July 6, 2017

How to Plan a New Homeschool Year - Creating Objectives

Planning for a new homeschool year is one of my favorite activities.  You would think that all the planning would become monotonous, but it doesn’t.  At least not to me!  There is just something about the newness of the curriculum choices, and having the ability to make changes based on what didn’t work well last year.

In Maine, the school year runs from July 1st through June 30th, so while we do homeschool all year long I tend to look at new routines and big adjustments to curriculum starting in July – at least that is what I work towards.




When I start to think about curriculum choices, planning for the new school year, subjects to expand upon, and everything else homeschool planning related, I start with our objectives.

Objectives in homeschooling can cover a wide range of topics, from what level in Math you want your child to be at, to specific life skills you want your child to learn throughout the new school year, how many books you want them to read, and if you want to focus on one particular part of history.

How to Plan a New Homeschool Year - Creating Objectives

When our kids are very little, it is a little easier to come up with a list on your own.  But, as your kids get a bit older (my oldest is now 9), you will want to involve them in the process.

Where do you Start?

I like to start with the required subjects for my state requirements.  I will write down all of the subjects that we need to cover and then I will make a few notes about what worked from last year, and what I want to change (if anything) for this year.

After I have that list, I will spend some time thinking about what I want to actually cover.

What is the end goal for the year?

I try to decide what I want my children to learn throughout the year in each subject area.  I will list out what areas we want to concentrate on, the types of books we might read (not necessarily titles, but instead topics and number of books for each subject), and if there are any specific needs in that subject area – such as more math facts practice, extra spelling, if we need more creative or research writing practice.

Involving your kids in the planning process.

At this point I sit down with my kids and ask them what they would like to work on for the year.  I am only homeschooling my older two currently, and they are 9 and almost 7.  I have been asking their opinions on what they want to study since they were about 5 years old.  Now, when they are 5 it is generally a basic skill that they want to do, or they want to learn to make one specific thing.  As they have gotten older it has become more detailed.

Last year, they both wanted to do Anatomy and Physiology for Science – so when researching science curriculum, I specifically looked for books that covered Anatomy and Physiology, and they have loved studying that for the past several weeks (we will continue to study it throughout the summer during our Science Summer Intensive).

This year, Jack has asked if he can learn to build a computer.  I’m not entirely sure how to figure that one out for an almost 7 year old, but I am working on it (and thankfully have a brother who works with computers – so I am relying heavily on his expertise while planning this year!).  He has also asked to learn to draw 3-D shapes – so I know that I need to get some specific resources based on these desires.

When you take the time to consider your kids’ desires for learning, I believe that you will have a lot of success in getting them to learn new things (even the things they may not be as excited about).  Involving your kids in the planning process helps give them ownership for their individual learning.

Bringing it all together.

After I have written out what I want to cover, and what the kids would like to cover throughout the year, I am able to have a good working list of what kinds of curriculum I will need for the coming year.  Writing out these objectives gives me a starting point as to where I need to look for curriculum, and what type of curriculum it should be (book, audiobook, textbook, YouTube videos, co-op etc.).

When you have your objectives listed out, it also helps you to plan our what activities and extracurricular activities your child may want/need to be involved in.  Taking into account what your child has also relayed to you about their learning may give you some interesting new ideas about how your year will go.

For example, I asked my kids this question this past week:

If you could only do one activity for the entire year (sports, classes, lessons, etc.) what would it be?

My daughter surprised me and said that she would like to play the saxophone.  Out of all the activities that she has done, she wanted to try this one the most this year.  I’m not sure if we will only put her in classes for saxophone, or if she will continue to play sports like she has been since she was 5, but I did think it was interesting to hear it was not a sport that she has played every year, or a dance class, but instead an instrument.

Objectives in learning are a large part of homeschooling, but I think that this could work in any family.  Sitting down with your kids to figure out what they desire to learn in the new school year can often give you a lot of insight into their interests, and sometimes surprises you (like my daughter did) as to what you may not need to have your child involved in during the new school year.

What is one thing that you are hoping your kids will learn during the next school year?  Do you plan objectives at the beginning of your year to help with the planning process?

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