Planning for 2016: Big Picture Planning

Big Picture Planning in an Inquiry Based Homeschool - An Everyday Story

Big Picture Planning in an Inquiry Based Homeschool - An Everyday StoryWell that was a long Christmas break 🙂 I hope you all had a lovely holiday (although, it seems so long ago now, hey?) This year is going to be a big year for our little family. I now have two official homeschoolers with Sarah starting Kindergarten and Jack moving into Grade 2.

Mostly what that means for us is that the kids are at an age now that all of their extra-curricular activities are in ‘after-school’ time; so, no more regular morning activities – we have the whole day to ourselves 🙂 .

Jack will also be picking Occupational Therapy up again (after a three-year-break) to support him through some aspects of daily life which he is finding challenging. I am really looking forward to these sessions and incorporating some of the strategies in our daily rhythm.

Throughout January, I have been working through some big picture questions and thinking about how we, as a family can all be supported and grow this year.

Collage Basket on the Art Shelf in a Reggio-inspired Homeschool - An Everyday Story

I think it is so important to consider the big picture when planning your homeschool year. It can be very tempting to start planning specifics, but I think we need to look at our year as a whole first.

Here’s some of the questions I asked myself. I took a while answering them; over a couple of weeks, so I could get a nice, clear image in my mind of the direction I would like our homeschool to take this year.

  • What do I want to do this year? ~ What are my aspirations for the year?
  • What do I value most about our family and our life?
  • What parts of our family and our daily rhythm are working well?
  • Which aspects need a little more attention and consideration?
  • What do we all need in order to grow this year?

Plasticine Figurines - An Everyday Story

After I have given some thought to these questions, I can start thinking more specifically about homeschool:

  • What are Jack and Sarah’s interests?
  • What are their strengths? 
  • How do they learn? How do they express themselves and make their learning visible?
  • Where would I like to see growth in them this year?
  • What would I like to incorporate into our homeschool this year? ~ Maybe more time in nature, more inquiry work, maybe some new materials?
  • How am I going to document and collect learning samples for record keeping? ~ It’s good to get this sorted early so you are not panicking when annual reporting comes around
  • How am I going to store materials and supplies?
  • What are my departmental requirements and how do I plan to meet those requirements whilst maintaining the integrity of our inquiry-based approach?

Reggio-inspired Homeschool Nature Shelf - An Everyday Story Nature Table in a Reggio-inspired Homeschool - An Everyday StoryOnce all these questions have been given some thought, then, I think, we can move on to planning specifics like a weekly schedule and topics to explore together. Your answers to these questions will give you a nice solid foundation for planning as well as help you to feel confident in yourself to continue (or take on) homeschooling.

Next week, I’ll share our weekly schedule as well as some of the books and materials we’ll be using this year.

10 Replies to “Planning for 2016: Big Picture Planning”

  1. Katey Gribble, I always love to see your blogs arrive in my inbox from time to time, and always, always feel inspired and empowered ??

    1. Awww thanks Relle. You know, I was thinking about you guys just last week. I really want to try and get up for the reunion, do you think you’ll make it?

  2. So lovely to have you back again for the new year. And such a great post. Really thought-provoking. I always feel like I am wandering aimlessly and so I am going to sit down with a pen and paper and think about these questions for our family. Thank you.

  3. I truly love following your blog. I think it’s been two years now (I started before my son was born) and you really do inspire!

    1. Thank you so much Brittany. That is so lovely of you to say 🙂 🙂

  4. Helpful guidance for all involved in early childhood. And I like your little flower shaped wooden display tray, can you remember where you got it from?

    1. Thank you Louise 🙂 Isn’t it lovely?! I bought it from Modern Teaching Aids. Here’s the link: – It’s out of stock at the moment though.

      1. Thanks for that.

  5. Lena Guarino says:

    Hello Kate,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful ideas. I just came across your blog today as I am currently in search of which way we shall homeschool our 5 year old son. We lean toward Steiner approach however on discovering your blog on this style of teaching, it really resonates with us and we believe it will work very well with our boy. Please can you share with me how to get started, I am already clear about my sons interests and how to set up his space, I just need some direction on how to structure or plan what we will be learning week to week. I have gone through your blog and absolutely love your ideas, just need to know which I begin with. We live a very simple natural lifestyle, no tv and spend a lot of time in nature, he would like to learn about trees and birds and I have some ideas on how to structure our week. But would I teach about one subject for a certain amount of time? Thank you for sown direction to get started. Gosh you should write a weekly curriculum so to speak and sell it. Much gratitude and many blessings to you and your family. Lena

  6. This blog is amazing I think I will be bookmarking the site and come back to read more.The bigger picture great.

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