New to Homeschool Connections? Planning the Next School Year
Registration is now open for Homeschool Connections’ 2022-2023 school year! It’s time to start thinking about planning your students’ courses for the coming year. If you are new to Homeschool Connections, this may seem like a daunting task. There are so many variables! “What courses do my children need?” “What instructors should we use?” “Do we do live or recorded?” “When do we order course materials?” “Where can I learn all the info I need to know about a course?”
Don’t worry! We are going to cover all of that in this post on planning your next homeschool year with Homeschool Connections.
First, if you are new to HSC, it’s important to understand what HSC is (and isn’t). Homeschool Connections is a provider of Catholic online homeschooling curricula. The curriculum for any given course is designed by our wonderful instructors; when you sign up with HSC, you get access to these curricula. Homeschool Connections is not a school; we don’t have a set-in-stone lineup of classes that we make all students take. We can certainly make recommendations, but ultimately it is up to you, as the primary educator, to decide what courses your child will take. It is online Catholic homeschooling à la carte.
This means you have some choices to make…
Will we use live courses, recorded courses, or some mixture of the two?
Homeschool Connections offers two types of courses: live (interactive) and recorded (self-directed). You can choose to use one or a mix of both in your planning. What you choose will determine what’s available to you in a given year. If you’re not sure about the benefits of live (synchronous) vs. recorded (asynchronous) courses, check out our two previous blog posts, How to Get the Most Out of Live, Interactive Courses and How to Get the Most Out of Recorded, Self-Paced Courses.
How To Plan For the Coming Year and Pick Courses?
Planning can be tricky, especially if you are planning for multiple children. Don’t reinvent the wheel here; make it easy on yourself! The Homeschool Connections website has sample homeschool scope and sequence outlines to help guide your selection. You should also consult your state’s requirements if it has any. Make a list of what each student needs, then go to the Homeschool Connections website catalogs and see what matches up with your needs. One idea for you is to plan one subject at a time (e.g., if you have three children, plan math for all three of them, then move on to English, etc.) Otherwise, you can start to feel overwhelmed by the process.
Will Your Children Take Classes Together?
It is sometimes possible to have multiple children take a single course together. It obviously depends upon the kids’ ages and academic needs, but if it is possible I strongly recommend it. You have to buy fewer course materials, don’t have to monitor as much class time, it makes it easier to keep on top of things, and siblings can confer with each other on their homework and course concepts.
What Teacher and Course Do I Want for a Particular Subject?
How do you decide which teacher and course you want for a particular subject? One of the greatest things about Homeschool Connections is our wonderful lineup of instructors and the diversity of courses they offer. This can be a mixed blessing though; while it gives you a plethora of options, it can be a challenge to narrow down the one course you want in a given subject area. A good way to whittle this down is to look at all the courses listed in the catalog for a given subject area; pick out a few courses that strike your fancy. Read the course descriptions and evaluate the homework requirements to see what workload fits best with your student’s schedule. If it is recorded, watch a few classes to get a sense of how things go; if it is live, check out some other recorded classes by the same instructor. This helps you narrow down the best fit for your student.
If your student has had a teacher before that they have liked, look for other courses by the same teacher since you already know what to expect.
When Should I Order Course Materials?
Early. It frequently happens that there is a crunch for certain books and materials in the weeks leading up to the start of the traditional school, so it’s best to get order textbooks and materials with considerable wiggle room in case there is a shipping delay.
What If I Have Questions About a Course Before Committing?
If you have a question about a course before you commit to it, you have several options: if the course instructor has their contact information available publicly, often emailing the instructor directly leads to the quickest resolution. If not, you can always email the Homeschool Connections team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We try to provide prompt follow-up to all inquiries!
You can also join one of our various social media communities, either on the Facebook parent group, or the Homeschool Connections Community forum. On these platforms, you can not only interact with the HSC team but draw on the experience of other parents using HSC. It’s a wonderful resource for online homeschooling!
If you want more tips on how to plan your Catholic homeschooling year with Homeschool Connections, I’d like to recommend this video below from the YouTube channel Catholic Mom and Daughter. They cover some of the same points from this post but go into greater depth.
God bless you, and as always, reach out to our team if you have any trouble! We’re here to support you and help you attain your homeschooling goals.