Home School Planning

Laying the Home school foundation for School for Tots

Construction crew laying a foundation. Text Reads "Laying the Home School Foundation for School for Tots"

I wish I could tell you that School for Tots was a thoroughly-planned decision. It wasn’t. Far from it. In fact, we didn’t decide to do our pre-school & Pre-K from home this year until about a week before school was supposed to begin for our littles.  But our last minute decision doesn’t mean that we didn’t lay a foundation for their experience this year.  Keep reading to find out the key steps we followed to START our homeschool experience out on the right foot and lay home school foundation that we could build upon all year.

Seek Info

Seek out the laws, regulations, and standards you are required to use in your homeschooling based on your state.  Some states require more involvement and accountability than others. Be sure to understand your responsibilities before you get started.

Blue Arrow with thick border and a colored-in pattern fill.We are currently living in Oklahoma, where there are few regulations.  However, we are from Pennsylvania, where home school is highly regulated.  We plan to move back there, so I am observing those regulations.  I am planning the girls’ learning experience with a combination of the Oklahoma and Pennsylvania early learning standards.

 

Take Time

Take time to reflect on the experience you want to provide for your student. Think about the values and topics that are non-negotiable in your children’s learning experiences.  Also, consider the unique characteristics, interests, and abilities of your learner. Center these things in your learning experience.  For me, this was arguably the most important step in creating the home school foundation that I want for my kids.

Blue Arrow with thick border and a colored-in pattern fill.While I hope to help my children reach the academic standards, I also want to help them learn life skills, develop a relationship with God, and care for the planet. To this end, I’ve needed to identify learning goals and objectives to guide these areas where the OK  & PA standards lack. 

 

Arrange a schedule for your homeschool experience.  Whether you intend to have a very strict schedule or a flexible one– whether it will be consistent or irregular– the important thing is that you create the type of schedule that works for you and your learner and that allows you the time you need to 1. Meet any obligations set by the state law and 2. Reach the learning goals you have for your child.

Blue Arrow with thick border and a colored-in pattern fill.

Because we have a start-up family business and I’m in graduate school, we need a pretty detailed schedule to ensure that we’re accomplishing everything.  Therefore, our school schedule is pretty detailed. Most days have learning-related experiences beginning at 9am and going until 5:30pm.  We are not, however, sitting at desks that entire time.  At this age, there is a lot of play and activity in our learning experiences.  I also consider free-play just as important as the structured activities, so there is ample time for that, as well.  Curious about our schedule? Click here.

Record Plans

Record your plans for activities or lessons.  You’ll first need to determine whether you are going to use a curriculum (free or purchased) or whether you will be creating your own. Depending on your style and your homeschool curriculum, you may want to write detailed lesson plans or directions for activities.  In other cases, you may want to have a loose idea of what type of activities you will do to reach intended learning outcomes. 

Blue Arrow with thick border and a colored-in pattern fill.

I haven’t reached a place where I feel the need to have detailed lesson plans for each lesson we do. However, I do have the activities all selected for each part of the day. I know where I am heading as we move through our schedule.  If we homeschool beyond these early years, I will likely switch to some more detailed lesson plans, but for now, I don’t need to be quite that detailed.

Take a Breath

Take a breath and remain flexible. Whether this is your first experience with homeschooling or you have been doing it for years, many factors influence the way a day or a lesson plays out. The circumstances vary. Learners aren’t the same.  The mood of the day can change. You may find that your schedule isn’t working as planned and you need to modify it.  Or maybe a particular lesson wasn’t successful and you want to change something about it.  Or maybe it’s just a rough day and you need to play hookie.  Don’t be upset when you have to deviate from your plan.

Blue Arrow with thick border and a colored-in pattern fill.Wouldn’t you know that we had a cold run through the whole family for our first week of homeschooling.  So we needed to give grace to the sick toddler who didn’t always feel up to engaging and we needed to reorganize our schedule when Teacher-Mommy needed to sleep in one day.  It happens. The girls are still learning a lot, and I don’t feel badly about the fact that we didn’t follow our plan to the letter. You shouldn’t feel bad when these things happen either.  Life happens. 

Want to think through these steps and have a space to brainstorm? Download the FREE Home School Foundation worksheet and get to work! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.