Monday, January 2, 2017

This Is How We Homeschool - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 1

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This Is How We Homeschool - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 1 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #lessonplans

Welcome to "See How We Learn" and the first week of the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair, hosted by Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Don't worry - I'm not going to detail every little thing we do in our homeschool! Probably no one is that interested, and it would likely prove somewhat embarrassing to me and my student. What I will share is an overview of our planning and approach, and how we apply the plan to our everyday homeschool.

This Is How We Homeschool - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 1 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #lessonplans

One of the things I do each summer as I'm preparing for a new school year to start is choose a School Scripture that provides a sort of theme or mission statement for our homeschool. This year, although I only have one student, I couldn't choose so I have two School Scriptures! Being reminded of what is more important than just academics helps me focus on our priority of discipling our children.

This Is How We Homeschool - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 1 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #lessonplans

This Is How We Homeschool - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 1 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #lessonplans

I do a lot of my planning the old-fashioned way, with paper and pencil, and sketch out a general plan of how to spread out the schoolwork over the year, so that we know in general how many pages/lessons/chapters of each subject to cover in an average week. I block out things like vacation and Christmas break on the calendar, as much as I can, and then mark out thirty-six school weeks.

From there I can move on to assigning lessons using  Homeschool Tracker Online. By using this wonderful program, I can view or update our schedules, records, lesson plans, grades, and reporting from my desktop or my laptop, and from anywhere I have internet access. It's my record of grades and credits, so it's easy for me to calculate quarterly or semester grades, or even our own transcript! Lesson Plans in the Tracker can be saved to use again with another student, so many of the lesson plans I'm using for Kennady were created for my older kids, saving me time now. All I have to do is tell the Tracker when to schedule the assignments! (There are shared lesson plans available in the program as well, meaning that if someone else has already created a lesson plan for a particular curriculum and submitted it to the HST community, you can use it!) I usually assign about a month's worth of lessons at a time, and print the assignment lists for Kennady to check off as she completes them. It's also very easy to reschedule anything we need to if we are moving faster or slower than anticipated, or decide not to do a particular lesson for some reason.

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I prefer to keep my lesson plans and assignment lists fairly simple, so we can more easily adjust if needed. Staying on top of the grading is important too, although it's also one of my biggest challenges in homeschooling! I also keep a Four-Year Plan for High School - in pencil! - that I start when my students start eighth grade. It's pretty easy to plot out the required credits and start filling in the options and extras based on each kid's interests and goals.

This Is How We Homeschool - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 1 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #lessonplans

You can find information and free forms at HSLDA's Homeschooling Through High School page to help you plan. also offers a lot of planning help and forms you can use. (Edited: It appears these are no longer free, but available for subscribers. Check Donna Young's website for details.) For four-year planning pages and all kinds of other record-keeping and planning helps, visit They have tons of resources for planning and record-keeping included with the low membership price.

For us, the school year usually starts according to plan and chugs along pretty good for several weeks, but inevitably something unforeseen interrupts our rhythm and we have to find our way again. I am pretty sure we're not the only homeschool family that faces this dilemma. This is where those flexible plans, with room to change and adjust, come in handy. And that school calendar that included more school days than we technically need is helpful too. Yes, we have a routine - full school days on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday; half day with gym on Tuesday - and we have expectations that we'll work on History and Math every day, for example. But when we have houseguests, or interruptions to the schedule, or are too sick to get much done; we just adjust course and move on. Somehow we always manage to be pretty close to finished by the time I have to submit the year's final grades.

This year is no exception, as we've done less school during most of December than I'd anticipated. But that's because my parents are here visiting, and call me crazy, but spending time with them is more important than staying rigidly on track in Science. So I'm not too worried - we'll just catch up starting next week. Also I started a new part-time job that will have me working two days a week, so that's something else that we'll have to consider as we tweak the calendar going forward.

How do you plan out your school year and stay on track? Leave a comment and let me know! Also, please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers as they share thoughts on "See How We Learn/Welcome to the Fair" in this week's Virtual Curriculum Fair.

This post is part of the Virtual Curriculum Fair 2017. This year the Virtual Curriculum Fair is hosted by Susan at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds. Visit my fellow bloggers listed below and "See How We Learn" (all posts will be live by noon EST on January 2, 2017)!

This Is How We Homeschool - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 1 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #lessonplans

The Evolution of Our Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Us-School Because We Are Us, Not Someone Else by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

It's All About the School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

New Year, New Goals, New School! by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Homeschooling - A Glimpse into How We Do it by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Spotlight on How We Learn in Our Homeschool by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Our Unique Eclectic Homeschool  by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

How We Learn on the Go by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

Home Education - 10 Ways We Make It Work by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Education at Our House by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Starting the Day Well by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Loving the Moment! by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind

Keeping Our Homeschool Organized by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

How We Choose Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom's Heart

This Is How We Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Learning Our Way by Lisa @ McClanahan 7

2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair: See How We Learn by Dana L @ Luv'N Lambert Life

This Is How We Homeschool - Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 1 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #hsCurriculumFair #homeschool #lessonplans

This post is linked at the Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop hosted by Embracing Destiny and nine other blogs.

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8 comments: said...

I love the 4-year plan! I do that too : )

Jennifer said...

Our December was a slower time for lessons, too. That will change next week. I love how you choose specific verses for each school year.

Four Little Penguins said...

I love your Scriptures!
I would love to hear more about your high school plans.

Brittney said...

I'm a fairly relaxed (or um, undisciplined?) planner. "This is the curriculum we're using this year" and flipping through the manual is about the extent of my planning. From there, we just move from one day to the next. But my kids aren't high school yet, so I've got time to get more disciplined.

Michele said...

I am a paper planner too! Love the idea of yearly scriptures- also great for scripture memory!

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing how you make your plans. :)

P.S. I don't think Donna Young's forms are still free---she offers a paid subscription which allows you to log in and download them.

Kym said...

Susan - thanks for the heads-up about Donna Young. The last time I checked she did have some free ones. I will update.

Tina said...

Hi, I'm stopping over from Biblical Womanhood. It looks like you have a great homeschool blog! I wish I had found you several years ago when I was homeschooling my daughter.

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