It’s that time of year! Blueprint Homeschooling by Amy Knepper is a gem that has been on my shelf for a couple of years. I always reach for it when it’s time to plan! I wrote a review post two years ago, and thought now was the perfect time to freshen it up. If you are a brand new homeschooler, or have been homeschooling for years, this book is for you!
Disclaimer: I was not paid or compensated in any way to write this review. I purchased this book on my own, and the thoughts and opinions are my own. This review contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you.
This is absolutely one of the best homeschool planning books I have read! I love books that help me organize and plan, and this one is a home-run! The sub-title, “How to Plan a Year of Home Education That Fits the Reality of Your Life” reeled me in. Anyone who has been homeschooling for more than a few days knows that there are many homeschooling methods, and there is no one-size-fits-all. After getting no farther than the introduction, I was excited about this book. Rather than pages of the typical charts and calendars, what makes this book different is the overall process: discovering why you homeschool, what you hope your children will get out of homeschooling, and how to make it happen with a workable plan.
How to use Blueprint Homeschooling
Blueprint Homeschooling will help you visualize what homeschooling might look like for your family. The whole idea of this book is like building a house: you need plans, or blueprints for your homeschool. The author recommends to read it twice – first, to get an overview and second to actually do the project suggestions. Find the big picture first, and the little details will fall into place. Even if you are not organized, give yourself some credit. I will be the first to admit that in my 11 years of homeschooling, I have never planned an entire year. I have read a few articles about people who have, but I have never felt that I had the organizational skills to pull it off.
Blueprint Homeschooling will help you to better understand how to do things in your own style. It’s worth investing a little time to your blueprint, because you’ll spend the time somewhere. That somewhere is usually searching for supplies, books, or worrying whether you’re doing enough, or missing something. You can go through this blueprint process in a fairly short amount of time, and it’s best to do it in within two weeks. Perhaps it’s at the end of the school year, while things are still fresh, or maybe it is now, before the new school year begins. The middle of the year is a even good time to take a break and evaluate the school year if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You can start anytime!
Laying out your blueprints
Starting with the foundation, Amy goes into great detail about values – the ideas and concepts that have the most worth to you. She will show you how to discover what your values are as a home educator. This is where you begin your 43 “blueprint sketches”. It sounds like a daunting task, but I love how it is broken down into practical chunks.
Part 1: Values – The first five blueprint sketches are your foundation. What’s important to you and your family as you homeschool? List your reasons, they will reveal a lot about you and your values. I really liked the idea of making them visible in your home via a quote, verse, or proverb. Use them to remind yourself why you do what you do.
Part 2: Methods – The next five blueprint sketches include finding your teaching style, their learning styles, and choosing your curriculum type. I have done something similar to this when I first started homeschooling. Some things had changed, and some remained the same. In my opinion, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate this every couple of years.
Part 3: Setting Goals – This is a big one, and there are several blueprint sketches for this section. The SMART goal theory (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound) is broken down so we do not get ahead of ourselves and burnout.
Part 4: Curriculum – In the “blueprint” analogy used throughout the book, we are now at the part where we can decorate each room in your house, so to speak, because we have our values, methods, and goals already set. She even includes a detailed section on how to DIY curriculum without overwhelm. This was very helpful, because it is sometimes difficult to find exactly what we want in the sea of curriculum choices.
Part 5: Calendars I have to say, one of the best things about homeschooling is creating and being in charge of your own calendar! Her methods of breaking down the school year calendar simplifies a large task, so you will be ready for anything. She also shows you how to plug your curriculum in and break it down to fit within your calandar. This is very helpful to me!
Part 6: Making It Work This final section is full of great tips from keeping it together, and what to do if you get off track. I love that she has sanity-saving ideas for mom, as well as ideas for you not to lose your own curiosity.
Before you build a house, you need plans. You need a BLUEPRINT.
I am looking forward to going through this process again and having a plan that works for our family. Investing the time now will give me time and sanity this school year. With two in high school, I’ll sure need it! This plan is a great fit for the many types of diverse homeschooling families today. Intriguing and exciting, you will love Amy’s plan and her humor sprinkled throughout the pages. Blueprint Homeschooling is the go-to book for success in your homeschool. Now, lets’s get planning!