My Slow Summer Planning

a mom does planning with pencil and sticky notes in hand

Homeschool moms have sonar hearing for words like planner, list, and curriculum sales. We find joy in laying out the school year to come, as we should! The anticipation of an upcoming school year is a great motivator, but sometimes we can let the planning get in the way of other things that are really important too — things like enjoying the summer months and the break you have from school. Or we let stress and worry seep in while we plan. Or, worse of all, we can overlook the ones who we’re actually doing this for—our kids!

So instead of panicking about the school planning, checking off all the boxes I’ve created for myself, and worrying about messing up this whole homeschooling thing, I’ve decided I’m going to plan slowly this summer.

Why slowly? Why not just get it all over with as quickly as possible?

Well, because like most of you, I love to plan! I don’t want to skip all the necessary planning steps or rush through and order a bunch of new stuff simply to say I’ve gotten our curriculum shopping done. But I don’t have a ton of time to commit to planning all at once, and I want to get some things checked off my planning list right away so I can feel better about not getting the nitty gritty planning done until later in the summer.

So, I’ve decided to start planning slowly and in stages. In June, I will do a few things that are really important but don’t take too much time so that I can be mentally cleared of debris and have the needed direction to finish planning later this summer. Here’s how I’m going to plan slowly this summer.

Evaluate the Previous Year (1 hour)

I’ve decided we worked way too hard last school year with the goal of completing our material so we can move on to the next program. I want to savor the old for a bit first. I sat down with a notebook specifically dedicated to planning our new school year and listed the following:

  • What we did well this past year
  • Why those things went so well (so I can do it again!)
  • What we did not do so well 
  • What hindered us in these sticky areas (so I can avoid that next year!)

I don’t want to breeze onto the next year before I fully grasp all the awesomeness from the year we just finished and figure out how what we did well and not so well so this next year can be even better. Let’s learn from our successes and our mishaps too!

Start with a Year-at-a-Glance Calendar (30 minutes)

My Slow Summer PlanningLaying out a framework for our school year feels like we’ve just accomplished a ton even when it only takes about 30 minutes or so. Print out one of those year-at-a-glance calendar pages. Using your state guidelines if you have them, choose your start date and projected end date of school. Block out holiday breaks and spring or fall breaks if you take them. Block out any other time you know your family needs to take off of school.

Consult your family calendar to make sure you don’t forget anything. Use a highlighter to mark these dates off so you can easily see what’s left for weeks of your school year. This is your framework! Wasn’t that easy!? Now put it in your planning folder or notebook to save it for later. 

Repurpose and Purge Curriculum Before Purchasing (20 minutes/bookshelf) 

We love to order curriculum don’t we?!! It’s like Christmas in July getting those boxes filled with new books, delivered to your doorstep! But before you get too swipe-happy, evaluate what you already have on your shelves. Get your coffee, sit down and set your timer for 20 minutes to go through one shelf at a time. Make a donate pile and add all the things that either didn’t work or your know you won’t be using in the future.

With the things that are left, tidy up. Make sure all the subject content is together: science materials, history references, math books, etc. When you see what you have, you’ll know what you need. When it comes time, you can easily make your shopping list.  

Create a Course of Study (1 hour)

Before you get immersed in the nitty gritty of weekly and daily planning or exactly what curriculum you’re going to order, plan your course of study. Decide what each child for each grade is going to cover and list that in your notebook. Look at your history, science, and art and jot down what big topics you’ll cover. After this is finished, you’ll be able to shop for curriculum, create your weekly and daily schedules, organize the rest of your school space and add to your bookshelves before next year.

See? We don’t need to make things harder then they are. In just a few hours, you will have accomplished a ton of planning and be well on your way for a fabulous homeschool year! Happy planning!

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About the Author

AliciaAlicia Hutchinson is the homeschooling mom to four.  She and her children love reading and history and exploring outside. They are just settling into their new home in the Minneapolis area, where they just relocated from North Carolina.

You can read more about Alicia and their homeschooling adventures, current projects, and thoughts on motherhood at her blog Investing Love.