When you are working out how to homeschool - you will not only need to know WHAT you are teaching, but also the HOW: and what it would look like in your family.
HOW will you teach these subjects to reach your goals? This page helps you to see that knowing the type of homeschooling approach you use, will actually affect your planning.
In Step Four of my website, I discuss homeschool approaches and use questions to help you find a method which may suit your family. Of course, none of this is set in concrete and you even find that you may like a unit study approach when your children are younger and move to a more self directed approach as they mature and show their own interests. Or - you might begin with Charlotte Mason and move to Textbooks! .... Or the other way around... That's all fine!
How will your family homeschool? What will it "look" like?
Often families who begin to homeschool (especially if they have taken their children out of school) - try to implement a traditional 'school-at-home' approach - Independent workbooks or textbook style. Many families tend to find that this doesn't usually last long especially in a large family.
Having said that, I am aware of families who have successfully homeschooled their children all the way with textbooks. If you think that will really suit your child's learning style and fit the context of your home -then you will plan accordingly.
However, although the temptation is to order books for the whole year or even for years ahead, I would encourage you to take it slowly when you begin, because as you find your feet, you might find another approach may suit your family better and then you would have wasted many $$$. So, order some materials for a term or two, and see how it goes;
When you are creating your plans with a Textbook Approach in mind, you will need to work out the Subjects you will be teaching and find appropriate materials for your children. You may find that your child may need textbooks in different grade levels depending on their ability. Many textbook companies can help you with placement.
A text book approach may be an easier approach when it comes to scheduling - as you are mainly working through a book and its activities and moving from subject to subject through the day. Some subjects need daily attention and others you can schedule on a weekly basis. For example, you might plan a Science co-op or teach Science on a few afternoons, but you will most likely teach Math every day.
If you decide your family loves to work together, you might really like to try a unit study approach, or a literature based approach, reading aloud and doing all sorts of projects together to consolidate your learning. If that is the case, then you will probably like to plan blocks or units of work;
As you make your homeschool plan, you would choose books, projects, library visits and other excursions to supplement the study to support whatever topic it is that you choose to study.
When planning a Unit Study Approach - you will need to ask a number of questions:
The answers to your questions will lead you to make your homeschool plan over a course of a unit study. To find out more about how to plan your Unit Study and how to create a Unit Study for your family, read more about Your Complete Unit Study Planner.
As children grow, you will see a growing, natural curious mind at work; It is so exciting to watch children develop their own interests and you may then discover during the course of homeschooling, that your children will benefit from developing and planning their own self-directed learning.
You can do this formally if you like. To make your homeschool plan by using Self Directed Learning Contracts, you will need to consider:
You can do this with the help of the self directed learning contracts here.
Online Homeschooling? - Will your children learn best by an online course? If you think that using an online course will be the best way for your child, then spend some time to explore online homeschooling courses and try them out.
When considering online homeschooling, remember that you can pick and choose which subject may be taught through an online course and which subjects you may teach via textbooks/ unit study/ literature approach etc.
If you are using an online homeschooling program, it will affect how you create your homeschool schedule. For example, their math program may be an online program, so you may need to schedule it in their day or if sharing a computer, schedule time for each child;
There may be some subjects which are streamed at certain times of the day with class participation. However, some courses may be online courses which you can download and use at any time of the day.
There are many online courses available - some which provide complete homeschooling solutions (where the parent is in a Support role) - and others where you pick and choose what suits. See this page for more information on online homeschool options.
Homeschooling Courses outside the home? If you are participating in a course outside of the home (in the case of a co-op...) then you will need to plan for this and make room in your weekly schedule.
A bit of everything? Well... to be honest - that's what most of us do!
So, if you are homeschooling in an ecclectic way - you would need to create your schedule by blocking in time slots for different things. I would most likely start with adding in the activities that take you out of your home (and make sure that you're not out all the time!) Then, work out if you have an 'online' class, and if you need to be available for that. Have a look to see if there are materials that need to be shared between your children (like a piano) and schedule that in.
If you are planning on doing a unit study or literature, history studies - you would need to block in large chunks of time to fit it in and enjoy it!
If you don't schedule enough time, you will feel anxious and not enjoy the study.
The Homeschool Approach you choose will also help to determine what your learning environment will look like. Still not sure what it looks like? Find out more about how to Design your Homeschooling Approach here.