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The New School Year
A Compilation of Encouragement From:
Steve and Jane Lambert, Five in a Row
Malia Russell, Homemaking 911
Terri Johnson, Knowledge Quest
Amanda Bennett, Amanda Bennett Unit Studies
Cheryl Allin, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
© 2009 The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC
P.O. Box 8426, Gray, TN 37615
Printed in the United States of America
All rights reserved
Project Manager: Charlotte McKinney, Stephanie Ruby
Project Editors: Karen Sargent, Elizabeth Brandt
Cover Design and Art Director: Christi Gifford, www.ArtDesignsbyChristi.com
Text Layout: Krystin Corneilson
Cover Photo: Leah Ott
Bible Photo Credit: © Spooky2006 | Dreamstime.com
Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptural references contained in this E-Book are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
This published work may contain facts, views, opinions, statements, recommendations, hyperlinks, references, Web sites, advertisements, and other content and links
or references to external sources (collectively, “Content”) not owned or controlled by the publisher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC (“TOS”). This Content
does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or recommendations of TOS, and any reliance upon such Content is taken at the user’s sole risk. TOS and the
individual contributors have made reasonable efforts to include accurate, current, “family-friendly” Content, but TOS makes no warranties or representations as to the
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
Planning Your Course and Letting the Lord Determine Your Steps

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The New School Year



Who .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................16
What ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................17
Combine Grades for Some Subjects....................................................................................................................................................................17
Use the Electronic Tools of the Trade ...............................................................................................................................................................17
Choose Curriculum Wisely ...................................................................................................................................................................................18
When ...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................18
When to Introduce Subjects .................................................................................................................................................................................18
When Will You Do School? ..................................................................................................................................................................................19
Where ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................20
Why ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................21
How ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................21

A. Scheduling the Easy Way! A 5-Step Plan .............................................................................................................................................................23
Step 1: Plan Your Subjects .....................................................................................................................................................................................23
Step 2: Gather Your Materials ..............................................................................................................................................................................24
Step 3: Set Aside Some Time ................................................................................................................................................................................25
Step 4: Open the Books .........................................................................................................................................................................................26
Step 5: Write it Out! ...............................................................................................................................................................................................27


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The New School Year
B. Set up Your Own Personal Library ......................................................................................................................................................................29
C. School Boxes Keep School Work From Spreading all Over the House! ...................................................................................................30

Expect the Unexpected ................................................................................................................................................................................................31
Do the Math ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................31
Seasons of Change and Adventure ............................................................................................................................................................................32
Items of Interest ............................................................................................................................................................................................................34
Thoughtful Progression ................................................................................................................................................................................................36
The Best Laid Plans .......................................................................................................................................................................................................37

Phase One: Organizing Your Space ...........................................................................................................................................................................38
Step 1: Organize Your Equipment and Papers ..................................................................................................................................................39
Step 2: Organize Your School Room ..................................................................................................................................................................40
Step 3: Organize Children’s supplies ...................................................................................................................................................................41
Step 4: Keep Clutter Away ....................................................................................................................................................................................42
Step 5: Finish .............................................................................................................................................................................................................42
Step 6: Keep it That Way!......................................................................................................................................................................................43
Phase Two: Planning the School Year .......................................................................................................................................................................43
Step 1: Your Mission Statement ...........................................................................................................................................................................43
Step 2: Know the Law .............................................................................................................................................................................................43
Step 3: Organizing Your Plan .................................................................................................................................................................................43
Phase Three: Implement the Mission! .......................................................................................................................................................................44



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The New School Year

Karen Sargent, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
n August 2009 I will begin my twentieth year
of homeschooling. I have five children, all of
whom I have taught from birth. Two were
high achievers, one was average, and two are
learning disabled. Four have
graduated from high school, and
the last one is beginning eleventh
grade. Over the years I have
been an active-duty Navy spouse,
moving no fewer than thirteen
times. I have run several
businesses from home, including
residential painting and childcare,
and I currently work part-time
editing. I am the primary bill
payer and budgeter, the one who
coordinates medical care, the cook, the teacher,
the social director, and during long deployments,
I even tried to be the dad. With all that, you
would think I had my life together.
You would be wrong.
I am not an organized person. I have a wad of
sticky-notes on my desk that contain important
data. When my husband, Ben, calls from the
office in search of some tidbit of information, I sift
through my wad until I find it.
The to-be-filed pile on top of the
filing cabinet is five inches thick
and contains papers from four
months ago. My budget is written
in stenographer’s notebooks.
Somehow the bills get paid every
month, but there is an occasional
close call.
And school? Don’t even ask. The
extent of my plan is that I want
the kids to graduate at the end of twelfth grade.
Once a year I think about what each child needs
to study the next year, and I write it in whatever
notebook I happen to be using at the time. When
it’s time to update the plan the following year, I
spend half a day searching for last year’s
notebook, if I even still have it. The last child’s
I
● ● ●
. . . With all that, you would
think I had my life together.
You would be wrong.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
educational plan is written in three different
notebooks, and each version is slightly different.
And every year I vow to change. Somehow I
never have learned to gracefully blend and
balance the household, homeschool, part-time
work, and relationship demands of my life. My
motto is ―Do one thing well.‖ Of course, that
means everything else falls by the wayside, and
I’m still trying to figure out what one thing I do
well. I often feel like a cartoon character spinning
in high-speed circles, and every once in a while I
reach out and grab something on my way past.
Crisis management is how I live.
Occasionally, a woman comes along who has it all
together. You know the type I’m talking about.
She is perfectly clothed and has shoes to match
every outfit. She carries one of those organizer-
style purses and never fumbles around looking for
her keys or the dry-cleaning receipt. Her children
are well behaved, well groomed, and color
coordinated. Their pigtails wouldn’t dare sag. This
picture-perfect homeschooler has planned each of
her children’s educational goals from birth
through graduate school. She has daily lesson
plans documented for this year (in 15-minute
increments) and is currently working on next
year’s. Her students’ artwork is framed and neatly
displayed in the family gallery, and their
schoolwork filed efficiently in personalized folders.
Her school room includes an art corner, a reading
nook, and a computer station. Science equipment
is stored handily in its own kitchen cabinet, and
the music room contains a piano, three different-
sized violins, a cello, a clarinet, and a flute. Her
family is never late for co-op.
If you are this type of woman, stop right now.
This is not an E-Book that you need to read.
However, if you are not this woman, but run your
home and school a little more like the way I do,
read on; this is the book for you.
● ● ●
. . . if you are not this woman,
but run your home and school
a little more like the way I do, read on;
this is the book for you.
● ● ●

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The New School Year


Steve and Jane Lambert, Five in a Row
plan (verb): To formulate a program for a definite course of action.
or classroom teachers, the emphasis is on
the verb "plan." By mid-August, they have
180 very precise daily
plans completed. Barring
snow days or a fire in the
school building, they can tell
you precisely what they're
going to be doing on
Wednesday, April 7, 2010.
From 9:10 to 9:50 a.m.,
they'll be reading about
plankton on pages 292-299 in
the science text. They'll be
reviewing compound fractions
in chapter 33 in the math
text from 11:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. for a test on
Friday. They'll have students writing a 350-word
short story in third person with extra credit for no
spelling errors between 2:05 and 2:40 p.m. in
English. And they'll be lecturing on the three
principal causes of the Spanish-American War in
history from 2:50 until the final bell at 3:35 p.m.
And if they've been teaching
the same grade for a few
years, they can tell you that
this is precisely what they
did on the first Wednesday
in April in 2009, 2008, 2007,
2006, 2005, and 2004.
Classroom teachers are
masters of planning their
school years with precision.
Should they be our role
models? Do we need to
become master planners?
Or does the liberty of homeschooling entitle us to
wake up each morning and wonder what we're
going to teach about today? Or if you're an
unschooler, you don't even need to wonder about
F
● ● ●
As homeschoolers, it's vitally
important that we know how to plan
our school year out in such a way that
the Lord can have consistent
input in our classroom.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
what you should be teaching today. Instead, you
just wonder what sorts of things your children are
going to want to learn about today. Is that the joy
of homeschooling—complete freedom to wander
aimlessly through the world around us, randomly
studying whatever we want whenever the notion
strikes us?
I believe the answer is found in Proverbs 16:9 "A
man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD
directeth his steps."
As homeschoolers, it's vitally
important that we know how
to plan our school year out in
such a way that the Lord can
have consistent input in our
classroom.
It is essential that we have a
clear mission statement for
our homeschool. And I would
suggest that at least part of
that mission statement
should focus on raising
disciples and glorifying God. In the end, education
is about disciple making. Leave God out of the
equation and teach that knowledge is the purpose
of our instruction, and you'll end up with disciples
of the spirit of this world—children who believe
that achievement and success are the goals of a
life well lived.
Never doubt that we are making disciples through
the process of education. So are private schools
and public schools. The only difference is which
master each disciple will serve. We all serve a
master—and so will our children.
We live in a world of three competing educational
philosophies: Greek, Roman, and Hebrew. It's
vital that you know the difference.
In the Greek model,
knowledge was the highest
good. Socrates said, "There
is only one good—
knowledge, and only one
evil—ignorance." One need
not look far to see that
model in popular homeschool
curriculum choices, authors,
and convention speakers.
In the Roman model, power
and entertainment were the
prizes that life had to offer.
For Caesars and citizens
alike, to rule the world and then enjoy the
spectacle of gladiators and lions in the Coliseum
was the highest goal. One need only look at
popular American culture to see that the Roman
model is alive and well today.
● ● ●
Never doubt that we are making
disciples through the process of
education. So are private schools and
public schools. The only difference is
which master each disciple will serve.
We all serve a master—
and so will our children.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
The Hebrew model placed the highest value on
the dual objectives expressed by Jesus when
asked what was required to have eternal life.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the LORD
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind” and “. . . Thou shalt love
thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22: 37, 39b)
In Hebrew thought, having a vital relationship
with both God and our fellow man was the highest
priority.
The Bible goes on to praise knowledge. Proverbs
18:15 exhorts us "The heart of the prudent
getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise
seeketh knowledge."
In Colossians 2:2-3 Paul says, "That their hearts
might be comforted, being knit together in love,
and unto all riches of the full assurance of
understanding, to the acknowledgement of the
mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge."
Did you follow that? God says if we're wise and
discerning we will acquire knowledge; we will seek
it out. But He also tells us that the treasures of all
wisdom and all knowledge are hidden in Christ. If
we're to acquire wisdom and knowledge, Christ
must be a part of our homeschool planning
process, because all wisdom and all knowledge
are hidden in Him. And if our ultimate goal is to
produce disciples of Him, we must teach our
children to love God and to love their neighbor.
Which philosophy are we to embrace: Greek?
Roman? Hebrew? As Christians, I trust most of us
can agree that the Hebrew model ought to be the
basis of our educational philosophy. Power and
entertainment are passing pleasures of this world
which serve no eternal purpose. Knowledge for
the sake of knowledge, the Bible says, simply
makes us proud and arrogant. In 1 Corinthians
8:1 Paul says, "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity
edifieth." Both the Greek and Roman models are
hollow.
● ● ●
If we're to acquire wisdom and knowledge,
Christ must be a part of our
homeschool planning process, because
all wisdom and all knowledge are hidden in
Him. And if our ultimate goal is to produce
disciples of Him, we must teach our
children to love God and to love their
neighbor.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
Allowing our children to plan
their own way through the
educational jungle each year
leaves God out of the plan.
And planning our own way
through the school year
maze may leave God out if
it's not built wisely.
So finally, then, we come to
this question: How can we
plan our year in such a way
that we have a set of
learning objectives and a deliberate "course," yet
still allow room for the Lord to determine our
steps? If it's in Christ that the treasures of all
wisdom and knowledge have been hidden, we
need to plan in such a way that He is part of our
daily lesson plans.
I would submit that this sort of planning requires
more than simply including "Bible" as a part of
our daily curriculum. It even requires more than
having daily devotions during our homeschool
day. It requires purposefully inviting the Holy
Spirit to have His way with our plans and then
listening for the quiet, unobtrusive voice that
offers to determine our steps.
Five in a Row was created with this very goal in
mind—a loosely structured daily plan that allows
for Divine intervention each day in unexpected
ways. But regardless of
which curriculum you've
chosen this year, you can
modify it in such a way as to
invite the Lord's input into
your classroom.
I've said for years that we
often find that faith is spelled
R-I-S-K. Every time we step
out in faith we are taking a
risk. We risk looking foolish.
We risk being disappointed.
We risk having our hearts broken. Yet to live by
faith requires a willingness to take risks and to
work without a net.
So in practical terms, how do we develop faith-
based lesson plans for our homeschool year?
I believe we set aside unplanned segments in our
teaching day and then earnestly ask the Lord to
show us how He wants to fill that time. We invite
the Holy Spirit to come and determine our steps.
Most of us are guilty of over planning. We may
think that we have six hours in our teaching day,
for instance. And we plan accordingly. Yet in
reality, between unexpected phone calls, cranky
toddlers whose naptimes just didn't come
together the way we'd hoped, and the myriad of
other interruptions, we probably only have four
● ● ●
I believe we set aside unplanned
segments in our teaching day and then
earnestly ask the Lord to show us
how He wants to fill that time.
We invite the Holy Spirit to come
and determine our steps.
● ● ●

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11
The New School Year
hours in our teaching day. And then we try to
cram six hours of material into four hours of time
and the results are predictable: stress, anxiety,
anger, tears, and arguments.
In a national survey done
several years ago, classroom
teachers were asked, "How
much time, on average, do
you have available for each
student in your classroom to
answer individual questions
and work with them on their
individual learning needs?"
The answer: less than two
minutes per day. If a
classroom teacher has 25
students in his room, he has,
on average, less than 50
minutes of available time
each day to work with
students individually. You
have more than that—even if
you have seven or eight
children. And if you're just beginning the journey
and only have one or two students to work with,
you have several hours each day to work with
each of them. Even if you're not very good at
homeschooling yet, the odds are stacked in your
favor. Your kids should do just fine.
Do an experiment right now. Go to the kitchen
and get a glass from the cupboard. Now fill it with
water. (I'd suggest you fill it with sticky fruit
punch for a more dramatic lesson, but I'm not
that mischievous!) Now fill it
to the very top. Make
maximum use of every
available milliliter of space
available in your glass. If it's
a 6-ounce glass, by golly, fill
up all 6 ounces. If you've
chosen an 8-ounce glass,
make absolutely SURE
you’ve gotten all 8 ounces of
water into your glass.
Now begin walking while
carrying the glass. Okay,
walk a little faster. Now
begin jogging as you would
have to in your teaching day
as unexpected delays come
up and you have to hurry to
catch up. Continue running
down the hall toward the living room as fast as
you can while carrying your full glass.
Well, how did that work for you? Do you still have
all 6 ounces in your glass? Probably not. In fact,
you've got a great sense of balance if you've got
even 3 ounces left. Unexpected interruptions
cause us to have to move faster throughout our
● ● ●
. . . in reality, between unexpected
phone calls, cranky toddlers whose
naptimes just didn't come together the
way we'd hoped, and the myriad of
other interruptions, we probably
only have four hours in our
teaching day. And then we try to
cram six hours of material into four
hours of time and the results are
predictable: stress, anxiety, anger,
tears, and arguments.
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The New School Year
teaching day. And while each individual, unique
interruption may be "unexpected," we need to
expect interruptions—every day. Life is never
neat. And certain seasons in our life are very
messy.
If you expect to have six
hours in your teaching day
and you plan accordingly,
where does the Lord have
any opportunity to direct
your steps?
I submit that planning is
important. It's important to
plan for learning—and it's
important to plan for extra
time. If you think you have
six hours in your teaching
day, plan for three. You'll
probably discover you have
four, and that leaves a full
hour during the day for the Lord's interaction in
your classroom.
Leave intentional gaps for the Lord to "breathe"
on a discussion you were having and for your
children to want to do more reading than you had
planned. Leave gaps for unexpected
"interruptions" that may be a great opportunity
the Lord has just dropped in your lap. Perhaps
you see your elderly next-door neighbor out
working in the backyard. Use the available
minutes in your teaching plan to take the children
and go offer to help rake leaves. It just may be
that this elderly neighbor will talk with your
children about the great depression, or the
Korean War, or what it was
like to live in Europe in the
1950s or maybe he will teach
them about the various types
of flowers they cultivate in
their garden.
Use those "gaps" to pray
silently: "Lord, I planned this
break in our teaching day
because I want you to be a
part of our plan. I open up
my classroom to you, Lord.
Please come and have your
way with us. Make me
sensitive to your gentle
whisperings. Help me hear
you as you provide unexpected opportunities to
gain wisdom and knowledge. Show me ways we
can love you more, and love others the way we
love ourselves. I'm believing in you, God. Amen."
Then sit quietly for a moment and "listen." Think
about what you’ve been reading today. Think
about people you know and what's going on in
their lives. Think about your individual children
and what they've been talking about lately. Then
● ● ●
If you think you have six hours in your
teaching day, plan for three. You'll
probably discover you have four, and
that leaves a full hour during the day
for the Lord's interaction in your
classroom. . . . Leave gaps for
unexpected "interruptions" that
may be a great opportunity the
Lord has just dropped in your lap.
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The New School Year
begin to act by faith: Take a R-I-S-K and do
something spontaneous.
You'll discover that the Lord's yoke is easy. His
burden is light. The rhythm of homeschooling in
His grace is a gentle rhythm that you can
maintain mile after mile. Homeschooling is a
marathon—not a sprint. The
prize doesn't go to the one
who gets out of the starting
blocks fastest. Rather, it
goes to the one who can
pace herself at a sustainable
rhythm. That requires
"margin." Too often
homeschoolers plan their
school year or teaching day
with absolutely no margin! If
anything unexpected
happens, (and it always does!) their plans fall
apart. They become anxious, angry, and
discouraged.
We need margin in every area of our lives. We
need margin for rest. We need margin for prayer.
We need margin for intimacy with our spouse. We
need margin in our classroom. We need margin in
our finances. If we plan a budget that accounts
for every available dollar in our paycheck, there
will rarely ever be a month that we don't have
unexpected expenses come up which leave us
strapped for cash at the end of the month and
angry. We need margin. If your paycheck is
$3000, develop a budget that only accounts for
$2200 each month in pre-determined expenses. I
can almost guarantee that you'll have several
hundred dollars in "unexpected" expenses come
up this month when the lawn mower breaks, the
car needs a new battery, and your daughter ends
up with two cavities that cost
$180 to have filled. If, by
God's mercy, you do end up
with several hundred dollars
left over at month's end for
your depleted savings
account or to share with
someone in need, hallelujah!
Plan your school year exactly
the same way. Plan for
unexpected interruptions.
Plan for fewer than the maximum number of
hours you expect to have available. Plan for quiet
times when the Lord can determine your steps in
unexpected ways. And then ask Him and trust
Him to use those minutes wisely.
My guess is this: At the end of the year, you'll
look back and discover that most of the very best
experiences you had were during those quiet
moments when you took a risk and God
answered. Maybe you were talking about how
many people died during World War II in a history
discussion. And suddenly, during the quiet time
● ● ●
You'll discover that the Lord's yoke
is easy. His burden is light. The
rhythm of homeschooling in His grace
is a gentle rhythm that you can
maintain mile after mile.
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The New School Year
when you invited the Lord to direct your school
day, your daughter sat quietly for several minutes
and then asked, "Why did Granddaddy have to die
last year?" What happens during the next 30
minutes as you talk about life and death issues
that have been troubling a young mind will be of
far more eternal value than if you had crammed
in an extra half hour of grammar that day.
Or maybe you've just finished reading about frogs
in science class and now you come to a planned
"God timeout." You suddenly find yourself
wondering if there might be any frogs in the small
pond behind your house. Is that God? Or was it
your imagination? By faith, you take a risk and
say, "I have an idea. Let's go out to the pond and
see if we can find a frog." Perhaps you won't find
a frog. Instead you find a baby bird that's fallen
from its nest. Frogs suddenly forgotten, your son
carefully picks the bird up, cradling it in his
hands. "Can we keep it momma? Can we?" You
may be about to go on a remarkable God-directed
detour that will be far more meaningful than
reading one additional reference work on frogs in
your science lesson plan.
Planning is an important part of being a
responsible homeschool teacher. So is knowing
what NOT to plan. It's the gaps in the day that
give our lives margin—and give God the chance to
direct our paths. Plan accordingly. Act
accordingly. Believe accordingly. Ask Him to meet
you during those times. He is faithful.
● ● ●
It's the gaps in the day that give our lives
margin—and give God the chance to
direct our paths. Plan accordingly. Act
accordingly. Believe accordingly. Ask Him to
meet you during those times. He is faithful.
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The New School Year

An excerpt from our workshop: Managing the Multi-Level Homeschool
Malia Russell, Homemaking 911
hen I started homeschooling with just
one child in school and the rest in the
preschool ages, I had to manage
teaching time with a 6th grader while keeping the
toddlers from destroying the
house. As each additional child
became school aged (and we
still have a preschooler), I had
to learn many techniques to
make sure we could get it all
done. The days of the one-
room school houses kept
coming to mind for me, and I
thought, ―It should be pretty
simple to school just four
children.‖ But what I have now
come to understand is that the
teachers in those one-room
school houses were not trying
to make all the meals, do the
laundry, answer the phone,
embark on field trips, and do all the behavior and
character training for all the children while
keeping toddlers under a careful and loving eye.
Instead of just looking at the academic needs of
the children, homeschool parents need to
examine the big picture of what we are really
being called to do and find
a way to make it work for
our families.
Every homeschool is
unique. We each have
unique standards for what
constitutes a good
education, good behavior,
a clean house, an
acceptable meal, and what
outside activities are
important to our families.
To break this into
manageable chunks, we
will use those six question
words we all memorized in
grammar school: Who, What, When, Where, How,
and Why.
W
● ● ●
. . . what I have now come to
understand is that the teachers in
those one-room school houses were
not trying to make all the meals, do
the laundry, answer the phone,
embark on field trips, and do all the
behavior and character training for all
the children while keeping toddlers
under a careful and loving eye.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
Who
In your home, it is important to determine who
makes the decisions for your family’s day. From
toddlers to college-aged students, it is important
to establish very early who the authority in the
home is. Who decides what assignments and
chores will be completed and in what manner? In
a healthy home, this will be the parents, and in a
homeschool, it will be the primary home educator.
There are some simple ways to see if you are
truly the authority in your home. On Monday
morning when you wake up, you tell the children
that they may have oatmeal for breakfast. If you
are the authority in your home, the children will
carry on and prepare their oatmeal cheerfully,
eat, clean up, and move on with their day. If you
are not the authority, you will be met with
questions, comments, and complaints. Then, you
tell your children the plan for the day by letting
them know their assigned school work and the
chores expected of them. If you are in charge of
the home, the children may require some
guidance and encouragement, but for the most
part, they will simply do as you have told them. If
you are not the authority in your home, you will
be met with blank stares, blatant disobedience,
arguing, or passive aggressive behaviors like
agreeing but never following through on the work
to be done.
If you go back in history and examine the one-
room-school-house model, you can see clearly the
teacher had a plan for the day and the children
understood the plan was to be followed as the
teacher described it. They did not whine and
complain that work was not their favorite, or too
hard, nor did they argue. That would have been
very destructive in the school environment, yet
many homeschool mothers deal with these exact
behaviors every day. In order to have a
successful multi-level school, you must establish
that you have the authority and you will decide
the plan for the day.
● ● ●
In your home, it is important to
determine who makes the decisions for
your family’s day. . . . Who decides what
assignments and chores will be completed
and in what manner? In a healthy home, this
will be the parents, and in a homeschool, it
will be the primary home educator.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
What
Once you have established that you are the
authority in the home, you and your spouse need
to examine what curriculum to use. To make
handling multiple ages easier, there are a couple
of things I have done:
Combine Grades for Some Subjects
For certain subjects, you can include multiple-
aged children. Science, history, Bible, and art are
some such subjects. I am fortunate in that two of
my children are able to be in the same science
and history as one another. In this way, I can
teach both my middle girls these subjects at the
same time, though I may not require all the same
work from them. For example, my older daughter
may have additional reading on her own or extra
writing assignments. Since my girls are very
strong readers, they may take turns reading the
chapter aloud to one another while I am busy on
another task.
Use the Electronic Tools of the Trade
Let unabridged audio books treat your children to
a world of literature that you simply do not have
time to read. Enjoy these books together in the
car, during chores, and at bedtime. These are not
meant to take place of you reading to them or of
them reading independently, but making good use
of those times when you are busy but can listen
can really enhance your children’s education.
Some of our favorites are: The Chronicles of
Narnia, The Little House on the Prairie Series and
just good, wholesome literature. This is a great
way to increase your children’s intellect and
vocabulary as well, because they can often listen
to and comprehend books that are far beyond
their reading levels. We generally use the library
for these, but if you do not live near a library that
has a good audio book collection, I have included
some online places to get audio books at no
charge by downloading them onto your computer.
Use CDs, tapes, and computer games to do drill
work with your children. Learning math facts,
grammar facts, a foreign language, and any
memory work can be done primarily or enhanced
● ● ●
Let unabridged audio books treat your
children to a world of literature that
you simply do not have time to read.
Enjoy these books together in the car,
during chores, and at bedtime.
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The New School Year
with a few well-chosen resources. For example,
we love the Schoolhouse Rock DVD or audio CD,
and we use AWANA CDs to help with Scripture
memory. We use DIVE CDs to help with Saxon
Math. We just started using an exercise video for
children that reviews basic math facts.
Feel free to mix in educational videos when
possible. We often borrow these from the library
and use them to enhance history or science
concepts or to learn about great composers.
Choose Curriculum Wisely
Look at the curriculum you have that you cannot
currently combine, and see what is necessary,
what is helpful and good, and what is user-
friendly. If you need a two-
hundred-page instruction manual
to teach a fairly basic concept, it
may not be the best choice. If
you spend more time preparing
for the subject than your child
actually spends learning, it is
probably not the best choice.
Choose curriculum where
children who can read can work
independently. Then spend your
time in the summer or on school
breaks training them how to
proceed through a subject
without you having to sit next to them. You may
need to train them to use timers, to give
themselves goals, to circle a problem they need
help with, and to follow up with you at the
appointed time.
When
There are two parts to the when: when to
introduce certain subjects and when to actually
execute the class work each day.
When to Introduce Subjects
For our family, all avid readers, we actually want
to teach our children to read as young as
possible. As soon as our children
show interest, we begin teaching
them to read independently. Not
every family agrees with this
philosophy, but we love for our
children to be able to read
young. First, it helps pass the
time in a productive way. When
we are at doctor’s appointments,
on a long car ride, at bedtime,
and when relaxing together, it is
great for a child to be able to
pick up a book and thus entertain
himself. Another reason to teach
reading early is that it empowers
● ● ●
Choose curriculum where
children who can read can
work independently. Then
spend your time in the
summer or on school breaks
training them how to proceed
through a subject without you
having to sit next to them.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
the student to be adept at using the computer,
doing workbook pages, and following directions
with ease. Since all my children were early
readers, by the time they were in first grade, they
were reading on a much higher level. This does
not mean you should always require them to read
on their highest level. They can still delight in and
enjoy books that are typical for their own ages.
We have tried to keep a variety of children’s
books of all levels around. They can still laugh
and read the book: If You Give A Pig a Party,
even though they are capable of reading Heidi.
Let them enjoy the books that are appropriate for
their ages. This will also help eliminate the
problem of only having a few books that are
morally acceptable for them to
read. My seven-year-old is not
ready for sixth-grade-level
literature, for while she could read
it, she does not need to be
exposed to those themes at such a
tender age.
You can also decide to focus your
primary attention on the absolutes.
For us, those are: Bible, math, and
reading. If we can only get a small
amount done for some reason, I
will choose those first. You can
decide to skip science or history for
a year and it will not really cause
much of a problem. You can also
do a semester approach. For the first half of the
year, you may complete all of your science and
then do history during the second half. Each time
you pick up and put away that book, you lose a
little bit of time. By eliminating the subject, or
condensing it to half the year, you reduce your
starting and stopping time, which will be a
benefit.
The second part of the when question is:
When Will You Do School?
Scheduling, though resisted by many, is a key
part to a satisfactory one-room schoolhouse.
Imagine if the teacher showed up
every day with no plan or purpose.
The children would question
everything, because they would
quickly learn there were no
absolutes. The teacher would
spend her entire day making
decisions, trying to figure out what
was most important and when to
make it happen. It is no different
in your own home. If you start
each day with no plan and you are
continually reinventing the wheel,
your children’s education will suffer
for it. They will take the path of
least resistance, losing interest in
● ● ●
You can also decide to
focus your primary
attention on the
absolutes. For us, those
are: Bible, math, and
reading. If we can only get
a small amount done for
some reason, I will choose
those first.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
educational subjects, and will spend their time
trying to beg off of work and move on to play. If
you start each day with a well-established plan,
the children will move through the day with little
effort and conflict, because they will assume the
plan is an absolute part of their lives.
Your schedule can be very structured (everything
broken into 30-minute segments) or very loose
(more like a ―flow to the day‖ than a strict
schedule). There may be a time and a place for
both of these in your life, but making sure you
have decided when to do school beforehand and
sticking to it as much as is reasonable will help
you go a long way toward having the full
cooperation of your students.
Put yourself into their position. Imagine you get
to work each day and your boss, who controls all
your work, has it locked up in his office. He tells
you to sit at your desk and wait for him to decide
what you should be doing. Then he gets
distracted with all kinds of important things, and
you are left to sit listlessly and roam the halls
until he gets back to you. That is what it is like for
your children when you have no plan. Make a plan
for your day. If you have a hard time with making
a schedule, at a minimum, make a schedule for
your toddlers and babies. If you keep them
structured and offer them plenty of guidance and
things to do, they will be a blessing to your entire
family and will not spend their days getting into
trouble, getting scolded, and being a source of
stress. They can, instead, be productive and busy
and the blessing God intended them to be for
your family. You can see our workshop: Keeping
Young Ones Happy and Occupied During School
Time for ideas to keep them busy and happy.
The next big question is:
Where
Where should you be? When you are managing a
multi-level school, it is easy to get involved in
many outside activities. You may wish to talk with
your spouse and ask where you should physically
be each day. Co-ops, support groups, outside field
trips, sports, the computer, outside lessons, and
doctor’s appointments all encroach upon the
● ● ●
If you start each day with a well-established
plan, the children will move through the day
with little effort and conflict, because
they will assume the plan is
an absolute part of their lives.
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The New School Year
precious hours you have to educate your children
and keep your home. If you find that you are
running out of the house every day, or even a few
days a week, you may need to analyze whether
the things you are doing away from your home
are the best use of your time. You may also look
for ways to carefully combine trips outside your
home to be the most efficient, or share rides to
classes and lessons with another mom so that you
both do not carry the burden of transporting
children to an event if you can
take turns. When a new
opportunity pops up, ask
yourself: Where should I be?
We are going to skip the how for
now and jump right into why.
Why
Ask yourself regularly why you
are doing things the way you do
them. Why are you homeschooling? Why are you
teaching certain subjects? Why are things working
well or working poorly? Why do you like a
particular curriculum? Why is your child excelling
or struggling with certain material? The answers
to these questions will often help reveal answers
to how to make things better.
Finally, we are going to talk about how.
How
How do you take all the responsibilities you have
and accomplish them in the amount of time you
actually have?
First, systematically work on simplifying or
batching your work to gain efficiency and speed.
Decluttering, eliminating, and organizing will do
much to make the running of
your household smooth. Make it a
summer goal to teach your
children to simply do as they are
told and to do their work
diligently. Coach them in the skill
of working well together and
separately. Spend time out of
school to teach them to regard
one another’s feelings above their
own. These are all things that I
really try to focus on during
summer and winter breaks so
that when our heavier school season rolls around,
we can have some of these basic issues already at
rest, and we can focus more fully on academics.
Finally, look at batching and simplifying in other
areas of your life. Combine similar tasks to keep a
flow about your day and reduce your stop and
start time. Use timers liberally to help you keep
track of what is supposed to be happening.
● ● ●
. . . you may need to analyze
whether the things you are
doing away from your
home are the best use
of your time.
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The New School Year
Timers are a great mental signal. I bring one with
me to remind me to switch laundry. I always use
them when I cook. The children use them for
math quizzes and reading time. They use them
for practice time for piano.
Remember that our heavenly Father knows your
frame and knows your limitations. He will never
ask you to do more than you are physically
capable of doing. He may supernaturally intercede
for you at times and help you accomplish far more
than a normal person could accomplish given the
same gifts and talents, but for the day-to-day
running of your life, He does not ask the
impossible. If you feel like you have more on your
plate than you can possibly do well, then you are
very likely doing some things He never intended
for you to do. There is a time and place and
season for all kinds of activities under heaven, but
they are not always right now. If you are
overwhelmed, prayerfully consider what are some
things you need to set aside temporarily or
permanently to accomplish the good work He
intends for you.
Here are some examples of things I have had to
forego for now in order to accomplish the tasks
the Lord is calling me to do:
1. Television.
2. Listening to any music that is not Godly or
classical.
3. Excessive numbers of trips outside the
home for things like sports, clubs, classes,
Bible studies, and extra grocery runs.
4. Reading anything ungodly. If it does not
build my faith or help me in my role as a
Godly wife, mother, and home educator, I
do not currently have time for it.
5. Long phone calls with friends; phone calls
during school time.
6. Shopping.
7. Excessive computer time.
8. Hobbies.
9. Retreats.
10. Some volunteer activities.
11. Long baths.
12. Perfection in housework.
13. Saying yes to requests for my time, money,
or resources that my family actually needs.
14. Extensive curriculums that take longer in
planning than the child spends learning.
All of these are things that we may be called to
do, but we cannot do all of them, and it may be
that we should really be doing none of them if it
means our ability to serve our family suffer.
● ● ●
There is a time and place and season for all
kinds of activities under heaven, but they
are not always right now.
● ● ●


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The New School Year

Terri Johnson, Knowledge Quest
omeschooling and organization . . . these
two words do not necessarily go hand in
hand, and yet a disorganized homeschool
environment can lead to stress on the part of the
kids and burn-out on the part of the parent. Does
this mean that you have to become a ―type-A‖
personality that has every minute scheduled,
every shelf labeled, and every surface clean at all
times? No, certainly not. (If that were true, then I
wouldn’t qualify!)
Some of us are more naturally organized than
others, but all of us can enjoy the benefits of
having a schedule in place and a system for
organizing school books and supplies. So, let’s
jump in and get started.
A. Scheduling the Easy Way! A 5-Step Plan
Step 1: Plan Your Subjects
Consider the ages and grades of your school
children, and decide which subjects they need to
study this year. Obviously, you want to cover the
basics primarily when your kids are still young—
reading, writing, and arithmetic. As they get
older, you will eventually drop formal reading
lessons and even handwriting assignments and
begin to focus more on what they are reading and
how they express themselves. Most students are
ready for grammar and spelling by third grade, if
not earlier. Arithmetic will one day be replaced by
algebra and higher math, and science and history
will become of greater significance to their studies
as they progress through the years. At some point
during your children's education, you may want to
add other subjects such as foreign language,
logic, fine arts, debate, and geography. Did I miss
anything?
H
● ● ●
. . . all of us can enjoy the benefits of
having a schedule in place . . .
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24
The New School Year
I hope that it is obvious that you do not want to
try to cover all of these subjects with all of your
students every year. It is just too overwhelming.
Pick five or six subjects that your students are
most in need of and let the rest go. These are the
subjects that my children study at these grade
levels:
Grades K-2: Reading, handwriting, math,
and history (w/narration)
Grades 3-6: Math, grammar, spelling,
history, and science
Grades 7-8: Math, grammar, spelling,
history, science, and logic
Grades 9-12: Well, let’s just say that it
gets to be quite a bit more! We'll cover
higher math, literature, grammar, history,
science, health, fine arts, debate,
government, foreign language, and various
electives. But not all in one year!
Note: At the Johnson house, we do our writing
assignments across the curriculum, so writing is
not a separate subject (meaning we write about
history, literature, and science as we study them).
You can certainly add writing to your list of
subjects to cover. Also, we study geography
alongside history, which makes sense and keeps
down the number of subjects to cover. You can
read more about this concept at
www.kqpublishing.org/Geography.html.
Step 2: Gather Your Materials
Collect all of the materials that you have
purchased for this school year so that you can
look through them and make some planning
decisions.
If you have not decided on which curricula you
want to use, that’s okay. In fact, I would
encourage you not to be in so much of a hurry
that you fail to consider the learning styles of
your children and your philosophy of
education. You can certainly make your
curriculum decisions without considering these
aspects of learning, but you may make better
choices armed with this knowledge and waste less
money on curricula that don’t fit well for your
family.
● ● ●
. . . I would encourage you not to be in
so much of a hurry that you fail to
consider the learning styles of your
children and your philosophy of education.
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The New School Year
Also, now is a great time to
pick up any freebies that you
can find online. Many
companies will offer you
samples of their curriculum if
you sign up for their
newsletter, or sometimes even
with entirely no strings
attached. However, if you
think you may be interested in
purchasing their curriculum
(which is why you downloaded
the freebie in the first place)
then you might want to sign
up for their newsletter for a
time to see if their information
helps you in making your
purchasing decisions for this
year or perhaps as a possibility for a future year.
Also, bookmark these sites in a designated folder
so that you can find them again when you need
to.
When searching for curricula, you can use both
online and offline methods for researching a good
fit for your child or family. Your online research
includes checking out the Web sites of the
curriculum providers that you are considering (do
a Google search), reading reviews that have been
posted online, and asking questions on
homeschool chat boards. Your offline research will
include asking your friends' opinions, visiting your
local homeschool bookstore,
and browsing through your
favorite catalogs. Some
curriculum companies offer a
"trial run," meaning if you
don't like it after 30 or 60
days, then you can return it
for a full refund. You may want
to consider this if you are still
unsure which program to use
for your children.
Step 3: Set Aside Some
Time
Ideally, I would suggest that
you find a weekend between
now and when you start school
to get away with your spouse and get your final
preparations in order. This is not exactly a cheap
option, but it is priceless when it comes to the
time that you will have to strategize with each
other and get your goals and schedule out on
paper.
Examples: Some goals that you have for your
child might include working through a phonics
book so that she can read independently;
developing better reading comprehension skills;
working up to a sentence of legible handwriting;
learning sums to 10+10; run a mile; etc. Your
● ● ●
I would suggest that you find a
weekend . . . to get away with your
spouse and get your final
preparations in order. This is not
exactly a cheap option, but it
is priceless when it comes to
the time that you will have to
strategize with each other and
get your goals and schedule
out on paper.
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The New School Year
goals will vary from child
to child, grade to grade,
and subject to subject.
The place you would
choose to get away would
need to fall somewhere
between boring and
exciting. Let me explain:
if you just pick a motel
down the road to "get
away," most likely the view will not inspire you
nor the surroundings intrigue you when you need
to take a break and get out for a walk.
On the other hand, if you choose to head for the
lake with your ski boat in tow, you might not get
anything accomplished, because who wants to
think and strategize about your school schedule
when you can be out water skiing? My husband
and I often head for a quaint inn on the Oregon
coast which has breathtaking views, fantastic
restaurants, and not a whole lot to do but sit on
the beach or take a walk through the foaming
surf. It's an ideal place for us to talk, to dream, to
set goals, and to get our thoughts out on paper.
If you absolutely cannot get away for a weekend
or even an overnighter, then consider scheduling
an afternoon or two at the library. This will give
you the time you need to focus without the
constant interruptions of
family life (as charming
as those interruptions can
be!).
Step 4: Open the Books
If you have already
purchased some
curriculum, bring all of
the core books that you will be using this year
with you on your scheduling day or weekend, as
well as any teacher's manuals that came with
your chosen programs. Also bring any books that
you will be using for the first month or so of
school. The tools that you have chosen for your
children's education will help you to determine
your daily and weekly schedules. Here's how:
Note: If you have not ordered any curriculum
yet, don’t worry. You can still create your
schedule without it. Skim down the page and
check out the suggested schedule outlined there.
If you have no reason to choose a different plan,
this is a good one to get you started.
Let's use a grammar book for our example. Let's
say that there are 120 lessons in the grammar
book. Take 120 and divide that by 36 weeks in
the school year. Your answer is 3.33 and that
means that your student will have to cover 3 1/3
● ● ●
The tools that you have chosen for
your children's education will help you
to determine your daily and
weekly schedules.
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The New School Year
lessons per week to finish the book in one school
year. What this means to me is that I will need to
schedule grammar for this child at least 3 times
per week. Perhaps a goal that you have for this
child is that she catch up from last year. Then you
might want to schedule 4 lessons per week. Or
maybe you honestly don't care if you finish every
last lesson in the book; then 3 days should
suffice. You get the idea. You are the teacher, and
you get to make this decision.
How about math? Let's say that the book only has
90 lessons. Well, 2½ lessons per week may not
be enough mathematical stimulation for this
particular child. You may decide that you do not
mind if your student gets ahead in this subject, so
you bump it up to 4 lessons per week. These are
decisions you will want to
make for each student and
each subject as you look
through each of the core
books and teacher's manuals
that you will be using with
your children this year.
Here are some suggestions for
how many lessons to cover
each week, but by no means
are these hard-and-fast rules,
so make your own decisions
and feel confident about them
based on your own goals that
you have set for your children and the books that
you have chosen to use this year.
Math—4-5 days per week
Reading/phonics—5 days per week
Handwriting/copywork—4-5 days per week
Grammar—3-4 days per week
Spelling—2-3 days per week
Writing—2-3 days per week
History—3-5 days per week
Science —2-3 days per week
Foreign language—2-4 days per week
Logic—1-2 days per week
Step 5: Write it Out!
On a piece of paper, draw out boxes for a typical
school week. You may not
want to schedule your
subjects for specific times of
the day but prefer to simply
schedule the order of the
subjects. Either way is fine.
Personally, I choose a start
time for school, but after that
we just keep plugging along
until all of the scheduled
subjects are completed for the
day. We take breaks when
necessary.
● ● ●
You may not want to schedule your
subjects for specific times of the day
but prefer to simply schedule the
order of the subjects. . . . You can
keep this schedule solely for
school subjects or you may
want to include chores and
other weekly events . . .
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The New School Year
You can keep this schedule solely for school
subjects or you may want to include chores and
other weekly events on your schedule as well.
Rework the schedule until you are satisfied with it
and then type it up on the computer. (We’ve
included a schedule template in an Excel file that
you are free to use, that is, if you have this
program on your computer. If you do not have
Excel, you might want to look into the Open Office
suite [www.openoffice.org] which includes free
spreadsheet software.) Once completed, post
your schedule in a prominent place, and place one
in each child's school notebook as well. You can't
follow a schedule that you don't see!
Here are some examples of schedules from a
couple of our previous homeschooling years.
These will give you an idea of how you can
schedule and plan your days, using the template
that is included here.
Schedule Template—MS Excel file
General School Schedule—list of subjects
and order to be tackled. This is a simpler
format for a family with just a couple of
children perhaps even studying at the same
level.
Single Child Schedule—for one child only. It
has been helpful for us to give each child his
own schedule to place in his notebook or
school box to refer to.
Specific Time Schedule—initials represent
different children. This schedule is definitely
more involved as there were more children
involved in our school studies at this point
in our lives. We still didn’t follow the exact
times to the letter, but rather we made sure
that we followed the order.
Although not written on these schedules, I set
aside time every Sunday evening to look ahead at
the schedule and through the books we are
working through to determine exactly what each
child will be doing during those time slots in the
upcoming week. When I take the time to look
ahead each Sunday, I can decide if I’ll need any
supplies, library books, etc.
● ● ●
. . . I set aside time every Sunday evening to
look ahead at the schedule and through the
books we are working through to
determine exactly what each child will
be doing during those time slots in
the upcoming week.
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The New School Year
Scheduling is definitely the toughest part of
school organization, because it requires the most
brain power. The next two areas of school
organization will just require some time and
attention, but won’t be as consuming as the
scheduling tasks that you will do as you prepare
for school.
B. Set up Your Own Personal Library
Invest in bookshelves to house all of the books
that you will be collecting and to hold the library
books that you will be
bringing home every couple of
weeks.
In our living room, we have
one whole wall that is lined
with bookshelves. Of course,
that is nothing compared to
the ―libraries‖ I have seen in
other people’s homes, but you
have to start somewhere. You
might start with just a small 2- or 4-shelf
bookcase, and that is just fine. Expand as
necessary.
If you have a significant collection of books, you
may want to set up a library such as we have. We
categorize our books and use a labeler to label
the shelves. We have categories such as
reference, science, ancient history, medieval
history, chapter books, picture books, Christian
living, etc. You can go so far as to catalogue your
books with a numbering system (such as the
Dewey Decimal System), but I have never found
the time or the inclination to do so. I find that
simple categorizing works well.
If you have kids who like to unload the
bookshelves or at least take multiple books off the
shelf at once, you may want to implement a
―check-out‖ system as well. Take a short stack of
3‖ x 5‖ cards and print your
children’s names on them
(include yourself and your
spouse as well, if you wish).
When a child wants to take a
book off the bookshelf, he
inserts a card with his name
on it in the place where the
book was removed. When he
is finished with the book, he
returns it and then returns his
card to the card stack. You can allot only one
book per child at a time, or perhaps three to five
if you think one is too stingy. That’s up to you and
what works best for your family.
Another way to deal with the unpleasant reality of
books spread all throughout the house and the
bookshelves spiraling down into utter disarray is
to designate one of your children as the ―book
● ● ●
Scheduling is definitely the
toughest part of school
organization, because it requires
the most brain power.
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The New School Year
master‖ for the week. This is something that my
dear friend implements in her home, and it works
really well for them. The book master is
responsible for the home library and makes sure
that all books are returned to their proper place
on the bookshelf.
C. School Boxes Keep School Work From
Spreading all Over the House!
Purchase a plastic tote with snap lid for each child
of school age in your home. If you have
preschoolers, you might as well get one for them
too. Make sure that these totes are large enough
to hold notebooks, textbooks, paper,
pens/pencils, pencil sharpener, erasers, etc. and
still small enough to fit into a cabinet or closet.
Clean out a couple of shelves inside a closed
cabinet or closet in your home and stack the
boxes neatly within. You can mark these totes
with their names or have a different color
designated for each child. Put everything that
they need to accomplish their schoolwork within
the box, with the possible exception of literature,
family read-alouds, or books that they share with
each other.
This way, no matter where your child works on his
schoolwork, whether it is the desk in his room,
the kitchen table, or the backyard picnic table, his
schoolwork is ready to go and easy to transport.
It is also well contained and easy to store. This
makes getting schoolwork out and putting it away
a snap. Literally!
These are my tricks for keeping school clutter at
bay. Now my charge to you is this: Prepare your
home for learning this week—create a schedule,
assemble school boxes for each student, and
tackle those bookshelves (if necessary). If school
has already officially begun in your home, enjoy
those learning moments—they are priceless!
● ● ●
. . . Prepare your home for learning
this week—create a schedule, assemble
school boxes for each student, and tackle
those bookshelves (if necessary).
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The New School Year

Amanda Bennett, Amanda Bennett Unit Studies
nit studies can be a great curriculum choice
for many families, opening up all kinds of
learning and experiences as the year
progresses. However, the
organization of a school
year around unit studies
can sometimes be a bit
intimidating. Perhaps a
new baby has arrived or
the once-happy-and-quiet
infant has learned to walk
and run, or grandma has moved in with you, or
there is a big move coming up this year. These
are all events that we can plan for and around
when organizing the school year, as difficult as
they might be at the time.
Expect the Unexpected
Lesson one in planning for the upcoming school
year: expect the unexpected! Go ahead and plan
and organize, but please remember to expect the
unexpected. Realize that once you develop a plan
for the upcoming school year, things are subject
to change. For example, your child’s soccer team
might make it to the state finals, or a bout of the
flu might derail things for
a week or two. If you are
ready to be flexible, these
variations from your well-
planned school year will
not radically disrupt your
homeschooling. One of
the advantages of using
unit studies is that they are a great curriculum
choice for ―flexible‖ family learning and can be
adjusted to fit changing situations.
Do the Math
Now that we have established the fact that our
well-planned school year will not likely be
implemented exactly as we design it, let’s jump in
and start planning. Putting first things first, get a
monthly calendar for the upcoming school year
(August/September through May/June), tear out
U
● ● ●
Lesson one in planning for the upcoming
school year: expect the unexpected!
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The New School Year
each monthly page, and
spread the months out on the
table. To make things easier
for planning and putting into
action, number each week,
starting with Week 1, from the
start of this school year to the
last week of the school year.
For a state that requires 180
days of school in a year, this
translates to 36 weeks of
school, so your weeks would
be numbered 1–36.
“So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12
Now, take the time to enter important family
events on these pages. These will include family
birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, church events,
reunions, vacation, and other special occasions.
Next, gather up appointment cards and enter
these dates on your calendar—doctor visits,
dental appointments, orthodontic visits, surgery
dates, academic testing, etc. You might not know
exact dates for all of these, but probably have a
good idea of the months that they will occur in—
just note these in the top margin of the page so
that you can remember them as you plan.
For many families, visitors will
be coming to visit throughout
the year, and we need to
make sure to include these
visits when we plan. Their
visits can be incorporated into
the school plan in a
meaningful way, making it
more enjoyable for everyone.
Many times your visitors will
enjoy participating in field
trips and other unit study
adventures, and might have
experience and wisdom to offer on the particular
topics. For example, grandparents might have
experience as military veterans or pilots, perfect
for a Veterans Day unit study or perhaps a unit
study on flight. If your visitor has a yearly
garden, she might be able to help plan your
family garden when working on a gardens unit
study.
Seasons of Change and Adventure
Take some time now to see what the upcoming
year is going to look like with your noted events
on the calendar. You can probably begin to see
how some times of the year will be shaping up to
be much busier than others, making your job as
school year planner a bit easier. The hectic times
will be great candidates for shorter unit studies
● ● ●
Many times your visitors will
enjoy participating in field trips
and other unit study
adventures, and might have
experience and wisdom to offer on
the particular topics.
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The New School Year
that take less focused daily time, while the slower
times will be great for in-depth studies of more
complex topics.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to
every purpose under the heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1
One of the first things to look at as you begin to
plan for the upcoming school year are the seasons
themselves and how you can
include them in your schedule.
With each season come
wonderful learning
opportunities—chances to go
outside to observe and learn
about the world around us.
Seasons are becoming hazier
in the busyness of life, and
many students miss the
opportunity to study the
amazing changes that take
place with each passing
season. With unit studies, you
can plan a seasonal unit study
for the week that each new
season begins. For example,
the first week of autumn
begins in late September here
in the northern hemisphere.
Pencil in an outdoor unit study
of autumn for that week and add things like an
apple orchard visit, a day of apple butter and pie
making adventure, daily nature walks to see what
is changing with the approach of the new season,
and a day to map out the travels and life story of
Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman).
By including the seasons in your unit studies, you
keep your students active, involved, and aware of
the world outside of the homeschool window.
There have been days when our children spent
time writing in the tree house
or outside working on
homeschool projects,
watching the changes of the
seasons move through our
lives. Sometimes you would
hear the kids shouting that
the geese were honking
overhead on their autumn
journey south, or come
running in with the first
flowers of spring.
Along with the seasons come
holidays—days that are looked
forward to, prepared for, and
celebrated by the whole
family. Whatever your family
holidays are, including them
in your unit study plans for
the year can be very
● ● ●
With each season come wonderful
learning opportunities—chances to
go outside to observe and learn
about the world around us. . . . you
can plan a seasonal unit study for
the week that each new season
begins. . . . By including the
seasons in your unit studies,
you keep your students active,
involved, and aware of the
world outside of the
homeschool window.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
rewarding for the whole clan and creates
memories that will last a lifetime—perhaps to
generations yet unborn. The holidays with their
meaning and traditions—these are carried from
generation to generation and can explain and
reinforce your family values and beliefs in a way
that nothing else can.
To give you an example of this, our family would
begin a unit study on Thanksgiving during the last
week of October. Lasting for four weeks, it would
culminate on Thanksgiving Day, giving the
children the opportunity to show off all of their
hard work for family and friends gathered around
the Thanksgiving dinner table. With Thanksgiving
complete, we would move on to a four-week
study of the real meaning of Christmas. Studying
and preparing for this special celebration allowed
us to deepen our faith, work on projects for
neighbors and community, and learn so much
Biblical history and prophecy fulfillment. As a
result of these special holiday studies and times
spent together, our family’s faith and beliefs have
been strengthened. Whatever holidays your
family chooses to celebrate, include them in your
unit study planning, and enjoy the lessons and
family-building that can result.
Items of Interest
"Just as eating against one's will is injurious to
health, so studying without a liking for it spoils the
memory, and it retains nothing it takes in."
Leonardo Da Vinci
After including some seasonal unit studies, next it
is time to include studies on topics that have
captured your child’s interest. These interests will
help you and your children eventually understand
their God-given gifts and talents. That is part of
our job as a parent—to help them discover and
develop these special, God-given gifts and
talents. With unit studies, the world of their
interests can be investigated and developed.
What are your children interested in these days?
Dogs, ballet, dinosaurs, baseball, dolls, or the
beach? The list is endless, and now is the time to
pencil in some of these for pursuit with unit
studies this school year.
● ● ●
That is part of our job as a parent—to
help them discover and develop these
special, God-given gifts and talents.
With unit studies, the world of their
interests can be investigated and developed.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
Don’t overlook the opportunity to pursue these
interests in ways that work well with everything
else happening on your family calendar. For
example, the time to pursue an interest in
baseball might be the four weeks leading up to
Opening Day or the start of the World Series. For
those with children who love sports and winter
athletics, the Winter Olympics 2010 begin in
February 2010, and what a great chance to learn
about the sports and athletes as well as world
history and geography.
Whether your child is a gifted artist, talented
dancer, or budding astronaut, you can give him
the time to pursue these things under your
watchful observation and guidance. If you have a
child who is interested in space, you can take the
time to focus on this interest with special studies,
experiments, books, or even a trip to NASA to talk
to astronauts and investigate opportunities for the
future. From taking advantage of volunteer
opportunities to helping them develop their own
business that showcases their creations, you can
open the world for your children as they continue
to grow in wisdom and stature.
Your unit study topics can include room for
creativity and investigation in so many ways. For
children interested in art, plan studies that
coincide with regional art museum and gallery
displays. Include some of the great masters of
art, and open their eyes to this area of interest as
you walk through museums and other displays.
Study the history of the world that was occurring
when particular masters were painting or
sculpting, as well as the geography of the events
that were occurring at the time. You can do the
same thing with music, writing, and many other
areas of interest.
One of the fun memories that I hold dear is that
of the time when our children learned how to
make piñatas from a balloon—what amazing
creativity they showed. All because we took the
time to investigate just how piñatas were made.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that they loved candy and
swinging at things!
● ● ●
From taking advantage of volunteer
opportunities to helping them develop their
own business that showcases their
creations, you can open the world for
your children as they continue to
grow in wisdom and stature.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
“Thank goodness I was never sent to school;
it would have rubbed off some of the originality.”
Beatrix Potter
Thoughtful Progression
Of course, as you are now filling in the weeks of
your school year plan, don’t overlook
opportunities to include logical topic progression.
In other words, if your child is interested in
dolphins and sailing ships and photography, you
might want to study photography first to give him
the tools to capture some of the hands-on
learning adventures that might unfold while
studying sea life and sailing ships. In all of your
planning, make sure to get the tools in place
when you can before progressing to the next
topic.
Another example of this would be to study the
human body first, then perhaps ice skating or
snow skiing before moving on to the Winter
Olympics. I call it building a logical tree of
knowledge, building knowledge along with
thought connections so that the information is
connected instead of existing in their minds in all
kinds of random patterns. That was the problem
with my own textbook education: I could
memorize tidbits of knowledge, dates, names,
places, and ideas, but none of them were
connected. This was not a problem during my
early education, but it made college studies much
more difficult.
Instead of a state-approved standardized
curriculum developed to prepare students for
standardized tests, give them an education that
will last a lifetime, not just through an end-of-
year test. Use real books, real people, and
lifetime adventures with your unit studies to teach
your children lessons that will help them for the
rest of their lives. Get back to the basics of
learning, and help them develop a love of
learning. Using the wealth of learning materials
available today, along with your time and
commitment to help them learn, you will be
surprised at the difference in how much your child
can learn and just how far this approach to
education will take your child.
● ● ●
Instead of a state-approved standardized
curriculum developed to prepare students
for standardized tests, give them an
education that will last a lifetime. . .
● ● ●

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The New School Year
The Best Laid Plans
Plan this school year, and introduce your children
to the world while you are there to smooth the
way. From mission trips to volunteer work at the
nursing home, from canoe trips down the local
river to beach walks full of sunshine—you can
give them the world and be there to help them
grow in it.
As I shared in the beginning, please expect the
unexpected and always make your school year
plans in pencil instead of permanent ink.
Sometimes our best years are those when the
school year record of study did not closely
resemble what I had planned for at the beginning
of the year. Yet these were often the best years of
learning and homeschooling.
As you go forward into this new year of
homeschooling, remember that unit studies can
provide an excellent curriculum for your children.
They can offer improved retention, more involved
and hands-on learning, and connected thought
processes and learning patterns. Whatever your
topic choices and plan details, proceed boldly into
the arena of learning, and don’t look back. As we
say around here, always forward—today is a gift
from God.
● ● ●
From mission trips to volunteer work at the
nursing home, from canoe trips down the
local river to beach walks full of sunshine—
you can give them the world and be
there to help them grow in it.
● ● ●

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The New School Year


Cheryl Allin, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
ugust is here, and it’s time to gear up for a
new school year. Once again you begin to
explore new ideas to organize and plan so
that this year will be even more efficiently run
than last year. What worked well? What can I do
differently? With the kids a year older, and
perhaps a new one on board, adjustments need to
be made. Or perhaps this is your first year.
Whatever your situation, we have a mission for
you!
Your mission: a three-phase plan to get you and
your family off to a great start.
Phase One: Organizing Your Space
It will take some time to organize your space, but
spending a little time now will save you a ton of
time later.
Materials needed:
Home and school planner
Three empty bins or laundry baskets
labeled: keep, donate, and sell
Trash can
Different-sized totes, boxes, bins, or
baskets, some with lids
One pencil box per child and one for you
Masking tape and a permanent marker for
labeling bins
Paper and pen to inventory supplies
Blank, colored circle stickers (yard sale
stickers)
A
● ● ●
Your mission: a three-phase plan to get
you and your family off to a great start.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
Cleaning supplies—rags or paper towels and
soap or furniture polish
Optional:
File cabinet
Plastic drawer organizer
Recycling bin
Bookshelves
Wrapping paper, brown paper sack, or
newspaper comics
1‖x 3‖ x 4’ piece of wood
Wood clothespins
Wood stain
Clothesline
Labeler
Manila folder
Hanging file folder
Timer
Step 1: Organize Your Equipment and Papers
Organize important information: Place all
important information like Web passwords,
budget records, and car maintenance schedules in
a home management folder or planner. Organize
your address book by updating addresses and
phone numbers and add this information to your
planner. Immediately open all mail when you
receive it and throw junk mail in the trash, file
important paperwork, and place current items
(bills, coupons, letters) in a manila folder labeled
―pending.‖ Check this folder daily. 1
Computers: Start by organizing your computer
favorites and files. Dedicate folders to
homeschooling and the subfolders to subjects in
both your bookmarked Internet sites and all
computer documents. By doing this you can easily
access a Web site or file that you need.
For E-Book (and other large file) storage, you
may want to use a USB flash drive. An excerpt
from the E-Homeschooling: Embracing the E-Book
Revolution (a free TOS E-Book) explains:
Once the (computer) subdirectory gets too full, I
remove it to a plug-in flash drive . . . devoted to
homeschooling resources, and only plug the flash
drive into my computer when I need an E-Book,
want to peruse my E-Books, or add E-Books. It's
● ● ●
. . . Place all important information . . .
in a home management
folder or planner.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
a really quick process since the flash drive acts as
a mapped drive. I keep a directory printout of all
of my E-Books for easy reference (and because I
like paper directories).”
File cabinets: This is a great organization tool to
systemize all important papers both school- and
home-related. Contemplate what your needs are
to determine the cabinet size. There are many
types of cabinets from an inexpensive, portable
plastic one to the large, traditional, office file
cabinet. Purchase manila folders and hanging file
folders and label each by topic. If you already
own a cabinet, start at the top drawer and go
through each folder, throwing out, recycling, or
shredding unwanted papers.
Make your own manila folder by folding large
pieces of construction paper in half. If you do use
manila folders, write on the tab using a pencil
instead of pen (that way you can erase and reuse
the folders when you are
done with them) and set
them in a 14‖ x 12‖
cardboard box. Cover the
box with wrapping paper,
brown paper sack (the
children can decorate), or
comics from the
newspaper for a fun
decorative touch. 2
Teacher’s materials: Place all teachers’ guides,
planners, and workbooks in a school bag, crate,
small box, or a spot in your teacher workspace.
Make a pencil box of your own and fill with pens,
pencils, hole punch, scissors, and other daily-
needed items.
Instead of buying pencil boxes, wash and reuse
plastic containers like sour cream, butter,
whipped cream, or baby wipes containers. Each
can be labeled and decorated with a permanent
marker. 3
Step 2: Organize Your School Room
Bookshelves: Homeschoolers usually have more
than one bookshelf, even with the E-Book craze!
It’s time to organize them.
Empty each bookshelf by sorting items into the
correct bins, and clean the shelves. If you need to
keep an item but will not
use it until next year, put
it in an empty tote with a
lid. Label the outside of
the tote with the item
name and store in your
garage, closet, or attic.
Separate magazines by
title and place each title in
● ● ●
If you need to keep an item but will
not use it until next year, put it in an
empty tote with a lid. Label the outside of
the tote with the item name and store in
your garage, closet, or attic.
● ● ●

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41
The New School Year
a separate magazine holder and return them to
the bookshelf.
Use cereal and pancake mix boxes for magazine
holders. First, cut off the top flaps. Next, cut half
way down one small side, and place your
magazines inside! 4
Group books by genre and
use the color dots to
catalogue the books. For
example, blue stickers for
non-fiction, red for fiction,
and green for reference
books. Also, label curriculum
items the same way, red for
math, green for spelling, and
write the grade level on the sticker. Replace them
on the shelf spine-out by color, grouping as
needed. Take this time to make note of what you
have and what you will need to purchase for the
new school year.
Drawers, cubbies, and desks in the school area:
This can be an overwhelming task, so empty one
drawer at a time, placing items in the appropriate
bin or trash. Wipe the drawers clean. Check that
all pens, markers, and art supplies are usable,
and throw out what isn’t working. (This is a great
job for the kids!) Find a special place or consider
buying plastic drawer organizers for supplies, and
label each drawer with scissors, pencils, lined
paper, white paper, crayons, markers,
construction paper, glue, stickers, paints, and
brushes. As you work, write a list of school
supplies you need for the school year. Situate
children’s curricula and pencil box, globes,
microscopes, computers, and charts close by their
work station.
Watch the sale ads for back-
to-school specials, and stock
up. Instead of using a plastic
drawer organizer, use plastic
gallon-sized zip bags and
place in a sturdy, decorated
cardboard box. 5
Last year’s school work: File
the papers and projects you need for your records
in the file cabinet or tote. Throw away or recycle
the rest.
If you find yourself wanting to save everything,
consider taking a digital picture of the item and
download it on your computer in a file labeled
(Child’s name) schoolwork. Dispose of the item. 6
Step 3: Organize Children’s supplies
Make an area for each child’s supplies: a
bookshelf, a drawer, or a book bag. Include a
pencil box with 3 sharpened pencils (who likes to
● ● ●
Instead of using a plastic drawer
organizer, use plastic gallon-sized
zip bags and place in a sturdy,
decorated cardboard box.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
hear the electric pencil
sharpener when
instructing!), eraser,
calculator, markers and
colored pencils, and
crayons. Any workbooks,
textbooks, and
manipulatives they use
daily will go in this area. Organize by color coding.
Each child gets one color for all their folders and
notebooks.
Group manipulatives in see-through containers,
such as clear plastic bags or plastic sandwich
meat containers, so children can easily identify
the contents. 7
If you don’t school in just one area during the
day, you might also consider mobile storage carts
for moving your school supplies to other areas of
the house. In the E-Book Dreams and Designs,
you will find details on how to do this:
“Narrow computer desks with an upright CD
storage area, built in shelves, and a roll-out
keyboard space . . . are ideal to convert to
rolling storage carts because of their narrow
style; they can roll through halls and doorways
more easily . . . “
Step 4: Keep Clutter
Away
What to do with all the
paperwork: At the end of
every school day, take
any papers and projects
and either file them in the
child’s portfolio, display them on the wall (see
next note on how to display work), take a digital
picture, and throw it away, or recycle.
Display your child’s work: Make an inexpensive
display wall for art projects and special papers out
of a piece of 1‖ by 3‖ by 4’ wood board with
clothespins glued every few feet. Your children
can color the clothespins with their assigned color
and use them to hang their work. Stain the wood
and secure on an empty wall with screws and wall
anchors. Remember to rotate out work as the
year progresses, filing what you need to keep and
throwing away or recycling the rest.
You can also hang a clothesline across the wall
and hang items on it with the clothespins.8
Step 5: Finish
Schedule a time in the next week to donate all
items and a time to sell the others at a book sale
or on eBay. Follow through!
● ● ●
Consider keeping only a digital
picture of school paperwork.
● ● ●

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43
The New School Year
Step 6: Keep it That Way!
Clean up every day. At the end of
the school day, set a timer on ten
minutes and involve the whole
family in a quick pick-up of the
school area. File papers and put
items in their assigned spot. Be
consistent, and you will be amazed
at how organized you stay.
Phase Two: Planning the School Year
Time is something we can never get back, so
planning ahead for a smooth school year is top
priority.
Step 1: Your Mission Statement
Create or reevaluate your homeschool vision
statement. This is a statement that you create as
a family and is the foundation of your
homeschool. It includes the purpose, mission, and
goals of your school.
Step 2: Know the Law
Research that the laws have not changed in your
state: Check the HSLDA Web site for any
changes, as well as the number of days you
school must be in session.
Step 3: Organizing Your Plan
Homeschool planner: Everything
will be much easier to plan if you
have all of your important papers,
both home and school, in one
folder or planner. When you need
to reference something, you will
have it all together. See a sample
of one here.
Develop a yearly plan: Jot down your thoughts on
these questions:
What do you want to accomplish this year?
When do you want time off for birthdays,
holidays, and vacations?
When and where will you have field trips?
What is the start and end date of the school
year?
What subjects do you want to teach this
year?
You can get a rough idea of your school year by
placing this information into monthly calendars
from your planner. For example, you want to do a
unit study on Thanksgiving in November and take
some time off in May, write each in the
appropriate month. Next, consider your
curriculum. If your math curriculum has 36
chapters and you are schooling twelve months,
● ● ●
Clean up every day. . . .
involve the whole family in
a quick pick-up of the
school area.
● ● ●

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The New School Year
you should average three chapters a month, so
write what chapters you should be working on
during that month. Scheduling this way will give
you a rough estimate of where you should be if
you get off schedule due to unavoidable
circumstances.
Phase Three: Implement the Mission!
Complete one or two chores a day for the next
few days, and you will see how easy it is to
organize and plan for the next school year!
1 Save time making charts and forms by purchasing The
Schoolhouse Planner from The Old Schoolhouse®. This
planner has done all the work for you and combines
homeschool and homemaking. It boasts four years’ worth of
calendar pages, countless informative articles and charts,
mouth-watering recipes, and over 150 charts and forms to aid
you in planning your school year. Included are worksheets for
keeping track of books on hand, teaching supplies, craft
projects, field trips, repair projects, budget, and much, much
more.
2-8 Ideas found at www.econobusters.com.


● ● ●
1. Organize your equipment: computers,
file cabinets, and teacher’s materials.
2. Organize the school room: bookshelves,
desks, drawers, curriculum, and
children’s things.
3. Create or reevaluate your mission
statement.
4. Establish a homeschool and homemaking
planner: place all important information
for school and home there.
5. Plan your school year: make a rough
outline of the year. Make sure your
older kids have a copy of the plan or
that it is in a location where they can
view it regularly.
● ● ●

www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com
45
The New School Year

Dr. Ruth Beechick, in association with Mott Media
rganizing for a school year? Other people can tell how to organize supplies and study space and
books and time, but I’m not good at any of that. I can only say a little about curriculum for the
year. And with the curriculum plan, it’s a lot easier than many homeschoolers seem to think. You
are tutoring one or more individual children and not writing a curriculum for a whole class. The writers
must set out goals or lessons for every day or every week from end to end. Their emphasis is on the
content and on some sort of average for the children. Your job is quite different from that.
In arithmetic or in any curriculum you are using, you know where you left off, so you can start about there
this year. In subjects or topics where you are not following a curriculum, you probably have a general plan
in mind—that you want to study ancient history or the human body or whatever. So maybe you have
already gathered materials (or will quickly get some). Now laying out a semester of lesson plans, or even
a month of plans, is for curriculum writers. You don’t have to do that.
Jot down in a plan book any ideas that you or the children have for projects you want to do, books or
videos you especially want to use, and so on. You can add ideas as you go along as they occur to you. A
simple way to start the year on any topic is to begin reading a book on the topic. Discussions can follow,
as may maps or art ideas, or topics for writing reports or something more imaginative. These grow out of
the tutoring situation where you can follow a child’s interest or try to spark interest. You can even change
in midstream. If the book is too hard or other problems arise, you can decide to quit or delay that topic
and do another for now. Curriculum writers do not have that advantage. They focus on the content, but
you focus on your unique child.
Your work is one of the most important in our country just now. I pray for you and your children.
O

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The New School Year

Married more than 38 years, Steve and Jane Lambert have been in full-time ministry
since 1984. They began homeschooling in 1982, and today they have five grandchildren
who are also being homeschooled. Jane is the author of the award-winning homeschool
curriculum Five in a Row, and together Steve and Jane have spoken to more than
100,000 homeschool parents at state conventions over the past 15 years. They also are
co-founders and directors of Real Life Marriages, a ministry aimed specifically at
strengthening the many homeschool marriages which are under attack each year. They
have authored scores of articles for popular homeschooling magazines and appeared on
numerous radio programs. They are actively involved in a ministry of encouragement
through their Web site: http://www.fiarhq.com. Jane and Steve's marriage ministry can
be found at www.reallifemarriages.com, and they each maintain popular blogs for homeschool encouragement:
Steve at http://homeschoolheaven.wordpress.com and Jane at http://janesnaturenotes.wordpress.com. The
Lamberts are privileged to be on the national board of directors for First Class Homeschool Ministries
http://www.firstclasshomeschool.org/pages, an international ministry connecting local churches with homeschool
families.
Malia Russell is the blessed wife of Duncan, thankful mother of four children, ages 4-19, and
an author, conference speaker, and director of www.homemaking911.com. Visit her site for
inspiration, encouragement, and practical help in your roles as a Godly wife, mother,
homemaker, and home educator. Please visit the Homemaking 911 store for the following
resources: Managing the Multi-level Homeschool, Chaos to Order: 25 Tools Bringing
Organization to Your Home, Teaching the Difficult Child, Marriage 9-1-1, and Keeping Young
Ones Happy and Occupied During School Time.

www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com
47
The New School Year
Terri Johnson has been married to Todd for 20 years, home teaching their children for
12 years, and operating a publishing business for the past 8 years (Knowledge Quest,
Inc.), which specializes in history and geography curricula for the homeschool
marketplace. They are currently teaching two online classes: 1) Homeschooling ABCs,
providing guidance and instruction for new and/or overwhelmed homeschooling parents,
and 2) Upper Level Homeschool, a class providing guidance and insight for parents of
middle and high school teens.
You can reach Bramley Books, a division of Knowledge Quest, Inc.,
(www.kqpublishing.org) at 1.877.697.8611.
Homeschooling through High School? Grab your free special report at www.UpperLevelHomeschool.com.
Is this your first year homeschooling? Make it the best year possible with www.homeschoolingabcs.com.
Amanda Bennett has had quite a journey from obtaining her degree in engineering to
working as an engineer and professional researcher, eventually going home to raise their
three children. Her story is full of ups and downs—just like yours!
Her groundbreaking unit studies have become very popular with homeschool families
around the world. As a result, Amanda travels and speaks at conferences and retreats,
sharing tips, ideas, and encouragement to help others along the way. Her Web site,
www.unitstudy.com, contains information about her books, along with a wealth of articles
and other helpful information. You can contact Amanda through her Facebook page,
www.Facebook.com/UnitStudies.

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The New School Year
Cheryl Allin and husband Gregg stay busy homeschooling their two children in North Carolina
and are always on the lookout for educational materials and opportunities supporting their faith
and the ―free or almost free‖ philosophy they have adopted. Check out their blog at
www.homeschoolblogger.com/cherylallin.
Cheryl also serves as a Marketing Assistant for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. TOS is the
leading Christian homeschool publication and a trusted source of information worldwide. This
approximately 200-page quarterly magazine is packed with important, up-to-date news, useful
information, and inspiring content for the enjoyment and interest of homeschooling families.
TOS’ mission is to produce a high-quality, Biblically-based magazine that stands alone as a
practical resource and introduces relevant products and services to the home educator. The Old Schoolhouse®
Magazine can be found in Borders, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million stores, libraries across the nation, and
requested from www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com where an additional digital magazine is also available.
Dr. Ruth Beechick, a former teacher and professor and a curriculum specialist, says that
homeschooling is the best education going on today. She has written a number of books that
simplify teaching and help homeschoolers to feel like informed teachers themselves. No longer
is education a mystery, with schools holding the hidden secrets. These books sweep all that
away. Find them at Christianbook.com, Mott Media, or most any bookseller. For online help, put
"Ruth Beechick books" into your search engine.