Planning to Homeschool

If you are about to begin homeschooling in the fall or you've made the leap in the middle of a school year, your next step is to have a planning session.

A planning session is your opportunity to develop your homeschool mission, handle current behavioral issues, list personal struggles, decide your homeschool budget, review avenues of outside support (coops, magazines, plan field trips, and other homeschool groups), organize your schedule, review commitments outside of homeschooling, and agree on a yearly goal. DonnaYoung.org has wonderful free planning sheets that you can use as daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly goal planners. It’s a great start for getting your thoughts organized and not feeling overwhelmed with things to do.


If you need a checklist to jump start your school year planning session, you can find a wonderful one at TeachingHome.com.

Here are a few questions to get your planning session started:


Family

  • Are you spending enough quality time as a family?

  • Are there areas you need to change – to refocus?

  • What are some of your goals as a family?

  • Do you have a family mission?

Children

  • What is your vision for your children? Is college-readiness a goal for your children?

  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?

  • Where are they doing well?

  • What areas need improvement?

Home Education

  • Take some time to review Virginia's homeschool laws.

  • Draft your "Notice of Intent" if you haven't already. It's as simple as using this form from the VDOE. Mail it to your school division Superintendent. Names, addresses, and phone numbers are located here.

  • Decide how you will handle yearly assessments. Will you test? Or comply via evaluation? 

  • What’s working, and what isn’t with what you are currently doing? Thoroughly assess your previous approach to education and how it worked and how it failed. Even if your students were in full-time private or public school, there must have been aspects that were both positive and negative. 

  • Do you need to make curriculum changes or just approach from a different direction?

  • Are they ready for this yet or should you wait awhile?

  • Do they have a real interest in something that you should let them pursue now and drop something they aren’t so interested in until later?

  • What school-work will you keep? What will be tossed? Will you keep yearly portfolios or grades only? 

  • Will you issue a report card? 

  • If you are homeschooling through high school have you reviewed Virginia's state graduation requirements? No, you don't have to follow them to the letter, but you should know what they are. Virginia's DOE graduation requirments for a standard diploma are here. Requirments for an Advanced Diploma are located here.

  • Do you have a workable transcript template to keep track of middle and high school credits?

  • What will your summers look like? Will you work through the summer? Take a break? Will you investigate summer camps or programs?

Routines and Schedules

  • Have you developed a planned routine for your homeschool day? Week? 

  • Have you developed a schedule for your classwork, child chores, mother care, and/or lesson plans?

  • For your older students, have they created their own personal agendas and academic schedules? 

  • Will you adhere to deadlines for your students? 

Finances

  • Do you have a homeschool and family budget?

  • Are you staying within your budget? Do you need to rework it?

  • What items do you need to budget for in the coming year? Like, a printer, laminator, new computer, etc.

 

Support

  • Do you have support systems in place? Other homeschool moms? Supportive family?

  • Do you belong to any e-groups? Local meet-ups? State homeschool association? Or are somehow linked in to the local homeschool community so that you stay in the loop about local homeschool events?

If you are planning to homeschool, plan for success!

Take some time to plan your home education strategy!

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