How my homeschool planning has changed this year

Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

It’s the middle of summer.

Summer days for my family this year include a lighter, Harry Potter themed school schedule, lots of sprinklers and water play, and easy crafts that my boys can do on their own (outside of course!).

Summer days also mean I am planning for our new school year.

Honestly, I love this part.

I find it inspirational. A fresh start, a new approach – our homeschool plan existing only in my mind means nothing has gone wrong yet!

Planning for the fall is one of my favorite parts of summer.

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

This will be our seventh year homeschooling. Seven years of reading exercises, history projects, math drills and science experiments. Seven years of growth, struggle, progress and togetherness.

I mostly have this planning part down. I don’t over do it. I don’t spend money on curriculum or supplies that I know we won’t use (well, at least not as much as I used to). I don’t make a rigid schedule that would be impossible to follow (been there, not good).

I know what works for us and plan accordingly.

There is one thing, however, that I am incorporating into this year’s planning that I have never consciously considered before.


This year, I am including what I want in our homeschool plan, and not just what my children need.

How my homeschool planning has changed this year

It may sound a bit ridiculous that I haven’t done this in the past, but hear me out.

My children are homeschooled, whether by choice or design, in an interest-led approach. This means I spend a lot of time thinking about what they need, what they like, and the approach that will help them best learn. It has served us well these past seven years. I wouldn’t dream of changing this.

But as my boys have gotten older, I find that their interests have intensified. It’s been great for learning, but somewhere along the way, homeschool has morphed into me running from one child to the next, one subject to the next, one activity to the next, and one field trip to the next without a thought about how I want homeschooling to be.

If I spend my days, my weeks, my months and my years homeschooling, I want to thrive in it, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love homeschooling my two boys. We have a lot of fun together in our little pack of three, and that’s just the point…

There are three of us in this homeschool – not just the two learners, but their mother/teacher as well.

What’s different this year is that I am simply adding me back into the puzzle.

This year, we are all equal parts of my planning process. We will all be equal parts of the learning as well.

We know about the importance of self-care, taking time away from our children, and pursuing our own interests. This is a little different. This is about the time we spend together as a unit, the learning alongside each other.

Homeschool is as much my life as it is my boys’. I want our time spent learning to reflect this.

Including Mom in the plan

Curriculum. Schedule. Priorities. Interests.

These are the four areas I focus on in planning in our learning. This year, all four of these basic tenets of my planning includes a column for me. To get started, I asked myself some pretty basic questions.

  • What curriculums look interesting to me? What would I like to learn this year? 
  • What would bring me joy in our regular schedule and routines? 
  • I know my sons’ special interests. What are mine? How can I incorporate them into our learning?

It was not easy for me to answer these questions. I find I have been so focused on my boys’ interests and needs, I may have lost sight of my own.

Based on these questions, here is what I have included in our plan for the year.

  • There is a language arts curriculum that I really want to try. It’s ordered and on its way. 
  • I am interested in a particular museum nearby that my sons have never had any interest in visiting. We’re going this year. 
  • I think getting outside first thing in the morning, before doing anything else, energizes me for the day. It’s now a non-negotiable element of our routine.

These are simple things, but I would not have thought of them if I were just considering what my boys need.

I want my children to thrive. I am learning that part of helping them do this is having a mom right beside them, thriving as well.

What better way for my children to engage in our days homeschooling, than seeing their mom just as engaged, excited and involved in the learning?

Our homeschool this year will intentionally include me as an active participant, right alongside my learners.

I can’t wait to get started.

How do you include yourself in your homeschool plan?








About Shawna Wingert

Shawna Wingert is the creator of Not The Former Things, a blog dedicated to homeschooling children with learning differences and special needs. She loves finding out-of-the-box ways for out-of-the-box learners to thrive. She is the author of two books, Special Education at Home and Everyday Autism. You can follow Shawna and Not The Former Things on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.


  1. I’m embarrassed to admit that, other than trying to keep our schedule from being too crazy, I don’t actually include myself in homeschool planning, but reading your post makes me think I should give it a try!

  2. Yes! I need this! I definitely want that walk outside first thing in the AM too. I also am schooling just 2 boys (ages 9 & 8). So it is a lot of loud around here and I need more peace and quiet! 🙂

  3. Jennifer Loveland says:

    This is something I have missed completely as well! What great insight! I am definitely going to add those elements that will keep me engaged as well as my children. Thank you!

  4. Thank you for your kind words, Jennifer. I am glad I am not alone!
    Shawna Wingert’s latest post: Do Learning Accommodations Give My Son An Unfair Advantage?

  5. At our house we have a quote of the day and the thing that wins the internet that day. These range from funny things to useful things. This post wins the the internet for me today! If I could only give my new to homeschool younger self one piece of advice, this would be it.

  6. Donna Marie says:

    I am a grandmother raising and homeschooling my one granddaughter. She had had trauma in her early years, and has not learned in the way I thought would work. I have purchased and tried many curriculum that didn’t make it. I am committed to homeschool her, as I love both her and homeschooling! However, there has been nothing for me and I am quite worn out,
    as I strive to make everyday great for her, which is not really happening. So I am deciding now to follow your advice, to revive my love and joy and seek out some things that I would like to do. I may secretly plan a “Grandma field trip” and a Grandma art project. Grandma would like the early morning walk! I must say that I appreciate reading the advice of you – young mothers, and of the truths you discover. God bless you. And please note that I would accept a little prayer or word of inspiration from you.

  7. I homeschool my boys ages 7 and 16, and occasionally help my. 18 year- old daughter who is in college. I never considered incorporating some things that I would enjoy as well. I am going to rethink our plan during the Christmas break. Thanks so much for sharing!

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