Early on into our homeschooling journey I started taking over putting together our own curriculum and resource plan. I do admire boxed curricula that has everything already laid out for you, but this didn’t quite fit our family’s unschooling and eclectic approach. I needed curriculum and resources to be much more flexible. Hence, the basis for the resource I created that you can snag at the end of this post. But first, let’s talk about how you can write your own curriculum and resource plan year after year.
How to DIY Curriculum and Resource Plan
Before diving in, let me first soothe any thoughts that may be trying to convince you that you can’t do this or that it’s too hard. It’s really not, especially with my layout. By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to put together your own curriculum and resources for each of your homeschooling kiddos every year.
Look at the Big Picture
Before thinking about one piece of curriculum or lesson plan, start by thinking about what you want to accomplish through homeschooling. What are your goals for each child? Note these goals for each of your children, even if they are the same. Be sure to take into consideration their unique development, learning styles, special interests and the like.
This is also where you’ll want to jot down any homeschooling requirements per your state. This can be used as a guide for what to teach and to stay compliant. Once you’ve done that, it will be much easier to write down the subjects you want to teach throughout the school year. Don’t limit your list of subjects to what’s popular. You can also include things like:
- Foreign Languages
- Special Arts
- and so on…
One of the printables I provide in my planner is a 12+ year overview for subjects you’ll want to teach throughout the year. I suggest writing down all of them even if you don’t plan on teaching them the entire year. And the reason I labeled it 12+ year is because you may be homeschooling children as young as toddler age through 12th grade.
Brainstorm Topics and Concepts to Teach
When you purchase a pre-written curriculum, this is usually done for you but is almost always written according to Common Core Standards or the public school system in general. This is also where most parents are resistant to take the creative liberty they have when putting together curriculum that tailors specifically to each of their children.
The truth of the matter is, you can absolutely, positively, 100% choose the topics and concepts you want your children to learn and when you want teach them. We have become accustomed to following a predetermined schedule and measuring our kids to it versus following their development lead.
In this section of the planner, you will:
- Write out the subjects you plan to teach for each corresponding grade you are homeschooling.
- Document what concepts, subjects, and topics can be taught as a family.
- Take note of what concepts, subjects, and topics will need to be taught individually.
- Begin gathering a list of resources to use for teaching your chosen concepts and topics.
There is also a printable master resource list for writing down resources that need to be purchased and/or ordered, where from, and the cost.
Break Down Your Year Into Terms
The first two steps deal with your entire year at a glance. For this step, we will start to look at your year in terms. Another benefit of homeschooling is being able to decide your own schedule from how many weeks and months you’ll run in succession to how often you want to take breaks.
Newer homeschooling families find it easier to follow the August to May schedule whereas others do the next most popular year-round schedule. No matter what you choose, you can break down any schedule into equal terms.
Looking at your year in terms will allow you to break down the resources you want to use. Here’s an example:
If I want to teach Hebrew and I’m using a resource with 56 lessons, I can initially break the resource down into 14 lessons per term (assuming my year is broken down into 4 terms).
Mapping out your resources this way will help you:
- Evenly divide your resources over a period of time.
- See how much or how little to use a resource.
- Decide how you want to use a resource.
- Lesson plan on a weekly and daily basis.
Keep in mind that you are never obligated to use an entire resource from beginning to end. If you only want to do a couple chapters of a resource here, and read an entire book there – you can do it!
In my planner, you are provided with printable pages for looking at your year for subjects taught as a family with 3 and 4 terms and subjects taught individually for 3 or 4 terms.
Identify How Many Days a Week to Teach Individual Subjects
Having an idea of how many lessons will be taught per term will make breaking it down per week a breeze. First you’ll want to choose how many days per week you’d like to homeschool. It is common to school 4, 5, or 6 days per week. Once you’ve decided that part, it’s time to calculate how many days per week you’ll need to teach a subject in order to reach your term goal. Hint: do 1 term at a time.
Starting with the first term… For each subject you’ll add up all the resources you plan to use and divide it by the number of weeks in that term. For example: If the total number of resources for Hebrew equal 56 lessons for 1 term, then I will need to do that subject at least 4 days per week (56/12=4.6).
Keep in mind that your numbers will reflect (1) the total amount of resources you will be using, and (2) how many weeks are in each of your terms. Read my blog here to discover how I homeschool year round using a 3-term, multi-mixed-method style.
Once you determine how many days per week you will need to do a subject, it will make it easier to select the actual days to do them.
Arrange a Comfortable Daily Schedule
The keyword here is “comfortable.” If you have been homeschooling any amount of time then you know that plans can change last minute, and that’s okay. Never set the bar of expectations so high that homeschooling becomes overwhelming or too stressful.
Instead, take all of your curriculum resource planning and put it into reasonable and comfortable lesson plans. Before doing anything, think about you and your family’s unique dynamic. Are you a morning person? Do you children easily wake up in the morning? What is the most ideal part of the day when energy is high? Does the other parents (or yourself) work outside the home? Are there extra curricular groups or activities to consider? All of this is important to keep in mind when you are creating a daily schedule and making lesson plans.
Don’t feel pressured to complete an entire term, or even month’s worth of lesson plans. Instead, do what is manageable.
Purchase Your Own DIY Curriculum and Resource Planner
If the idea of putting together your curriculum and resources sounds exciting and like something you want to do, then take the guesswork out of how to do it and purchase my planner. Everything is already provided for you in even more details than what you just read above. Not to mention, you’ll also have access to the necessary done-for-you printables to create your own beautiful planner and can use these printables year after year.
There is a cover and printable tabs at the end for keeping each of your sections separated. Simply print directly on tabbed copy paper, or print on card stock and label. Enjoy the inspirational “Keep Calm and Homeschool On” printable too!
Note: This is a digital resource only and nothing will be shipped.