlining the subject and what will be taught is going to help in the daily plan and yearly plan. Have a clear start and a clear end.
A visual for the year is critical so that at the end of the year it is not a scramble to finish or the realization that homeschool may continue into summer break.
Start On the List
Now, that the list is made and a lot of time has been spent making the list….use it! I tell my kids to eat an elephant one bite at a time. When I had completely finished my homeschool prep list it was long. I mean there were about twenty items on my list and curriculum books were stacked high. Seeing all of this actually shortened my preparation process. I had a clear plan to execute. Starting with the first item on my list I completed it. Then marked it off.
As I worked my way down the list, I added any manipulative to the stack that I may need. Activities, printables, ideas on post it notes, whatever went with that subject that I was working on. Don’t leave anything out until the end is at sight.
Another important part of the list making process is having a timeline. Will this homeschool prep project be worked on daily? All in one day? A little each day over the summer? I had to be realistic and do my prep in August. My time was broken down into four big chunks of 3 hours each. I labeled each step that I was taking so that I knew what would be done in each segment. Nothing would make my husband less happy than knowing he had helped me with the kids only to have me not finish a project. I mean really he can only afford to take them to skyzone so many times!
Parts that I added into my timeline were: shop for materials, plan games, gym activities, games to match subjects, manipulatives to guide learning, organizing everything for each subject and finally putting everything in an organized area to begin the school year. Leaving this project on our ping pong table for weeks at a time was not a good idea.
Homeschool Prep Completion
Starting school this year will be fun. I have all of my hard work behind me. The first day will be exciting and memorable instead of dreaded because I am prepared. Try the list making method to see if it works for you.