06 January 2017

Planning Our Next Homeschool Year {Yes, Already}

Once we pass the halfway point in any given school year, my future-oriented planner self cannot resist considering the possibilities for the following year.

When we move this summer, we will have completed three full years of homeschooling in New York: 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade for Agent E; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade for Agent J; and kindergarten and 1st grade for Agent A. {I don’t count “preschool” as a Thing.} Because our current home state has a lot of “interesting” guidelines and paperwork requirements, we’ve planned our school year {and our record keeping, and our subjects, and our weekly schedules} a bit differently than we had in the past.
My favorite first grader
Truthfully, while I’ve enjoyed some parts our new structure and will continue to utilize the components that have worked out well {such as the ones outlined in this post}, I’m looking forward to having more planning freedom in the next few years.

My initial thought is that I’d like to go back to how we approached things when we only had to submit a letter of intent and keep a portfolio {which I would do anyway, because, hello, it’s me}. We still covered all the usual “subjects” but were able to do so in a more integrated way. So instead of thinking in terms of for geography we will do x and for history we will do y and for art we will do z, we will brainstorm a list of interesting things we’d like to learn about and not worry ourselves so much with how to categorize them.

For example, we might include something like "famous landmarks.” We could break this down country by country {or state by state} and go more or less in-depth with each one depending on interest. In our study of each landmark we might touch on geography, history, art, biographies, physics {depending on the structure discussed}, writing, or mythology.

Another thing I’d like to do is focus on fewer, more detailed books. I feel like we read a lot, which is great, but that we’ve lost focus over the last year or two. In addition to keeping our system of using spine books for certain areas, which has worked out better than expected, I’d like to expand our reading list to include some longer texts the Agents might not read on their own, but would be fascinating nonetheless.

A few of the books I’m considering include A Young People’s History of the United StatesThe Magic of Reality {which Agent E and I have already read, but the younger Agents have not}, and On the Origin of Species

I’m also evaluating the kinds of topics we’ve covered recently versus the ones which sort of got “missed” in the last few years. For example, we’ve done many animal studies, but have almost exclusively focused on mammals. Maybe we’re due for a study on birds, or dinosaurs. Also, we haven’t done a detailed study of the United States since Agent E was essentially my only student. {It was the year she was in 2nd and Agent J was “doing” kindergarten in her own way.} We bought a cool United States Encyclopedia intending to use it as a spine this year, but haven’t even cracked it open yet. In our science studies, we’ve spent a lot of time on evolution and climate and ecosystems but almost no time on botany or microbiology.

In any case, I’m excited to begin thinking about the direction our homeschool might be headed when we have a 6th grader, 4th grader, and 2nd grader. I believe our routine will naturally evolve such that the two younger Agents will be working together on more subjects, while my {gulp} middle schooler will be transitioning into more independent work. 


  1. You are way ahead of me!! I'm still evolving this year as we go... but in a way always planning for next year because I know I'll never fit in everything I want to!

    1. I constantly have a running list of "stuff I'd like to get to someday" . . . it truly is never ending!