It’s time for another new school year to begin, and if you’re like me, those grandiose plans you made at the beginning of summer to spend the entire break planning went by the wayside, just like your New Year’s resolutions. So now, with only a couple of weeks before school officially begins, you’re overwhelmed and scrambling to plan, order curriculum, meet with your Epic teacher, complete MAP assessments, and enjoy the last vestiges of summer.

Well, take a deep breath and follow our five tips for successful school year planning below. You’ll be ready in no time!

1. “By Failing To Prepare, You Are Preparing To Fail”

The above quote, most commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, reminds us that being intentional with our school year planning is important. That’s not to take away your flexibility or creativity, but at the beginning of the year, having a broad overview of the educational goals you have for each child for that school year will pave the way to success.

Start by listing out what you want your child/children to learn, experience, and do by the end of the year. (This is also a good time to take the school calendar of important dates and write those in your calendar all at once so that you won’t miss anything important). You can organize your list by subject, activity or priority – whatever works best for you. Then begin breaking down the list and assigning deadlines for which month you want your child to accomplish the task/attend the field trip/etc.  At the beginning of that month, set specific dates for these tasks and as you plan each week, be sure you’re actively working toward that goal.

I set aside time every Sunday to plan and prepare for the week, making sure I am accomplishing everything that needs to be done and everything I want to do. Every 6 weeks or so, I reevaluate my planning, adjusting as needed. School year planning is an activity that happens throughout the year, a document to be revisited and updated regularly.

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2. Do Not Over Plan

The key to a happy life is balance and that goes for school year planning as well! Just as not planning is detrimental to your school year, getting too ambitious with your planning may cause you to “fall behind” and have to play catch up. Then you may have to turn down opportunities or field trips experiences because you’ve overbooked the school year calendar or you may feel guilty for not finishing the book. When you’re planning, don’t overdo it and use pencil. Remember that it’s not carved in stone; it can and should be changed.

Your Epic teacher will also help you at your first personalized learning plan meeting to set up a schedule and assign the appropriate amount of work to help your student reach their educational goals and targets.

3. Involve Your Student In The Planning Process

Setting clear and obtainable expectations for your students. Setting and meeting expectations are important parts of success and great life skills to have as an adult. Communicating your goals for your child to your child and helping them set some goals of their own will help them become more independent, allow them ownership in their education and possibly take some of the little tasks off your plate (perhaps an older child can help you grade a younger child’s math assignment, or a younger child can learn to make his bed). For older children, teach them to make a to-do list or how to use a planner to plan out their assignments and begin learning how to appropriately manage their time. For the younger ones, you could create a reward chart to help incentivize completing tasks.

At your initial Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) Meeting, you and your Epic teacher will discuss goals for the school year; encourage your child to be an active participant in the discussion and for their input in coming up with educational and life goals for themselves.

4. Learn To Say No

It may just be me, but I have a little problem with telling people no; this leads to overcommitting and having too much to do with no time to do it! Weigh all the opportunities presented to you – from being the assistant coach on the soccer team to running the bake sale at your local library – with your homeschooling plans and goals, your family life, work life and time for yourself. Prioritize your current responsibilities before taking on new roles and be sure to set boundaries, taking account your limitations before you commit.

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5. Find A Routine, Not A Rigid Schedule

If you’re a new homeschooling family, work on getting into a daily routine. Try not to be too rigid in your scheduling; let go of the school bell mentality. Your math “class” doesn’t have to start at 8:00 am and finish at 9:05 am every day. Make a list of the things that need to be accomplished each morning and begin building a rhythm to complete the tasks and work on keeping the same order each day so your child knows what to expect.

If you plan on doing math after breakfast, and then giving your kids a snack break before reading and history, then lunch, stick to that order so that each day, your child knows what to expect. Children feel better when there is routine, when they know what to expect, so give them that structure while still maintaining some flexibility in your day.

School year planning can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Make it a priority to take some time to sit down before the school year begins. At the end of the school year, you’ll be amazed at all you were able to accomplish.

What are some of your best school year planning tips? Comment below.

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Epic Charter School is a free TK-12 public school committed to providing students and families in Southern California a learning environment that meets the individual needs of students. The Epic Charter School model began in Oklahoma and has grown to more than 9,000 students enrolled for the 2016-17 school year. Students in Southern California now have the opportunity to enroll in Epic’s new California school. Click here to enroll or call 657.220.1000 for more information about how Epic can help you.