How to Plan for the Next Year

It’s that time of year again when you finish up your school year and start to plan for another. Sometimes planning for a new year can seem a little overwhelming and even more so if this is your first time homeschooling. The following four steps have helped me plan each of our last 6 years of lessons. I hope they can give you some ideas or help you as you embark on this season of planning for the 2023-2024 school year. 

Step 1: Jot Lists

The first thing I like to do when I begin planning for a new school year is to jot down a list of every subject I can possibly think of. The subjects I put down are language arts, math, science, history, poetry, Bible, music, geography, Canadian history, American history, black American history, writing, French, typing, art, nature, spelling, character and chores, and lastly mini units. Next, underneath each subject I list the curriculum or resources I will be using for that subject (make sure to leave lots of space between subjects. We will talk more about this in step 2). This part is a visual of everything I have for each of these subjects in one place. Now, you may be wondering if I will actually get to every one of these subjects. Maybe not, but having it written down with the resources I want to use can help when I want to switch around our loop schedule or switch out a subject for another. Then I know what I have on hand at a glance and can pull the resources I need quickly.


Step 2: Bulk Up Curriculums

Now that you have written down each subject and what curriculum you will be using for each, you are now ready for the fun part! Remember how we left all those spaces between subjects? That’s for adding all the extra books, posters, and printables you will use to go alongside your curriculum.

First, search through your own bookshelves and see what you already own. If you are studying bugs for one week, pull out some picture books on ants or bees. Then jot down the titles you like best in the open space we left.

Second, look through your chosen curriculum for their book lists. These are usually found in the teacher book or in the back of the textbook. Highlight the ones you want to add into your study and then add them to your list under the subject. After I write them down under the subject,  I like to add a star to remind myself to either put them on hold at the library or to purchase them for the new year.

Gathering up extra picture books and resources is one of my favorite parts about homeschool planning. I love “bulking up” our studies with good literature and extra resources to help us dive deeper into those subjects.

homeschool organization

Step 3: Go Deeper Into the Teacher Guides

For step 3, you will want to have on hand highlighters, sticky notes, your curriculum list/book list, pencil, and a hot cup of tea or coffee. Gather up all of your curriculum and find a place to spread out all of your resources. Lay them out in piles of each subject. I like to use our kitchen island to spread everything out, but note that this step could take days or weeks so make sure wherever you choose, it’s a place where they can stay layed out for a while. 

Next add the stories, picture books, and extra resources to these subject piles that you had written out on your paper from part 2.

Once everything is all out, begin going through each curriculum slowly. Read through the teacher books, highlight parts you want to remember and use, cross out lessons you want to skip, and flag certain pages you want to add onto with stories or other outside resources.Grab your cup of tea or coffee and enjoy working your way slowly through these pages. This will give you the time to get comfortable and familiar with this year’s curriculum.

lesson planning at dining room table

Step 4: Scheduling and Looping 

This is the final part of my planning process, and it’s all about sitting down and scheduling out your new school year. I would note any changes you would want to make for this year. I made notes of a few changes I wanted for our family in this new season of our lives. This year, we switched our day off from a Friday to a Wednesday. We will be focusing on science one whole semester and then history for the 2nd semester instead of switching back and forth different days of the week. I also added more loop style scheduling into our daily rhythm.

Looping is simply moving through the different subjects. If you didn’t end up getting to it that day, then you don’t move to the next loop subject until it’s done. That way we aren’t missing any subjects because no certain subject is holding tightly to a certain day. Once a subject is done, we move to the next subject in the loop the following day.

Then with your curriculum list you put together in the last few steps, jot down in your planner or agenda which subjects will be your daily subjects and which ones are okay being weekly. Daily subjects for us are math, language arts, and morning time (Bible, poetry, spelling, seasonal stories, and calendar).

Next,  fill in your weekly subjects. This includes extra curricular activities too. You can make a set day for certain weekly subjects or you can loop* them. You can see a step by step of how I schedule over on my instagram account under the highlight called “Plan w. Me prt 4.” Make sure to write everything down in pencil so you can tweak it as you work your way through your schedule the first couple weeks. Test it out and see if it’s working for you. If not, change it up and move things around.

lesson planning

That’s it! Remember the most important thing about your upcoming school year is to have fun learning alongside your child/children. Remember that the schedule and curriculum are simply tools. Give yourself the freedom and flexibility to change and adapt as you all ease into another year. I hope these planning steps help you or inspire you in this year’s homeschooling journey.

How to Plan for the Next Year


Written by Paige Gallant

Paige and her family live on the beautiful east coast of Canada. They are a second generation homeschooling family. She just finished up the sixth year of homeschooling her three children (ages 11, 8, 6). Paige graduated from St.Thomas university with a B.A. in journalism. After having her second child, she went and received her New Brunswick Early Childhood Education certificate where she ran her own government licensed in-home daycare. She then eventually transitioned over to just homeschooling her own children. She is passionate about home education and loves helping others who are interested in it.

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