How the Heck to Plan a Successful Homeschool Day October 15, 2014 By Bekki 4 Comments This content may contain affiliate links.Inside: How the Heck to Plan a Successful Homeschool Day and what to do when everything goes wrong. Homeschool kids smell an unplanned day like wild animals smell fear. Normally this is not an issue. I take the time to sit and think through what we are doing in our homeschool day about 4-6 weeks at a time. I create an easy to follow calendar for each of the boys so they know that- “mom has a plan for today, so I better get busy.” I am a little stressed right now because my current calendar/plan runs out in less than 36 hours. Related: I have a free homeschool Success plan Printable for your refrigerator! The fact that I am not ready for the next step is like a ticking time bomb.Come Monday morning, if I do not have a clear plan of attack for our homeschooling week, my boys will eat me alive. Kids KNOW when we do not have a plan. The run, they hide, they break out the Legos right after breakfast, they seem stunned that we expect them to clean their dirty faces, fix their bed-heads and GASP- learn something. If you do not have a plan, your kids will suddenly forget how to get up, make their beds, add and subtract, multiply and divide, and write legibly. They may even forget that they are homeschooled. I think it is a conspiracy. “Psst-Maybe if we pretend to forget how to do school mom will let us play all day and live in our pajamas.” Can you relate?If kids do not see that we are well prepared for our day, week, or topic they do not buy in to whatever learning experience we set before them. They see us grab our teacher’s manual and then say, “OK, let’s get going. We have a lot of school to do today.” They see us begin reading the lesson and make that certain face that says, “what am I supposed to They see us begin reading the lesson with a confused expression and they silently whisper, “She doesn’t know what to do, let’s slip away”. When we, the teachers, finally grasp the core of today’s lessons they have snuck away from the school area and are resentful that we try to lasso them back to school. If you are honest, you would resent attending a class where the teacher wasn’t prepared too. I took the time to come to school, surely she could have prepared in advance to teach me. You took the time to come to school, surely she could have prepared in advance to teach you. Right? Our kids are no different. They need to see that we have invested in their education by taking the time to become familiar and excited about the learning material before we declare it is time for school. Kids smell a day without a plan and begin wiggling to get out immediately. What can we do: Plan school for 2-6 weeks at a time. In pencil. Become extremely familiar with the material before we try to present it to our kids. (remember the teacher from Ferris Beuller? Help us not be like him! I know this is hard. It takes time. I am currently teaching High School Algebra and Biology to our freshman- no fun. But I have to put in the time to study, otherwise, I confuse the hell out of him.) Schedule lessons out for 2-6 weeks in advance. Write them in pencil, so that when life happens you simply erase and begin again the next day. Never try to teach the school week without a plan. Even if you take a rabbit trail because your kids show a sudden interest in penguins, you will be much better prepared. As homeschoolers include a dinner plan/menu into your school day. Be excited about what you are learning together. How do I plan? I have 4-5 weeks of student calendars printed and ready to go, labeled with their names and dates. I teach 5 core subjects: Bible, Math, English, History, and Science FIRST, mark off all school holidays and family days. I schedule math in first. Cause, it’s easy. It usually is just the next number lesson. I include activities like flashcards, videos, and games in my calendars. If I do not schedule flashcards, the kids do not do flash cards. Kids need reminders. Next, I schedule the rest of the “do the next page” assignments. Handwriting, handwriting, phonics workbook pages, and spelling. Now I have to think. I plan a weekly memory verse and Bible reading. True brain power needed. I have a 5-6 week history focus. History is my core, my golden thread. I look for 3-5 main ideas to pull from a lesson and look for English, Math, and Science activities that go along with what we are learning. I have to skim the readings, pull vocabulary and scour for student activities that will work with my boys. This year I am using Story of the World and they have a great Activity Book from which I pull reading comprehension, map, art, and cooking activities. And then, of course, there is Pinterest. I have a whole series of Homeschool boards to help you and help me. Science is my weakest subject as a teacher. Alas, I am not entirely sure why, but even superman had a weakness. Science is mine. Again, I deal with science in chunks: main idea, 3-5 learning objectives, and at least one hands-on activity per topic. (This is ideal. I am lucky to get 2 experiments in a year). I plan English last. The older my kids, the more I plan. Younger kids need lots of time reading, being read to. Older kids need more and more time writing. Here is a great list to help you teach writing. Lastly, I double check my pencil calendars against the master calendar looking for conflicts. Are we home all of the days I planned to teach school? Are there any obvious monkey-wrench days (days that are destined to fail before they begin). I make adjustments whenever necessary. Sacrifice While every homeschool family has different goals and ambitions, talents and abilities, we all sacrifice something to homeschool.My husband and I personally sacrifice time. Lots of time. It is not easy homeschooling a troop of boys of various ages, grades, interests and learning styles. After 18 years I have learned that the key to success is being prepared before the day begins. Grab your FREE copy!