“Scheduling Curriculum for the Year”
by Homeschool.com’s Rebecca Kochenderfer
Do you get as EXCITED as we do when homeschool curriculum shows up at your doorstep? Looking at everything in person is so much fun! But then, why do you suddenly feel a little overwhelmed once you have everything pulled out of the box? All the books, papers, teacher’s guides, student books – there’s just so much!
First, relax! Most homeschoolers go through this every year, especially if they’re new to homeschooling. Remind yourself (repeatedly if needed) that what you have is meant to last one full school year. That’s roughly nine months, which is a long time. Before you panic, let’s get back to basics with scheduling your school materials for the entire year.
If you live in a state that requires a certain number of “school days” each year, then that will be your starting point. To find out if your state requires an attendance log, check your state’s requirements for homeschooling. (If applicable, determine how and to whom you must report your attendance.) Once you’ve determined how many days of the year you need to count as “school days,” divide your lesson plans into that many days so you’ll have something for each day, excluding holidays and weekends.
For instance, if you must report 180 days of school but your curriculum only has 170 lessons, you have roughly 10 days of wiggle room. See how many chapters there are in the curriculum – perhaps those 10 days are just enough to schedule separate review days before each test. If the tests and review days are already accounted for, you can always stack the days at the end of the year and take two solid weeks (10 school days) off!
After you have attendance figured out, it’s time to divide your materials up into that many days. If your curriculum is already planned and the teacher’s guide schedules each lesson for you, this step will be a breeze. If that isn’t the case, then simply turn to the back of the book to see how many pages of lesson material you have and divide it by the number of attendance days. For instance, if your school books have 360 pages and you must do school for 180 days, then you’ll need to get through two pages each day.
The last thing to calculate is hours. For the most part, this only matters if you’re keeping track of credit hours for a high school transcript (in which case, usually 150 hours = 1 credit hour for the year). However, some homeschoolers must log a certain amount of time spent in the subject area each day. If your state requires that, you can keep track on something as simple as a daily planner. Be sure to write down the time you start and stop lessons each day for an accurate assessment of time spent.
Some homeschoolers like taking things week by week while others prefer to have the school year scheduled out at the beginning of the year. As long as you take into consideration things like the required days of attendance, the number of lessons, and the time spent in the subject, planning in advance is fairly simple. One method isn’t superior to the other; the only thing that matters is that it works for your family!