It’s May already and that tells me that in just a few weeks time, we should be starting another schoolyear. When we shifted to homeschooling, we still follow the June-to-March school calendar (Lately, it’s been up to April). (Where did my vacation go?) As much as I would want to delay our new schoolyear by about a month, I’m held back by the fact that Arielle will soon be off to college and colleges in Manila start their schoolyear in May or June. We can’t afford to slow down now. So, these days, I’m trying to shift my mindset from vacation mode to back-to-work mode (I’m struggling, to tell you honestly!) and here’s how I’m preparing for a new homeschool schoolyear, in order (I’m currently on Steps 4 to 10, and spending long hours on Steps 8 and 9):
1. Buy planners — We usually buy these December of previous year or early January of current year; For this year, I got us Debra Bell’s Ultimate Homeschool Planner and Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens . Of course, any planner will do, but I got sooo inspired by Ms. Debra Bell during the last Philippine Homeschool Conference that I decided to get hers, hoping that it will be a helpful tool to homeschool my teens. The minute I received our copies, I read the introduction pages which give a detailed explanation guide on how to use the planner and ultimately teach independence to kids. I hope I’ll be successful in achieving this goal!
2. Cover and label books (from the U.S.A and non-TMA sources; TMA stands for The Master’s Academy, our homeschool provider) — I usually order books from the U.S sometime 4th quarter of previous year, which means I research for new materials sometime 3rd quarter. Below were ordered from the U.S.:
- For Math, we will continue to use Teaching Textbooks (Algebra 2 and Pre-Algebra)
- For Science, we will continue to use Apologia (Chemistry and Physical Science)
- For Grammar, it will be our first time to use A Beka’s books on 7th Grade Grammar and Composition, 7th Grade Vocabulary/Spelling/Poetry, 9th Grade Grammar and Composition, and 9th Grade Vocabulary/Spelling/Poetry.
- For Reading/Literature, the girls will be reading classic books like Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Giver, The Hobbit, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, Lost Horizon, and I think I should let Arielle read Shakespeare. I plan to download the Study Guides for the books the girls have chosen for the quarter or semester, just before they start to read, from Progeny Press.
- For Religion, it will also be our first time to use Seton’s Religion 7, which is intended for Kayla, but I think I will use the same book for Arielle and supplement it with This Is The Faith. We are also looking forward to reading two books on saints, 365 Saints, and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms (I get to be homeschooled, too!)
3. Do an inventory of school supplies then list down what needs replenishment.
4. Start familiarizing myself with all the books, reading the table of contents, and skimming through the pages.
5. After or as I do Step 4, photocopy exercises and tests — I photocopy because Kayla will use the same books used by her Ate Arielle. In case we decide to change our books, then I can resell the books without writing and markings.
6. Photocopy grading sheets for MAPE (Music, Art, P.E.) and TLE (Technology and Livelihood Education; We haven’t decided yet if we’re going to enroll the girls in a class or short course for this.)
7. Print MAPE attendance sheet — This is to record the number of sessions already attended by the girls and as a reminder on the next payment to be made.
8. Do another review of each book/subject’s table of contents and divide scope per quarter — I do this as much as I can to really prepare (or brace) myself with what the girls are going to study this schoolyear, and be on the lookout for activities to do on our own, with a co-op or other homeschoolers.
9. Do a one-glance spreadsheet of topics/lessons to cover per subject — Now this is where I spend most of my hours! Per quarter, I list down the scope to be studied from 1st to 4th quarter and do adjustments during the schoolyear. (Last year, I think I overpacked our quarters, and I didn’t like the feeling of having to rush and be enslaved by the schedule I made at the start of the schoolyear. I hope to learn the lesson this year.)
10. Get medical certificates and have ID photos taken, as enrollment requirements of TMA
11. Enroll at TMA (with medical certificates and IDs ready) and buy the other books with Teacher’s Guide and/or Answer Keys from them — We can actually do a headstart of the other subjects already before enrolling with our DepEd (Department of Education)-accredited homeschool provider, if we wish to.
12. Discuss goals for the year (character and academic) with Arielle and Kayla — I let Arielle and Kayla participate, get involved! This also gives us the opportunity to review our past schoolyear(s) and take note of what worked for us and what didn’t.
After I get to tick off each of the items on this list, then, we’re ready to go! Just a little note to self. No matter how much I’ve painstakingly done in preparing for a new homeschool schoolyear, I should remember to be flexible and be ready to make adjustments as needed, along the way. I should not allow stress to sneak in our daily routine And of course, to always pray for guidance, patience, and faithfulness to this calling to homeschool our children. Here’s to our 7th year in homeschooling!
How are you planning and preparing for a new homeschool schoolyear, especially with high schoolers?