Saturday, April 12, 2014

When Do I Start Planning Curriculum for the Next School Year?

I'm a planner.  Big time.

In fact, I sometimes like planning more than doing.  Does that sound crazy?

I think it's because during the planning stage I'm in complete control.  I can envision things however I'd like without any stray details (called life) to get in my way.

Because I love it so much, I also tend to focus a little TOO much on what's coming up instead of what I'm doing right now.  As a result, I try to force myself to dwell in the present, to be thankful for what I have instead of longing for the fun of something new (sort of a grass is always greener complex).

So, then, when is a good time to start the planning process for a new school year?

Well, even though I try to stay in the present, I'm always sort of background planning.  As we make our way through our current curriculum (you can read about the choices we made for 2013-14 over here), I notice what does or does not work. 

I also read a few blogs that talk about different homeschool topics and occasionally I'll stumble across something that sounds pretty great (and then stick it in my Evernote homeschool folder, I'm a HUGE fan of Evernote).

I suppose those are more like note taking and a little less like actual full on planning.

About half way through the school year, I printed out a form I found online called Curriculum Resources. 

I got it from an amazing website.  If you've never visited Tyna's Dynamic Homeschool Plus, well then, you should.  You can make your very own planner or just pick out a few helpful pages like I did.  A lot of it is even editable.  And, guess what?  It's FREE!!!!  I know, I couldn't believe it either.

With one simple page I could write down those few observations I'd already made. 

I first noted the curriculum we already used and knew we wanted to continue.

Then, I stuck it in my binder and kept my eyes open for holes I needed/wanted to fill.  As I came across curriculum, I wrote it on my handy dandy sheet.

It worked fantastic.

Except for one small thing.  I probably should have used pencil.  Except I really don't like pencil.  Maybe I should invest in some erasable pens...I wonder if they work (anybody have any recommendations?).  I've made a few changes (as you can see by my scribbles) and a few more since this picture was taken.

I love that I can see at a glance my plans for each of my kids (in some cases our plans, my oldest has a lot of input on exactly what curriculum she uses).  It keeps me organized and feeling like I've got a head start on next year.

Once the school year is over, I'll turn this simple list into a more detailed spreadsheet of each item we'll need (some of the curriculum requires multiple purchases) along with costs.

Sometime in late July, I'll start to purchase our supplies so I have time to organize them in the school room before our new year starts in mid August.

When do you start to plan?  What's your favorite tool?

Happy Planning,

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