New Year Preparations

3-20150123_065101Encouragement for new homeschool moms ~

About 3 months before our new South African school year starts,  I feel the urge to prepare.

I have shared how we have used, re-used and re-used our curriculums = very little preparation.

Other years I have created eclectic curriculums = lots of preparation.

Most years I stretched out a 12-month curriculum to 18 months or longer.  (This is my most often repeated advice to any new homeschooler – don’t be a slave to the schedule,  merely follow it as a guideline.)

Here’s how I prepare ~

1.  Schedule and sequence the work

  • A year plan or overview is essential – I love to pencil in the subjects, spine books and topics on my Home Centred Learning Model outline.
  • Next I plot in the work for each month on a planning page.   Often this is a tailor-made curriculum.
  • Google calendar is an excellent planning tool, where I save links, websites, downloads and URLs to go with each lesson.
  • For high schoolers, enrol with the relevant exam board or authority ,or ensure your curriculum meets qualifying exam requirements.  This includes obtaining identity documents and meeting deadlines for fees and exam dates.

2. Source the materials

  • Collect, browse, purchase or borrow books to form the spine of the curriculum.
  • Often my entire year’s school work costs me nothing more than ink and paper for printouts of free downloads.  Check out my links for free homeschool websites and blogs.
  • Add a fun hands-on activity for some your themes and plan in time for tangents.
  • Often I ask my child to lead the learning and look for materials, approaches and ideas to facilitate her learning.
  • Book tutor sessions for high schoolers if required.

3. Sort and store

  • I sort out our bookshelves and store any books we want to keep, but can’t display.
  • Coloured labels keep books from different curriculums together.  I share, donate or sell my books I no longer need.

4. Shelf space for each child

  • Each child has their own space on our bookshelves for their school books,  maths sets, arts and crafts.
  • Our fabric storage boxes have been a huge success.  All the odd bits and bobs are hidden from view, but easily at hand.

5. Sneaky preview

Over the years, I have found that my kids can’t wait to start their new curriculum if I give them a preview. They are intrigued and curious about their new books. In our early years our best days were when the kids opened a brand new Sonlight homeschool curriculum delivery.

5.  Start slowly

  • Gently ease into the full schedule. This may take a few days or weeks.
  • Start with simple basics like the 3R’s – reading, handwriting and maths
  • Or start with the Core book or Read Aloud that leads the subjects and theme.
  • Use a Theme of the Day to bring in all the extras such as Nature Study, Fine Arts and Creative Writing.
    Theme of the Day 2014
  • Remember a gentle, living education for young children, toddlers and kindergarten children – you do NOT need a formal curriculum!

Be encouraged to “start again” at any time … when illnesses or crisis knocks homeschooling for a loop, when you hit a wall, when there are emergencies, when change and uncertainty fills your home  …  pause … breathe …

I pray , “Lord, what do we need to focus on right now?”

He will lead you in peace.  Pop over to my planning and organization page for your free pages.

Blessings as you prepare.

5 thoughts on “New Year Preparations

  1. Pingback: 25 Smartphone Homeschool Apps | Practical Pages

  2. Thank you, Nadene, for your lovely blog! You are so encouraging… The more years I homeschool, the more unraveling I do of the way I learned school should “look” as a public school teacher. This year (our son’s grade 7-… ish) has been the best one so far. Three things we did this year: 1) We stopped worrying about “finishing” anything. If we don’t finish, we’ll continue until we do. OR not. 2) We have much more “unschooling” time, so he can explore his own interests: html coding, stop-motion photography, ushering at church. 3) We plan our daily agenda collaboratively – better buy-in = better learning! {and less stress for mom!} — Peace to you, my friend!


  3. Pingback: What 3 Ingredients? | Practical Pages

  4. Thank you so much for your posts. Your blog is such a blessing and has been for a number of years now through my highs and lows of home schooling. You are real and because this isn’t a business for you it really blesses others. I trust you are somehow blessed also through all you give to us on the other side of the world. This post is great timing for me. thanks.


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