An Important Part Of My Homeschool Plan Each Year ~
Written by Jessica Waldock of The Waldock Way
There are many things I do each summer to plan our homeschool year. Over the years, I’ve learned that there is one thing that matters most to the overall success of my homeschool plan.
It’s so simple, I am almost embarrassed to share it, but I want you to know the difference it makes.
The most important part of my homeschool planning?
Choosing our “One Thing.”
Our one thing is an activity we choose to focus on for the year. It’s usually something we are all interested in or want to learn more about. By making our “one thing” a focus for the year we can get really good at it and make it a habit that sticks.
How We Choose Our One Thing For Our Homeschool Year
My husband Kevin, my daughter Emily, and I get together and talk about what we want our “one thing” to be for the year. Everyone gets to share their opinion. It’s not always my idea that gets the most votes, but doing it this way helps me to cultivate an interest in the things Emily is interested in and helps to keep our homeschool year interest-led.
Last year, I thought I had some great ideas about what our “one thing” should be, but Emily and Kevin agreed that our “one thing” should be art. It’s a passion that they share. I’m not very good at art, but making it our “one thing” has enriched our homeschool year in so many ways!
Please know, this is certainly not the only thing we do to plan for our homeschool each year. In fact, I have an entire skills checklist that we use to determine what we will be learning by grade every year.
This is simply an added step that has helped create consistency in our homeschool. It also simplifies our approach for the school year.
Why This Type Of Homeschool Plan Works
In the past, we have chosen a lot of different activities to focus on and they have all become part of our regular routine. It’s a fantastic way to add just one thing at a time. You’re adding value without stressing yourself out by juggling lots of new activities at once. Check out some of our favorite “one things” from years past:
I really wanted read alouds to be part of the foundation of our homeschool, so it was an easy choice for our first “one thing.” By focusing on them, I was able to make them a daily part of our homeschooling journal right from the start.
My secret to successful read alouds is to keep Emily’s hands busy with activities she can do while I read. I choose quiet activities that won’t pull focus from our reading.
Want read alouds your whole family will love? Check out some of our all-time favorites:
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
- The Secret Zoo by Chick Bryan
Our second “one thing” to focus on became games and gameschooling. Since I discovered the amazing benefits of games in our homeschool, I wanted to do more with them. We were able to check out some really amazing resources and learn new things by making gameschooling a priority.
Plus, focusing on gameschooling helped keep our homeschool days playful. Replacing one subject per day with a game is a great way to fit games into a busy schedule. Choosing awesome games is another good way to make sure you’re still learning while playing.
We live in the middle of nature. Being surrounded by it is wonderful, but I wanted to be more intentional with our time spent in nature. We wanted to get really good at observing the world around us and we were able to do just that by making nature study our “one thing.”
We liked using Exploring Nature with Children to help us get our feet wet with nature study. We have learned so much about different animals and plants just by observing the critters that wander into our yard and learning more about them.
We also really love exploring nature by visiting our local state parks and national parks. Want to learn more about the national parks near you? Check out my unit study covering 60 national parks for even more ways to enjoy nature study with your family.
Poetry teatime has become one of Emily’s favorite activities. She loves it! Even though it’s one of her favorite activities, I wasn’t making enough time for it in our homeschool days. By making poetry teatime a “one thing” goal, I was able to make it a regular habit in our homeschool.
Getting started with poetry teatime can be challenging. Getting special things just for teatime can help make it exciting. You can check out my quick start guide for more tips on incorporating poetry teatime into your homeschool too.
This past year, art became our “one thing.” It’s something Emily and Kevin both love so he was able to take over that aspect of our homeschool year.
We incorporated art-themed morning baskets, art-based field trips, and art lessons with Daddy to make it exciting and fun.
Our One Thing For This Homeschool Year
This year, our one thing is going to be field trips. We have all agreed that we really want to focus on finding ways to incorporate them into our days again this year. We already have plans to visit Universal in the next few weeks, kicking off our school year with magic and focusing on our one thing.
Because of the success we’ve had in the past, I know that our overall homeschool year will be more effective (and more fun!) because we have added this important step to our homeschool planning process.
What one thing will your family choose to focus on this homeschool year? How will it affect your homeschool plan? Share your ideas in the comments. I can’t wait to read them!
What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!
Thank you for this inspiration. We just moved to Panama. After reading this I felt pulled to making our one thing ‘getting to know Panama/Central America’. Feeling pretty motivated!
Jamie C. Martin
That sounds like the perfect “one thing,” Jennifer! So glad this was an encouragement.