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Jul 29 2013

10 Steps to Crazy Prepared for Back to Homeschool- Part 1

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10 Steps to get a crazy Organized for back to Homeschool

Yes indeed, July is by far my favorite month of the year and it’s not just because I love summer and heat and everything bright and shining. No, no, no- the thing that really shakes my fancy about July is the fact that I get to plan, prep and plan some more for the year to come! I adore planning! Truth be told, if planning and prepping were all there was to homeschooling, I would be in complete heaven! I relish in the entire process from curriculum research all the way to gathering supplies and setting up our space! Hey Jack, I never claimed to be normal!

This year I think I feel an extra dose of needing to prepare. With a few years under our belt now, I have a pretty good grasp on what it really takes for me to stay on top of things. As much as I would love to be one of those plan as we go, take however log on projects as we like, sorts of families, I’m just not. I need deadlines and project materials already gathered in a neat little bag or they just don’t happen and we inevitably fall behind and lose focus. So, today I thought I’d give you all a cursory glance at what exactly I am planning and preparing over the next few weeks (and have been for the last few) in hopes that maybe some of these ideas will be helpful to you too!

Steps 1-5 for Getting Crazy Prepared for Back To Homeschool!

1- The Calendar

It all starts with the calendar schedule! The first step in my P&P process (plan and prep, that is) is figuring out what our schedule for the year is going to look like- when we’ll start, finish and take our breaks. We have opted to begin August 5 and take a full week break every 4-7 weeks throughout the year to leave room for catch-up, appointments and just plain rest!

I’ve been questioned on why we start so early but my logic is that it is easier to do more work on the front end of the year when everyone is still fresh and excited than tacking that time onto the end of the year when everyone is plum worn out and sick of school! The fact that May 23 is our projected finish date is music to my ears and a lovely goal to reach for, in my book!

2- Lesson Planning- arduous but worth it!

I then sit down and type all of our lessons for the. whole. year. into the planner I made on my computer. I prefer to do it this way because I can customize my planner to exactly what I need, however there are many wonderful planners on the market (such as Click here to visit Homeschool Creations.” target=”_blank”>The Weekly Homeschool Planner by Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations) that will save you some of that time.

Weekly Homeschool Planner

I am fully aware that planning a whole year in advance may not work for some, but for us it is essential! By knowing when things need to be done to keep us on course and having it all typed out, I feel responsible to it and I am much better able to stick to the plan than if I just have a vague idea and a general outline.

3- Creating our Daily Routine

So, when I have the year-long schedule planned out and what lessons will be accomplished each day, I sit down and make a grid for how I want our day to flow. Now, it does not always go this way, in fact rarely. BUT, if I have a framework to go off of it gives me a better idea of where to jump back in during my day if things get off course.

My goal this year, though, is to stick much more closely to our set schedule now that Emmerson isn’t quite so needy. I think that Judah (4) really needs the structure in his day to help prevent meltdowns and keep him out of trouble, and Roman (7) needs the structure to keep him on task and ensure he doesn’t get completely sidetracked by his Legos! By mapping everything out it helps me to make sure that things aren’t getting overlooked and it also helps me make sure I have time to take care of myself and accomplish all my other roles in life besides “homeschooler.” This is another topic that I will be going into further detail on in an upcoming post.

4- The Gathering (supplies, that is!)
The next most crucial part of our ability to not only stay on schedule but actually do all of the activities I have planned for is the gathering of materials! This year I am using Jolanthe’s system (on Homeschool Creations) of divying out all our paperwork into folders for each chunk of our year, which I think will simplify things a TON! I am also using a list of supplies I have for our curriculum that is broken down into weeks and I am fetching all the needed supplies and storing them into labeled gallon-size ziplocks that will be stored in a large bin for the year. This is the only way I know of to keep me from that Sunday night burnout when I just decide that that upcoming science experiment or art project isn’t that necessary! 😉

5- Setting the stage (organizing our space)

The next step I am taking to get our year off on the right foot is overhauling our school area. I figure that this is probably a similar process for most homeschool moms since I’m sure we all tend to have things that pile up over time. We do school at our kitchen table but have a cupboard and workboxes to contain our immediate schooling supplies while everything else is stored in the upstairs office. I basically dumped everything out on the floor from last year, sorted through it and put it all away. I then refilled our space with all the books and supplies we will be suing for the upcoming year. I will be blogging more about what our space actually looks like and how it functions in a few weeks.


Think I stop my summer organizing there?! Not a chance! Tune back in tomorrow as I share the next 5 steps I take in preparing for our school year. Here is a sneak peek at what it entails:

Beyond the schoolwork
-Planning all our food
-Organizing rooms
-A Plan to Keep Order
-All Mama’s Other Stuff
-Adding beauty!

(Update- Click here to see these next 5 steps!)

If you don’t want to miss out on the next 5 steps, and haven’t done so already, then make sure you subscribe to my blog! (Check up top for all the buttons!)

What steps do you take to prepare for the coming school year?


15 thoughts on “10 Steps to Crazy Prepared for Back to Homeschool- Part 1

  1. Lauren

    Oh my goodness girl! You are absolutely BRILLIANT! I keep thinking I’m doing pretty well at keeping things together and then I read posts like this. LOL

    LOVE the year at a glance idea! And I might just have to zoom in on that picture to see what your daily schedule is like 😀 I keep thinking THIS time we’ll keep it together, but stuff always falls apart. Good to have a framework in place though to come back to at least.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s post! Hmm, maybe I’ll join in ;0)

    1. mackenzie Post author

      Oh honey- just watch my video tomorrow to see that these are my goals (and how I think you really can get ultimately prepared) but its not ALL going to get done! Tomorrow is a big, live dose of reality!

      And I’ll be putting that daily schedule into a post all it’s own in a few weeks with the Not Back To School hop!

      AND please do join in!!

  2. sarah ronk

    So fun!!! I love all the prep and planning before school (even when I was in school I loved it!) This is the first “official” year for us since Aaron’s just now in kindergarten but we’ve been doing tot school and preschool things for years! Excited to see more about your next 5 steps! Today was our official first day! My theme for the year… be flexible! With a 5 mo old I think many days he might be calling the shots 😉

    1. mackenzie Post author

      On man- Emme called so many of the shots last year! Just go with it! I’m hoping this year will be easier now that she is one!

      I hope your year goes fantastic!

  3. Christin

    These are excellent steps!! I need to do all of them! I have planned a year in advance before, but now I’m in a season where I need to plan a week or sometimes only a day in advance. Once our girls are home from Africa (via our adoption), everything will change and we need to stay flexible.
    The one thing everyone will need is the structure of a routine. But once they come into the homeschool scene, I get to kind of start over with planning so they can slide in with us! Great fun! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. mackenzie Post author

      Oh I can imagine it would be hard to plan much in advance with your girls coming soon! I have been following your adoption story and am so inspired by it and excited for you guys! I hope that we will be able to adopt internationally someday as well!

  4. KJ

    Anyway you’d be willing to email the first two planning files? I love the way you have them set up and it would be easy to just plug in our info.

    1. mackenzie Post author

      I could pretty easily just give you the basic layout of each. I, obviously, couldn’t include the lesson plans on the 2nd one (and it may be sort of confusing because I set it up to incorporate my PKer’s lessons), but I could give you the basic layout of it. Would you want the dates plugged into the 1st one, or just blank?

      1. KJ

        That would be great! My dates are a little different than yours, so blank would be best- but I could do that myself so you don’t have to worry about it. I also have a Pre-Ker so that might help me with him too!! I assume you see my email address from the comment section I have to fill out? Thank you so much!!

    1. MacKenzie Post author

      It isn’t yet, but a couple people have asked so I should probably make it available! I’ll try to work on that in the next week or so!

      Thanks for stopping guy and reading!

  5. Keri

    I love “School” shopping too! I swear, if I wasn’t a Homeschool mom, I would have been a Teacher 😉
    So, far my favorite finds this year has been,a bookshelf to keep all my kids reader’s, and work books on.
    As far as curriculum, I am so excited about the fact I found High School courses for my oldest, that he can do himself, online.
    ( )
    I am also looking forward to learning Spanish! {I myself have never learned.} I bought this set from my local library. It comes with cassettes {lol! Good thing I still have my old Boom Box } and reader’s. It’s geared towards children, but I am hoping to learn myself a little 😉
    Anyways, Great blog post!

    1. MacKenzie Post author

      I’m really wanting to learn Spanish with my kiddos too! We are hoping to get Rosetta Stone next year!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


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