Time For Summer Planning
<<This is a great episode if you are brand new to homeschooling or you are considering homeschooling your child with special needs.>>
Nope, I'm not talking about summer school again in this episode! In this episode, I laid the foundation of the things to keep in mind when planning for the upcoming school year. Just because it is early summer, doesn't mean that it is too early to start thinking about it. Nope, I'm not telling you to go out and buy all your books and get your school set up just yet. But there are several action steps you can take now to pave the way for a smooth start to next school year.
The best place to start is to spend time asking God for wisdom for how to proceed with your homeschool. God knows your child better than you did. After all, He made them! He knows your child's abilities and strengths. He knows exactly which modifications will help your child reach their full potential. So spend time praying and seeking God's wisdom.
On the podcast, I mentioned how instrumental spending time in God's Word has been for my life. It's a great source of wisdom. Picking up the Bible might not tell you how to make math work for your child, but it will certain shape and change you! I am going to be going through the Bible Reading Challenge this summer. Will you join me?
Do Your Research
Before you get started, be sure to become very familiar with your state's homeschooling laws. Laws are different from state to state, and they can change over time. So even if you are a veteran homeschooler, it's always good to do a little refresher course on state laws at the beginning of every school year. You want to be sure you are in compliance! The best place I've found to research state laws is the HSLDA website. If you're not a member of HSLDA, I recommend that as well (no I am not an affiliate.) Our family has been a member for years.
If your state requires evaluations, now is the time to do some research on evaluators. Find one that understands your needs.
Make A List (And Check It Twice)
A foundation of summer planning is making a list of all the classes you want your children to take in the fall. And then go through each class and make note of what struggles your child might have with that curriculum.
Will your child need audio books rather than novels? What about the writing component? Maybe your child would thrive with curriculum a couple grade levels lower than their chronological grade? Think about what would bring them the biggest success and note it. These notes will be very helpful when you start shopping around for curriculum because you might forget any ideas you've not written down.
If you don't know off the top of your head what kind of curriculum modifications your child might need, or you are new to the idea of modifying curriculum, no worries! We're going to be talking about curriculum modifications on upcoming episodes this summer. So stay tuned!
Keep A Journal
If you know your child needs help with school, behavior, therapies, etc, but you can't quite put your finger on what exactly needs to be done, it's time to collect some data!
What I'd recommend is to keep a journal or notebook on hand at all times. When you see something that you think needs to be addressed, jot it down! That will help you to put the puzzle pieces together, and you can even take it to your therapists and have them help you come up with ideas.
Examples would be, "Johnny was reading his library book to me. The same word was on every page but he acted like he had never seen the word before and had to sound it out every time." Or "Sarah chewed her pencil so much that it broke in half." Or "Buddy is consistently having problems losing his place while reading."
These things could possibly indicate issues like dyslexia, sensory seeking disorders and problems crossing the midline. But the only way to figure it out and get help is to keep a journal. And then from there you can figure out how to proceed with your summer planning.
A Word About Curriculum
I typically don't buy my curriculum until July, unless it's something I know I will absolutely need, or if I find a major sale. So don't fret about buying the curriculum just yet. Just focus on making those lists. But you can go ahead and start researching different curriculum options. If you see something that looks promising, just add it to your list for later!
And if you do need to buy now, here's a word of advice. Don't gravitate toward the most expensive or shiniest books. Sometimes that is truly what you need to buy, but in most cases, something inexpensive or easily modified will work much better. We'll be talking more about curriculum this summer, and I'll be bringing on guests who will share their favorites!
We all learn and grow from each other. I didn't spontaneously learn how to homeschool my kids or figure out what worked best for my family. I learned through research but also through tons of support from friends and community groups.
That's why I have started the Flamingo Feathers Community as a companion group to the podcast. You may already be part of a homeschooling group or two on Facebook, but this one will be from a distinctly Christian perspective. Come join us now and become a Founding Member. And be sure to share it with your likeminded friends! We're going to have some great discussions this summer!