Getting Ready for a Hands On School Year

homeschool planning

I don’t know about you, but I love Back to School time.  I wander through the aisles of Target, Wal-Mart, and my local grocery store looking at all the new school supplies.  I dream about what we’re going to do, the new year has so much promise.

When I took history in high school my teacher said there are 3 rules to determine why something is important: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.  You could say a similar thing about making your homeschool hands on: planning, planning, planning.

Those are 3 different types of planning, and all of them are important at the beginning of the school year.

Plan your curriculum

I go through my curriculum for the year and plan out general ideas of what I want to do.  I break lessons down into manageable chunks, I look at teacher manuals to see what we want to do.  After I’ve done that I go to the blogs I read, and to pinterest.  I’ve got boards set up for all of the different curriculum I might use.  This year we’re studying Land Animals with Apologia, so I check out my pinterest board there for that.  I already have a board for astronomy and botany, but I don’t plan on teaching that for a few years, but you never know when you will see something.  I run a weekly science linky and get a lot of ideas that way.  Find places that have what you’re looking for.  Organize you ideas online in a way you can find them.  I’ve divided it into something that makes sense to me, but that may not be what makes sense to you.

What cross-curricular connections do you want to make?  We’re studying All American History 2, and there are several inventors we’re going to learn about to bring science in.  I’m also using Heritage History for living books.  My goal for the day I’m writing this post is to correlate the books and short stories I have with the lessons in a realistic way.  I’m rather notorious for trying to cram too much into a day, and frustrating my kids or over-stimulating them.

Plan your materials

Right now all of those wonderful craft supplies are incredibly cheap.  Stores are begging you to buy them.  Buy extra glue and gluesticks, not just for all of those art projects you’re going to do in the coming year, but also to be able to give to your church or help out a local school that may not have the funds to buy this.  Buy extra crayons now for Operation Christmas Child.  I have a large stockpile of crayons, so I haven’t needed to buy them for a few years, but we go through glue like crazy.  Think about any science experiments you want to do.  Often those can use what you have in your house.  Recently we explored the food chain and used my kids toys.  I didn’t have to buy anything, but we did need to find all of the required toys.

Plan your time

I’ll tell you right now this is where I fail.  I get distracted by one more thing on the computer or a good book I’m reading.  Put in the time to do those hands on things.  Find one thing each day you can put a little more time into.  For me recently it’s been coloring.  My kids have been enjoying coloring pictures and drawing pictures of what they’re studying.  They remember so much more when they have a picture to go with it.  So, I’m working on finding more things for them to color.  I’ve found that for history, but I think I need to spend time searching online for pictures of different land animals.


Have you started planning for your new school year?  I’m trying to be patient and not jump in before I’m ready, but it is so hard and against my nature.

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