Preparing for a new year homeschooling is always a process for me.
There are things to think about, things to gather, and things to buy. After 15 years I have a pretty good system of planning that works very well.
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1. Decide with your husband and family what your goals are for the year. Pray about them. A simple conversation about what you want to cover (if your husband is involved in this aspect– mine isn’t) will go a long way to being on the same page, so to speak. My husband and I do discuss certain goals for the boys, vacations, and bigger projects or outings he plans to do with them that I will need to work around.
2. Pre-read your teacher’s manuals. Many of them give preparation instructions for getting started. Plan ahead!
3. Get to know your book lists. Verify that your library carries the titles you need. If they don’t, order your remaining books far enough ahead that you will have them when you start school.
4. Print out all worksheets and instruction guides from any eBooks you are using. In this day of digital curriculum, like All American History Jr. and Illuminations , it’s not unusual to have a long list of things to print out.
5. Buy pre-punched printer paper for printing! I can’t stress this enough. Even if you have a 3-hole punch, if you’re planning on printing hundreds of pages you will appreciate having printer paper that already has the holes in it. I found some pre-punched printer paper at Amazon that is a full $3 cheaper than I paid at Office Depot the other day. (Darn it!) Shop around!
6. Take advantage of the those back-to-school sales. Do you have to? No, of course not. But at what other time will you find glue sticks at three 2-packs for $1? You can get everything from spiral notebooks to pens and pencils and really nice binders dirt cheap right now.
7. Start gathering project and science experiment supplies. You can collect them in labeled shoeboxes or gallon freezer bags and store them for when you need them. Better to be prepared than have to skip a neat experiment because you forgot to save a jar or purchase something simple!
8. Make use of binder tabs. The ones I prefer to use can be written on with permanent marker. I get the 8-packs, and use them for my printed out curriculum instruction manuals and for the kids’ school notebooks. Again, shop the sales. The prices on these can range anywhere between $2.29-$8 depending on where you go.
9. Set aside a place to keep all of your curriculum, and a place for your kids to keep their own books and supplies. I find that when things are scattered around, we can’t find what we need and things end up being skipped due to disorganization. Sad excuse, but it happens!
10. If you are using a lesson planner or lesson plan software, begin entering your information into those. Get a jump on things! Pre-write as much as is reasonable for your teaching style. Even a simple list of every grammar assignment for the year is a help, because you can plug those assignments into your planner where they fit later on. That may sound like a lot, but later on you’ll be glad you did it!