Planning for a Delightful Homeschool Year
You are so ready! It’s going to be the best year ever and you know without a doubt that you can plan your homeschool.
You sit down with your freshly printed homeschool planner pages, a steaming cup of coffee, and your favorite pen. It is time to plan the most amazing homeschool year ever.
But your coffee cools as you sit there looking at blank pages. The overwhelm starts to creep in. The doubts begin to whisper. The thousand and one booklists you perused begin to spin uncontrollably in your mind. Your palms begin to get clammy as you wonder if you really can do this thing.
Did you choose the right books? Did you consider your child’s strengths? Did you wonder off the path of your chosen homeschooling method?
All of a sudden the peaceful pleasant pictures of read alouds on the couch, morning time with the whole family together, giggles over tea . . . are replaced by the one piece of art you can recall under duress.
Please pause, friend. Take a breath.
It’s okay. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or scary or super involved.
What’s most important is this –
Yes, my friend. You absolutely can plan a delightful homeschool! You just need a little jumpstart to get you going. And we’re going to help.
The Charlotte Mason Mother’s Homeschool Designer – Updated for 2021-2022
Here’s a video how-to for you if you’re a visual person. I walk you through my setup of these 32 pages of delightful homeschool creation to give you some ideas for your own. You don’t even have to be a Charlotte Mason lover to use them!
I’m also going to walk you through the steps with photos if you prefer that method. We will be linking the planning posts coming up here as well so you can work through these whenever you need a refresh.
*PLEASE* remember that we each have unique students, unique learning challenges, unique schedules, homeschooling methods and personal taste to account for. Don’t think for a second that our way is the *best* way. It’s just the best way for our family at this time. Take what works for you and leave the rest behind!
First things first. Print your planning sheets and decide how to keep them together. I love using my Happy Planner punch, discs, and the cover I got from this lovely Etsy shop here. We also have a subscription to HP Instant Ink, and it’s been awesome for 3 years. If you print a lot, it’s definitely worth looking into.
A 3 ring binder or other disc system works just as well.
Putting together your plan – begin with your foundations.
Use the Mother’s Journal pages to write out your reasons for homeschooling, what you want to accomplish, and how you are going to do it.
Our example – We want to use our time with the boys to prepare them for Kingdom work. We are doing this by working on the habit of personal daily devotional time, using Our 24 Family Ways, and by building our relationships through a dedicated family game night each week. (Side note– building the relationships with your children allows you to reach their hearts, don’t neglect spending time on this!) Then we tackle the academics briefly by objectives, curriculum, schedule adjustments, and the goal to add more hands-on activities this year.
Note: If your curriculum needs major adjustments, spend time doing that. Ask yourself if it’s the curriculum causing the issues or if you just need to utilize it differently. Curriculum is not your master, you tell the curriculum what to do. If you need guidance for how to make the curriculum work for you so you don’t have to get a whole new curriculum, Amy has a wonderful guide here!
We are advocates for recognizing the child as a person. One way we do that is by teaching in a way that our children’s strengths shine and their challenges are both minimized and allowed to progress at the rate that works best for our children. This means we use a lot of audiobooks in conjunction with print books, we do lots of hands-on and experiential learning, and we use a fair number of documentaries. Don’t be afraid to use the tools available to us. Whatever methods help your student progress with confidence, use those!
Print our Homeschool Mom’s Serenity Prayer and refer to it as needed. Mine is in the front of my homeschool planner. Make of that what you will 😉
This print by itself is also available in our shop here.
Enjoy our 2021/2022 tea and books calendar. It’s a monthly spread calendar to help you keep up with the days. If you prefer a larger weekly spread, there are some here in our Charlotte Mason Complete Homeschool Planner. That’s also where the Charlotte Mason quote pages I use for dividers are from.
We plan for “quarters” but these sheets are easily used for 3 terms, too. Our family chooses to actively school year round so our schedule is a little different than some. The planning sheets include areas for:
- Read Aloud selections
- Poetry memory work
- Bible memory work
- Artist study
- Art projects and lessons
- Composer study and music appreciation
- Foreign language enrichment
- Nature Journal activities
- Service activities
- Home/Life skills
- Kitchen concpets
- Additional enrichment
- Family Activities
These sheets work well for us because our home atmosphere and actions revolve around education as a life. We know that what we do together daily is as important in educating our boys as what we “learn” from books. It’s better for my planning not to try and separate the two.
The Habit of Consistency is important. Tracking a habit is really the only way to know if we are making progress in the right direction and these sheets are to help you do just that. We check off the completed Minimum Successful Homeschool Days for the month, list new skills learnt, make notes of things we have happening that month, and record notes and quotes from the month. Easy peasy homeschool habit tracking.
Our student evaluation sheets are to help you identify strengths and challenges your student has both academically and personally. Choose a Scripture to pray for your child, and record something you love about your child’s personality. Keeping these sheets and looking back over them is a lovely way to see how your children, and yourself, have grown over time.
Our attendance tracker is setup to record 36 weeks of academics. Nothing fancy, so if your state requires more than checking off the hours, you might need a different sheet for this.
The reading record sheet allows you to track the title, author, the rating your child gives the book, and your rating of their narration. We only use these for assigned readings, not for free readings. And if you’re looking for some delightful free reads, we have our top Christian Adventure series listed here.
Habits are either a source of joy or a source of frustration for moms. We know why Charlotte Mason placed such high regard on the formation of habits. These pages are meant to be a tool to help you plan out the habit training of your students, and even for yourself if needed. (And I for one have several habits I need to replace with better ones!)
To begin, you need to define what this habit looks like for your family. Then find appropriate memory work and Scriptures to help you along the way. Add in some stories, games, or activities to help the habit stick and keep patiently plugging away at the development of your new and awesome habits.
Charlotte Mason motherhood is a beautiful thing. These book lists will help you track your own self-education through the art of mother culture, also know as reading stiff books, moderately easy books, and novels. (Even mothers are not allowed twaddle, though, so keep the novels respectable 😉 ). If you’re needing a bit of explanation on what sort of books are which, I talk about that in the video above.
And the daily habit tracker for moms. Mine is in a menu and I use these china pencils to color in and check off what I need to. If you want to print one for everyday, you can, but I find that to be a lot of paper, and this method works better for me. Track your well-doing tasks (you know, the daily stuff we have to work not to get tired of doing) like making the bed, drinking enough water, etc. Track your Minimum Successful Homeschool Day, what you read for the day, and things you want to remember.
The pages I don’t use but gave you anyway
I stink at meal planning. I have tried multiple times. I did use the 10 Easy Meals sheet for a long time, but have the meals memorized now. Updated for 2021: I made myself start planning more meals. The 10 Easy Meals are still go-to meals when I’m tired, and I’ve learned how to do more freezer meals I can just pop into the crockpot watching my friend Jamerrill over at Large Family Table. The cool thing about using the large family recipes for our family of 4 is that dinner leftovers make lunch a breeze the next day! So if you’re like me and struggle with the meal planning, keep working at it! It’s worth it even though it takes a while to get into the habit.
And we don’t utilize our local library. There, I said it. Please don’t throw tomatoes.
We racked up so many fines when the boys were younger because the library we like is 45 minutes one way, that it was more economical to use ThriftBooks or purchase used books off Amazon or from small bookshops. But if you’re a library user or meal planner, these sheets are included for you!
If you want to see how we structure our days, watch the last few minutes of the video above. Planning a lovely Charlotte Mason/eclectic homeschool is a little like making your own puzzle board and once you have your system down, it’s really fun to do. I promise!
Resources we use for our Charlotte Mason (slightly eclectic) homeschool:
Our number one homeschool curriculum is The Homeschool Garden Morning Time. We are also using:
- math from Simply Charlotte Mason
- Writing from IEW
- Art lessons from Masterpiece Society
- Apologia Swimming Creatures
- Pimsleur for conversational French
- and piano and guitar lessons