Our homeschool year has officially started! Since it is the beginning of the school year, I wanted to share this bonus episode to help any of your homeschoolers who are trying to figure it out. Maybe this is your first year; maybe it’s not, and this will still help you. But I have been really wanting to share a couple of things about how I’m organizing our homeschool year this year because a couple of the things are new and they seem to be really helping me so far.
Over the last few months, I have been figuring out how to make my homeschool work better and more streamlined, more fun, and more enjoyable. I am excited to share all kinds of things with you in this episode! From the homeschool schedule we built to the curriculum we are using, and tips on how to make your homeschool schedule feel lighter so you and your kids can breathe a bit. I’m really excited about what our homeschool year looks like this year and really hope this helps you get excited about yours too!
In This Episode Allie Discusses:
Why she is trying year-round schooling and how she hopes it will help her overall family schedule.
The platforms and curriculum she uses to plan out and facilitate homeschool.
What a typical homeschool day looks like for her kids.
How rotating a few subjects each day creates breathing room in the school load and routine.
Mentioned in this Episode:
Blog Post: How I Use Trello to Organize My Entire Life
The Good and the Beautiful Homeschool Curriculum
Saxon Math Curriculum
Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
Hey friend! Oh my gosh, I am so drained. It’s 9:00 at night right now. I did a webinar today. We had a full day of homeschooling. I recorded three other podcast episodes today. I’m super tapped out. Brian is too. The kids are in bed but they’re not all asleep yet and Brian’s like, “I’m just going to put my headphones in and listen to a podcast because I’m so done.” He’s inside folding a load of laundry for me and we’re both just super tapped out.
But I’m out here in my office/studio recording this little bonus episode for you because I’ve just really wanted to share this with you since it’s the beginning of the school year and get this out to you to help any of you homeschoolers who are trying to figure it out
Maybe this is your first year; maybe it’s not, and this will still help you. But I have been really wanting to share a couple of things about how I’m organizing our homeschool year this year because a couple of the things are new and they seem to be really helping me so far. I’m really excited about them
I think the podcast, in this way, is a lot like a blog and I like to share whatever I’m learning, whatever I’m doing right now. That will change and evolve as I do and as life goes on. Right now, I’m figuring out how to make my homeschool work better and be more streamlined, more fun and enjoyable, and I think I’ve made a couple of changes this year versus last year that are going to accomplish that. So, I’m going to share them with you
I’m going to go over all kinds of things. I’m going to go over the homeschool schedule we’re on this year, which is different than usual. I’m going to share a couple of changes that I’ve made to the way we’re formatting our year.
I’m going to show you a picture of the online program that I use to organize our homeschool, and kind of use it as our homeschool schedule. It’s called Trello and it’s a free platform. I’ve talked about it quite a bit. I also have a blog post and a video tutorial where I show you how to use it to organize your life and I can link to that in the show notes of this episode for you.
I’m gonna show you a picture of our homeschool board and kind of talk you through it. And then I’m going to talk about the curricula that we’re using and share our schedule, kind of like a typical homeschool day for us this new year.
We have already started our year. We pulled out a couple of things a little bit early because it was like 120 degrees here in southern California in the summer and the kids were just getting super antsy. Too much technology. They weren’t able to play outside. And so, we pulled out some things and created a little bit of routine and order early. So, our new school year has officially started for us.
We actually homeschool through a charter school and they don’t start quite yet. They have another week, but we have started officially. We’ve been going strong and doing good so I’m ready to share what we’re doing.
One new thing that we’re trying this year is hopefully going to help us with our year- round scheduling. So far, we’ve really been fans of the year-round school schedule. Year-round schooling can look a lot of different ways. But basically, you don’t start and end when everyone else does. This year we are starting when most schools do. But we’re going to school through the summer and we’ll be wrapping up our last semester when everyone else is on summer break just because we keep finding that we want to do school in the summer at least a little bit.
So, if we’re wrapping up a couple of the core subjects and we could have a little bit of a lighter schedule in July, I think it will actually really help my kids because like I said, it’s really hot. They can’t really go outside. They can’t swim all day, every day. When they play games and we let them have a video game summer, it’s all fine until it’s been too much and they’re freaking out and their moods are terrible.
So I think that having some time in the summer to do a little bit of school will be really helpful for everybody and keep us structured. I can honestly say that parts of the summer were pretty miserable because we lacked routine completely. So, I’m definitely wanting to really follow the year round schedule this year. We kind of did last year but it was just really lax and we didn’t totally do school over the summer even though we probably should have. So this year I’m planning to really stick with it.
We’re trying a schedule that I actually saw online on a different blog. I think it’s pretty common. It’s six weeks on with school and then one week off and you stay in that pattern. I actually found it last year before we started last year, but I just wasn’t sure. I didn’t commit and I didn’t do it.
I’m going to do it this year because I noticed that we seem to desire a lot of breaks. As a family, we travel a lot. That’s one of the biggest perks for us of homeschooling and owning our own business, that we can do things, have family trips, and take breaks whenever we want, not when we’re told to. And I think that six weeks on/one week off will also help with the burnout that typically comes around the month of February. I think that would help to have a lot of breaks coming up, knowing we’ve always got a break around the corner, and we can plan little family vacations, trips, and things like that.
We’ve got friends and family sprinkled all over the country and we would love to go and visit them and six weeks on/one week off gives us plenty of opportunities to do that. So I’m really excited to try that schedule out this year.
I don’t remember exactly how it breaks down, but basically instead of our school year ending in May or June, it would end in July. And then we’d be ready to start up again in September. You can do whatever you want. A lot of people their new school year starts in January and it goes until December and they have a lot of breaks within that. You can make it work however you want.
But for us, we’re starting our year at the same time as everyone else does and we’re just not really taking the full summer off because it doesn’t seem to serve our kids very well. I hope that makes sense. So, six weeks of school and then one week off.
And then we’re also doing the same thing that we did last year, which is four school days per week instead of five. Monday through Thursday is our normal full school days and then Friday is a really light day for reviewing anything that was difficult for anyone that week. And also to give us a little wiggle room to catch up. So if we maybe didn’t get to finish all of our history that week, we can finish it on Friday. It’s just nice to have some cushion.
That’s also what I like about the six weeks on/one week off schedule is that it ends up giving you a decent cushion. So if you guys get sick or you just need to have a big break that was unplanned, you have the wiggle room to do that. And I feel like the four school days per week schedule gives us that wiggle room as well.
Friday mornings are the mornings that I always have all my team meetings. So I’m usually in meetings from about 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. So Brian can go over and review anything that the kids need to be reviewed or catch up on anything that didn’t get finished. I can come in if he needs me to and help after my meetings. But pretty much the rest of Friday after my meetings are done are open and we can do whatever we want to do and our weekend starts early, which is great.
If you feel like your house is just always out of control, it’s totally crazy and you’d love to take some of the advice I give here on The Purpose Show, and my blog, but you just kind of feel like you’re so frozen and overwhelmed, you can’t even. I created a new challenge. It’s called the 10:10 challenge. It’s super, super simplified.
It’s email based so you can open the emails and take it at your own pace. And even the emails are a few sentences. It’s really, really simplified.
This is designed for the really overwhelmed mom who wants to kickstart her house and build some momentum, because as I always talk about – momentum is where it’s at to making progress, actually taking action, and having that longevity of action that’s going to change your life in the long run.
So the 10:10 challenge. This whole thing is 10 minutes a day every day for 10 days.
It’s going to build a happier mom and a happier home for your family.
To take this challenge, (it’s totally free by the way) go to alliecasazza.com/1010.
Another thing that we’re trying is we’re rotating History and Science to create more breathing room in each school day. We find that it’s really hard to get everything done each day without school taking forever. And Science and History are two things that are time consuming for the curricula that we use, which I’ll share in a second.
History takes about 90 minutes most days, sometimes just an hour. And then Science is pretty much the same. There’s a lot of hands-on stuff, a lot of experiments and really taking time to explain everything to the kids and answer their questions. And when we’re doing that every day for both subjects, or even just a couple times a week for both subjects, it just becomes too much. And then the kids get antsy and the day is too long. It’s just not how we roll. So, we’re rotating History and Science.
So, what that means is instead of doing History a couple times a week and Science a couple times a week and trying to squeeze those both in, or I think it ended up being a few times a week that it was needed. So, at some point they both landed on the same day and that day was always really stressful. So instead we’re doing a few rounds of the six weeks on/one week off school schedule and we’re just focusing on History and just busting out that curriculum. Getting through the whole year’s worth curriculum because we’re doing it all four school days.
And then when we’re done and we go into the second round of six weeks on/one week off, we’re gonna focus on Science and do Science four school days a week and then be totally done with Science. So, we’re going to try that out. I’m not sure if we’ll like it or not, but I’ll keep you posted and we’ll see how that goes. I know quite a few people who do that and they’ve said good things about it. So, we’ll see.
So basically, we’re working on every core subject, every full school day of the week. And the kids have signed up for a couple of elective classes through the homeschool campus that we have, so they actually go to a homeschool campus in our town. And actually, it’s perfect. I didn’t even do this on purpose. It just worked out that way. I wish I was this savvy. Hudson goes to piano, the same location, the same day and the same time as Bella and Leland go to Spanish. So, on Mondays at 1:00 we will just all go to the homeschool campus. Emmett can run around and play at the park. For an hour Hudson’s in piano and the older two kids are taking Spanish. That’s something that they’re learning that we’re not having to teach them. It kind of breaks up the week and it’s electives that I feel are going to be really, really good for them.
I’ll show you a picture of our homeschool board. I use a platform called Trello. Trello is free and it’s an online platform. It’s also an APP. We use it in my business, my team and I use it for communication to keep up on different projects. You can share Trello boards with different team members. So, the homeschool schedule board is shared between Brian and I.
I’ll link to the video tutorial I’ve made for this and the blog posts that I wrote about how I use Trello for everything and all that good stuff. But basically, if you go to the show notes for this episode, which I will link to (alliecasazza.com/shownotes/bonus04) you’ll be able to see a screenshot of my homeschool Trello board with our schedule on it.
Basically, what I’ve done is I’ve decided to ditch the paper homeschool planner. I just found it really irritating, and time consuming too, to have to fill out each student’s name, the subject, what we’re going to be doing that week over and over again every single week, for every kid. It was just really time consuming. It didn’t seem worth it to me.
So with Trello and the way I’ve laid out our schedule to where we’re doing all the core subjects every school day, it’s pretty cut and dry. It really, really simplified me looking at like, “Okay, what are we supposed to do today?” Now we do all the core subjects every day and I just look at the Trello board and see like what are we supposed to do next?
Instead of spending time organizing on paper what everyone’s doing every week, I spent time really, really thinking through what is going to be the best format for our day. Now we’ve been homeschooling for a while, and last year we did it. The kids are a little older so I was able to get familiar with what’s working and what’s not working and I noticed if we started with something that’s really interactive and makes everybody feel positively or there’s really no wrong answers and everyone can just kind of talk and be involved, then that would be really good.
So, we do our Bible lesson while we have breakfast. Then everybody cleans up and does their chores and gets ready for the day. So chores are out of the way. The house is clean. Everybody’s ready, everyone’s fed. We started with Bible which puts everybody in a good mood. Then school starts around 9:00 and then we go into History, which is similar to Bible in the way that it’s really like a conversation. They call it a “couch subject.” So everybody does History together at the same time. There’s no grade differences for History with our curriculum, and again, I’ll share all that with you in a second. So we all sit on the couch and just go through our History lesson. Then the kids go to the table and they do any of the worksheets that go with the lesson for that day and it’s just a really good start to our day.
And then we do a split-up time and that’s with Math and Reading. So, what that means is Bella and Leland are actually doing the same math even though they are two years apart. Bella is in fourth grade and she’s actually doing third grade Math because that’s just where she’s at. And Leland is doing a year ahead. He’s advanced in Math. So that worked out to where they’re doing the same Math and it’s much simpler.
So, Bella and Leland do Math together and Hudson sits and has this quiet reading time for 30 minutes. And then we switch. The older kids go and they have their reading time and I sit and do Math with Hudson. Then we do read aloud time. Then we have lunch, clean up, and then we do another split up session with Language Arts and Handwriting.
So same thing. I do Language Arts with Hudson; Bella and Leland work on their Handwriting books, and then we switch. Hudson does Handwriting and I do Language Arts with Bella and Leland. Bella and Leland are in different Language Arts, but they are more independent workers so I can help and oversee them both at the same time. Bella’s doing her fourth grade one and Leland’s doing his second grade one.
Next, we do Vocabulary. I just help Hudson. The older kids don’t really need help with that. And then at the end of the day, if we have time and everything’s going well, we’ll do Music and Art practice.
The boys are musical and Bella’s artistic, so Bella will do an Art lesson or just have free draw time, free painting, whatever, and the boys will practice piano and guitar. Sometimes we don’t do that though, and that’s okay. I don’t require them to do it every single day, but usually they do it.
That’s Monday through Thursday. Friday is a lighter day and we’ll just have review in the morning or catch up on anything that we didn’t get done in the morning. And then they’re done and our weekend feels like three days, which is awesome.
And then I’ve also used the labels that come with Trello to mark, like what’s a core subject, what’s a group subject that we can all do together, what needs to be done individually, what are their electives to keep everything really organized. It’s really, really helpful to have a clean, simplified area where I can see this all in one place. I love Trello for that. And because I do use it for my business, I’m really used to it.
And then what I do is I use Trello in place of a paper planner for what everyone is doing every day. I just put a post-it note on the lesson that we’re on in their curriculum books. I open it up to that day and we do the next lesson. And when we’re done I write in a normal, basic journal that I got from Target, and every day I would put the date at the top and then I put Bella, LA for Language Arts, Lesson 31, and just keep track of what we did get done.
That helps me with the school records and it just helps me know what are we behind on and what we need to do still. And also in the thick of it, in that day, sometimes I’ll forget what we actually did and what we still have left to do, so I can look at that and know.
But it’s better and less time consuming than me sitting down once a week and planning ahead and going over every day – “Okay, this Tuesday we’re going to do Lesson 29…” Then what if something changes? What if we don’t do it? Then I have to erase and the whole plan is shot, so I find that this just works better for me.
The curriculum that we’re using is called The Good and the Beautiful. We used it last year. So far it is the only homeschool curriculum that we have reused. I’ve always wanted to try something else after I have purchased something but not with this. It’s beautiful. Very, very image heavy, which my kids really love. I absolutely love it.
It’s definitely a Christian curriculum so if that doesn’t float your boat this won’t be for you. But it’s not in an annoying way and I mean that in the best way possible. I just really, really like it.
And then for Math we’re actually using Saxon this year and so far I like it.
So yeah, that’s pretty much it. That’s how I’ve organized our homeschool year this year. If you’re not a homeschooler, I don’t even know why you listened because it’s a super snooze fest and it’s kinda boring anyway, so thanks for listening if you got to this point.
Again, if you want the links to anything that I shared and all the Trello stuff, just go to alliecasazza.com/shownotes/bonus04 and you’ll get it all there.
This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.
Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.
I am always rooting for you, friend!
See ya next time!