Prepping For a New Homeschool Year: Part Two
Last month, I focused on deciding what you wanted to teach your child this upcoming school year and then completing assessments for the subjects you wanted to cover. This month, I want to focus on lesson planning and prepping materials. Next month, I will discuss tips for starting a new school year.
Here is part two of prepping for a new homeschool year.
Assessments do not have to be formal at all. For example, if you want to see how well your child writes the alphabet, you can have them write or trace their letters, take a photo, or save the page so you know where they started at. I like using Channie’s dry-erase boards for this and we practice almost daily. Every couple of weeks, I take a photo of their work and save it in a portfolio to see how their writing is improving. One of the things I love about the Leveled Daily Curriculum from the Autism Helper is that it has a pre and post-test for every unit. You can use this to measure progress in that subject. I believe it is always important to track growth. If you are not seeing improvement, you can then change the way the material is presented. Sasha wrote a previous post about how to use the pre and post-tests here.
For the subjects that you have chosen to use The Autism Helper, Leveled Daily Curriculum, lesson planning is easy. Each level has enough work for a page a day. Next, you need to decide how many days a week you want to homeschool. My boys have speech, OT, and PT, 3 days a week for an hour each. Many of the activities from the Language Arts curriculum, our occupational therapist and speech therapist help me with. The boys use the writing sections from language arts to work on with occupational therapy and language arts always goes nicely with speech therapy activities. PT can even work on some concepts using gross motor skills.
When you decide how many hours you want to homeschool a day, you can decide on how much you cover per day. There is no magic number. Also, the number of hours you start with can grow as your child gets comfortable with homeschooling. The key is consistency. There will be times when you can do schoolwork because of illness, special occasion, doctor appointments, etc., but you want to decide on a schedule that is realistic and manageable. When I work on building routines, as I will discuss next month, I also use this to get an idea of how much work we can get done in a set amount of time. Original lesson plans may need to be revised and that is ok. The Leveled Daily curriculum includes lesson planning sheets for every subject so there is no need to go out and get a fancy lesson planner.
Prepping materials is important. You want to have your materials ready to go before you sit down to work. If you sit your child down to work while you are still establishing routines, but you do not have your materials prepared, you will lose their attention and they may even become agitated. Last year, I kept every subject in a separate binder. I had two crates of binders full of binders! This year, I decided to use two, two-inch binders and page dividers and only put in the units we are working on. When we are done with the unit, that unit can go in the binder for each subject, and I put in the next unit. So now I will only need to keep track of two binders, daily. The crates can stay on my bookshelf. At the end of the year, they make for a nice portfolio if you must turn in work to your school district.
To be Continued…
I hope this helps you prepare for your new school year. Please let me know if you have any questions. Next month, I want to talk about creating routines and reinforcing positive behavior while your child acclimates to the new homeschool year.