Are stacks of books, teacher guides, and the blank pages of your planner staring back at you as the summer quickly slips away? If you’re feeling a little lost or overwhelmed planning your school year, Kristi Clover, homeschooling mom behind KristiClover.com can help as she shares how to create a course of study to prepare your year.
CREATING A COURSE OF STUDY
by Kristi Clover of KristiClover.com, CHEA Convention Speaker
WHAT IT IS & WHY YOU NEED ONE FOR YOUR HOMESCHOOL
One of the questions I usually get asked when I discuss homeschooling is, “How do you know that you aren’t missing something as you teach?” My answer, “Good planning helps!”
Yes, there are lists out there that show you what the public schools teach each year. But I am running my own school. One of my number one tips to new homeschoolers is to stop trying to make your homeschool look like the public schools.
Homeschooling allows you flexibility and creativity. You get to tailor your kids’ education to meet their individual needs. It’s amazing!
PLANNING! — The best way I plan out the curriculum we will use in our homeschool year is by creating a “Course of Study.”
WHAT IS A COURSE OF STUDY?
Well, it’s essentially the “course” or direction you plan to take for the year. My road map to what we will be studying.
Every year I create a new course of study for our school year. I put every child on one list. I just create categories and start filling in what I plan to use for each area.
Using a course of study helps me tremendously when I’m doing unit studies. I love unit studies. There have been some years when we just do several unit studies throughout the year. Having all my subjects listed out helps me to see what I subjects are being covered in our unit study. It’s fun trying to think of ideas to tie various subjects into our theme for our unit study.
So, no matter what state you are homeschooling in and not matter what style of teaching you have, creating a course of study helps you see all that you plan to do for the year in a quick snapshot.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS
Your Course of Study is Your “Basic Road Map” for the Year
- Creating a Course of Study helps you to see if you have “gaps” in subjects.
- It also helps you to see if there is any “overlap.”
- You get a quick overview of all that you “may” be doing
- If you are using a curriculum that covers several subjects, break it all down here by subject
Know You May NOT Get to Everything on Your Course of Study
- As you can see by my Course of Study here, we had a lot planned out for everyone, — but we DID NOT get to everything on the list. There are subjects we make sure to get to like math & reading, but subjects like Latin don’t always get completed.
- Remember there is often overlap in subjects, so you may not need to use all the curriculum that you had planned. For instance, if my kids are doing copywork, then I might not have them do a final draft of their writing assignment in cursive. I’ll have them practice their typing instead.
- You may find books you like better, so skip the ones on your list. That’s okay – just add the new books to the list.
- Life may get busy, and some subjects may need take a back seat — and that’s okay.
It Helps You Plan Out the Subsequent Years
- If you didn’t get to a certain part of your curriculum, then you know to make it a bigger priority for the next year.
- I use my previous year’s course of study to plan out my next curriculum choices and purchases.
- Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint! You don’t have to teach EVERYTHING all at the same time. Sometimes we teach science every other month, and history on the opposite months. Sometimes, we pick certain days to do specific subjects (M&W=Math & Reading, T=Grammar & Penmanship, W=Science & History, TH=Spelling & Art, etc.)
- Know your state laws, but know that homeschooling is usually pretty flexible.
MONEY SAVING TIP: Creating a Course of Study helps you to make wise decisions when making your purchases. You may not have noticed that you already have penmanship covered with some of your writing assignments, etc. So, having an overview of what curriculum you will be using and subjects you will be covering helps you to avoid extraneous purchases!
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN COURSE OF STUDY
Start by writing out all the different subjects that will be taught
My List Includes:
- Bible & Character,
- Language Arts (Literature/Reading Lists, Phonics, Grammar, Penmanship, Writing, Spelling, Vocabulary, and Latin)
- Math (and material used for math drills)
- Social Studies (History & Geography)
- Fine Arts (Art & Music)
- Foreign Language
- Health (Nutrition, Safety, and Personal Hygiene)
- Physical Education
*Check with your state laws to see if there are any required subjects (& at what grade levels)
Write Each Kids’ Name Under Each Subject
Next Start Filling In What You Will Use to Teach Each Subject (Curriculum you’ll use)
Whether you are doing a unit study, workbooks, classic novels, — any teaching style — using a Course of Study will help you tremendously at getting an overview for your year!
There! You’re Done! It’s super easy! I usually take notes on what all I’ll need like spiral notebooks, binders, etc. for each subject. Again, this helps me with my planning and spending!
Wanna see what Kristi’s Course of Study looked like? Visit the original post on her blog, Raising Clovers.
Looking for a form to help create your Course of Study? The California Homeschool Manual contains this and many other forms a homeschool family may need, many of which are also available to download for FREE on our website.
Kristi Clover is a homeschooling mama of five and is an author, speaker, blogger, podcaster, and vlogger is a favorite speaker and exhibitor at our annual CHEA Conventions. She shares her homeschool tips and advice on her blog and offers the Ultimate Homeschool Organization Course! And she’s giving a special discount to our readers so you can start your school year organized and prepared. Just use the code CLOVER20 to receive 20% off your purchase.