Thursday, April 20, 2023

"Put Your Homeschool Year on Auto-Pilot" by Pam Barnhill

*Disclaimer: I approached Pam Barnhill to receive this product and do this review.

It's time to get planning for the next homeschool year! Can you imagine getting all of your homeschool planning done by the end of summer so you can enjoy the rest of the year without scrambling every Sunday night to figure out what you're going to teach on Monday morning?

So there are 10 modules in the Put Your Homeschool Year on Auto-Pilot online course. I printed out all the paperwork for each module, 3-hole punched the whole set, then put it into a binder for a place to take notes, do planning, etc. I had to block out time in my planner to make sure I was actually dedicating my time to the course. This is career development, after all.

Module 1: Vision. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Watch the video, mull it over, then just sit down and do it. Then come back to it. Make a brainstorm mess. Then make it tidier. Then finish it up after you Google some other homeschool vision statements. You can do this! Here is our family's Homeschool Vision Statement.

Module 2: Goals. Instead of saying, "My kid will finish the Algebra workbook by the end of April," try "My kid will do one lesson of Algebra per day, 4 times per week until it's done." I used this section to make a whole big mess of ideas and goals until I squeezed it down into just a couple of pages for my kids. I also made goals for myself about consistency.

Module 3: Subjects and Resources. Now that the goals are in place for the year, it's time to figure out how to reach them. Which subjects do you want to teach (I actually put that in my goals already)? What do you need to teach those subjects? I want my teen boys to have Biology and work on it a certain number of times per week to meet the requirement for our state, but what do I want to use to teach it to them?

Module 4: Annual Schedule. What kind of schedule do you want to have? Do you like to take a family vacation every October for two weeks? Do you like to take a month off for Christmas then hit homeschooling much harder in January?

Module 5: Weekly and Daily SchedulesDo you know what Loop Scheduling is? Block Scheduling? Traditional? Different things work for different families (Field Trip Fridays! travelschool, attending a co-op) at different times of life.

Module 6: Procedures. This is where you will create procedure lists for what you're teaching to take the decision fatigue out of each day. Instead of just "do some art," you could create a list of clearing a workspace, putting down paper, getting out the supplies, checking a list of lessons you want to do, where to put the artwork to dry, clean-up, etc. This list would be great for the kids as well to help them remember what comes next. As for something like History or Science, your list might say, "Read chapter out loud together, watch corresponding YouTube video (see Module 7), work on corresponding workbook pages."

Module 7: The Lesson Plan List. This is when you'll copy tables of contents and figure out YouTube video lists, deciding when to teach what. Doing a large amount of work now is what will help to get your year into auto-pilot mode!

Module 8: Organizing Materials. You'll make a shopping list of organizational items you'd like and figure out some ideas for getting your ideal systems into place. You'll also start your Teacher Binder and a lovely file system that works for you and your children!

Module 9: Visualization and Implementation Tips. Go through the plan in your mind and see how it might all work out. This part is going to be huge for me because I tend to not think things through, leaving my kids waiting on me to get my act together for a specific lesson. Not cool. Also, what are you going to do if someone drops in unexpectedly? What if you get sick? How about when Dad is traveling so there's more for everyone to do around the house?

Module 10: Periodic Review and Maintenance. Pam provides a fabulous Review Checklist for this module to see how schedules and routines are working, how the curriculum choices are working out, etc.

You also get access to Plan Your Year forms library and the 4-Module Put Your Meal Plan on Auto-Pilot course.

Bottom line: this course is well worth the price to really get you thinking deeply about some very important questions:

WHY do you homeschool?

WHO are you homeschooling?

WHEN will you homeschool?

WHAT are you going to teach?

WHERE are you going to homeschool? (field trips and travelschooling, in the dining room, in a dedicated classroom-type of space in your home)

Also, check out her book, Plan Your Year!