Welcome to my series of lessons I learned as a homeschool mom. Here we go . . .
1. It is important to find your own homeschooling "voice". There are an increasing number of styles and options to choose from.
Read homeschooling books and magazines, peruse catalogues and attend conferences. Ask good questions of other homeschooling families.
Do not be afraid to test out little bits of different styles. Some of this is trial and error.
Then . . . pay attention to what works well with you and your kids, listen to your heart and ask God for direction. It will take some time in the beginning, but you will discover your families homeschooling style.
2. Do your homework in choosing curriculum. Spending hours each summer pouring over catalogues (to study the different options for each subject) was so much fun. Talk to other parents, as well.
I enjoyed picking and choosing from lots of different publishers and independent sources, to find the best option for each subject. (still miss doing this)
I never purchased a complete curriculum from a publisher. (very expensive) Nor did I ever buy the teacher's guides.
As I began to piece together the books I wanted for the next year, I first checked out which books were available at the library. (We started homeschooling before the library catalog was available on-line.) Purchasing used books and borrowing from friends was great, too.
If you are new to homeschooling and picking out curriculum feels overwhelming, you can purchase a full years already prepared plan from a publisher, and get a year of homeschooling under your belt. Then next year . . . oh the fun you will have, picking out your own.
Occasionally, I would purchase something that looked great, but when we started using it, we all hated it. Rather than torture ourselves all year, I would just let that book go (and let myself off the hook for wasting money.) Remember, there is a lot of trial and error here.
I usually spent $100 per girl. It was an exciting day when the books and supplies arrived in the mail.
3. Choose a lesson planner that matches your style and personality. A simple form that I created worked for us.
Each Friday, after our school day was over, I would plan the next week's lessons. I enjoyed not thinking about school over the weekend. And we were always prepared to start school on Monday, even if I got sick or something came up. (Life still happens when you homeschool.)
After I wrote the next weeks plans, one for each daughter, I stapled it into a file folder. If you prefer to have the year's plans in one book, Target often has a great lesson plan book in their dollar section. Check out the requirements in your state to see if you need to keep these records.
Relax and have fun doing your planning. It will take awhile to discover how much work you want to accomplish in a week. Even when I taught school professionally, I rarely accomplished everything in my plan, or often changed my plan as I went along. You do not have to get this perfectly. It will feel more natural with time.