OK--this part is what I did not do well last year but I have found that I really like it. It satisfies my inner nerd.
If you have a curriculum that breaks it all down for you (like Abeka or My Father's World, etc.) then consider yourself lucky. You can skip this step. Mostly.
If you have grabbed an eclectic mix of curriculum from all over the world like us, you will need to do some figuring. So grab your textbooks and curriculum.
The other thing you will need is a calendar. Here's a great one to print out from Donna Young. I also print out a few calendars from local school districts around me so I'll know when their Spring Break, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are. You can plan to go with those or against them.
With all my calendars and textbooks around me I begin to think the year out. If you live in a state where you have to have school a certain number of days, then count that out. When will you start? When will you be done (remember to give yourself a cushion for sick days, etc.)? What holidays will you take off? Don't forget to give yourself some "teacher inservice" days so you can get caught up on planning and paperwork.
Whew. NOW....how many days does that give you before Christmas break? How many days after? You might be taking months off during the fall and schooling through the summer so that marker might not work for you. The point is, find the midway point of your year. For me, it's Christmas break.
So, now you need to look at your curriculum. My history book this year has 28 weeks worth of lessons in it, so I know I need to aim to finish through week 14 by Christmastime. Figure this out for all of your subjects and then you will know how many times per week you will need to do that particular subject. I believe we can use a 4 day week this year and still get done. I might be wrong, but that is what I have concluded. :)
I think this is the part of the planning that will really help us stay on track. Write down what you have decided so you can check your progress during the year. If you find you have fallen behind in a subject, you might let things like handwriting go for awhile until you can get caught up.
The point is, PLAN. It might change, but it's better than just diving in without any planning at all.
Next time: The Fun Stuff