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Start your Homeschool Year Strong

We’ve been homeschooling for several years and between managing our home-based business and homeschooling, our daily routine is a work in progress. What I have found is that we have to get the routine set because that is the key to a successful homeschool for us. We work hard organizing so we can start the homeschool year strong.

Start the Homeschool Year Strong.

The routine does not have to be rigid … but it does mean my elementary and middle school aged boys understand the procedure for school. During those early weeks, there are several things I do to organize our school year to help us have a successful year.  

Have a Master Plan

First, I have already completed a Curriculum spreadsheet (Excel file) for all of our boys through the end of their high school years. No, I don’t have their curriculum all figured out that far out, but I do know there are certain subjects they have to be taught and I know if we already have the curriculum for it or not. With most of the upper level curricula, they have a logical order and progression. Most of the sciences require a specific level of math to have been mastered before they can attempt the science. Several years ago I spent months figuring all that out and getting it on a spreadsheet. But, just because I have a curriculum for a subject doesn’t mean it will work for every child. I’ve had to adjust curriculum from one publisher to another when it didn’t fit all of my boys. Once a specific curriculum is working, it is easy to know what the next level is. I use this spreadsheet to know what they have completed and what is next (and if I have any curriculum for that subject).

Create a Schedule

Second, I create a schedule for each of my boys. With them taking some classes virtually, some classes at our local co-op, sports and other activities that have set schedules, we have to get those set in stone and then work around them for the other curricula. I am posting the Word documents so you can use and modify them for yourself. 

Work Plan 8th grade

Work Plan 7th grade

Work Plan 4th grade

Once we have the schedules in place and have gotten accustomed to the classes that have set times, we relax the schedule and they can do their work in whatever order they choose. Getting our routine settled usually takes a good eight weeks for us.

Use a Daily Checklist

The last thing that I do that has made a huge difference in my boys getting back in a good routine is creating a Daily Checklist.  The boys check off all of their work as they complete it throughout the day. Once completed, I transfer their information into my calendar and I save their records with their notebooks annually. 

Starting Strong organization homeschool 

My Planner

Speaking of calendars, I don’t use any of the fancy planners out there on the homeschool market, it is simply a weekly/monthly planner from Amazon. I use the monthly calendar section to schedule vacations, soccer games, field trips, etc.  I use the daily calendar section to list what they do daily in their school work. Since we focus on mastery, I’m not so worried about recording grades because they will have successfully mastered the material or they do not move forward. However, since my oldest son is taking high school level classes this year, I will have to be more diligent about recording grades!

So, that is it.  That is how we organize our homeschool schedule to ensure the start of good routines.  What are some of the things you do to help your children be successful in their day? If you have questions, leave a comment below!  And be sure to share if you appreciate the article and the materials I gave, it helps get the word out about our blog!

Remember to walk out your faith and not just talk about it…  be a blessing to somebody today!  



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  1. I looked at your boys schedules and they seem packed. So impressed with your planning out of their classes til graduation. That was a requirement of the Umbrella I belong to. And with you working inside the home to maintain a business I’m sure that’s a challenge. I work outside the home which in someways condenses our family schedule a large amount since my husband goes in later and allows the kids to sleep til I get home in the late afternoon. But we squeeze school in and do outdoor activities in a specific time most days. However, we have to be flexible in case either mine or my husband’s work schedule changes and we have to drop kids off at childcare.

    1. Life can be so crazy in general, add working and homeschooling and sometimes it is hard to just get dinner on the table… but I wouldn’t change it and thankful to be able to do it! I commend you and your husband for figuring out a way to make it work! Thank you for your words of encouragement!

  2. Fantastic information. I wish I was as organized as you are. I like how you have your kids school planned out through high school. We use a tutorial and are never totally sure what they will be offering so I have not done that. I look forward to more posts from you!

  3. What a wealth of info! Thank you. I DLed the worksheets and checklist. I, too, have an 8th and 4th grader, so I am eager to see what you use. I am sure I’ll find it helpful! This is my 9th yr of HSing and I feel each yr as if I’m a newbie, There is so much to be aware of and now that the boys are getting older, the rigor of the curriculum is definitely increasing, as you know!
    Thanks so much.

    God bless

    1. Yes, absolutely! I was just communicating with our umbrella school about our plans for highschool. I just figured out I left health off my spreadsheet. So, I’m not kidding when I say it is a work in progress 🙂 This spreadsheet and the fact that we homeschool year round are the only things that keep me from feeling like a newbie. We have continuity and it helps in the transitions year to year! I hope these tools are a blessing to you and your family!

  4. Elementary schools were set up to enable working class children to receive manual training and elementary instruction. They provided a restricted curriculum with the emphasis on reading , writing and arithmetic (the three Rs ). The schools operated on a ‘monitorial’ system, whereby one teacher supervised a large class with the assistance of a team of monitors, who were quite often older pupils. Elementary school teachers were paid by results. Their pupils were expected to achieve precise standards in reading, writing and arithmetic such as reading a short paragraph in a newspaper, writing from dictation, and working out sums and fractions.

  5. Trish,

    Thank you for such a GREAT post! I have enjoyed your sight for awhile. Your Montessori descriptions for middle school are great! I can’t seem to open the boys schedules since they are in word. Are you able to offer that in a different pdf format to open?? Thank you so much. Holly

  6. I’ve tried so many planners. I think I will just get a basic planner and copy this idea. We have so much going on. Love the daily checklist too. Thank you for the inspiration.

  7. Schedules are so important in a homeschool I learned a long time ago that I have to just treat it like a job we get up at a certain time most days we get dressed for the day we rarely do the pajama deal and we have a timeframe so it’s just not an ongoing list of things to do every day we have a start and finish -I have a 9th, 8th, 7th, 3rd, 3yo and a 6 mo old

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