Hello, my friends. Welcome to the Schoolhouse Review Crew 5 Days of Homeschool 101 Blog Hop. Today the topic is Planning. If you have missed my post on making your curriculum work for you, head on over here.
I am a pretty awesome planner.
If I do say so myself.
What I have discovered, however, is that I tend to OVERPLAN. I take days to plan out weeks and months of homeschool lessons. I have every page #, experiment and field trip recorded in my cute little planner.
Do you do this? What happens to me is that I have a beautifully thought out plan. Then life happens and I get way behind with my beautifully thought out plan and then discouragement sets in.
I’m. Never. Gonna. Get. Anything. Done.
The cold monster makes a sneak attack. Math happens. Or doesn't. Josiah discovers that he enjoys reading about the Wild West and would like to spend more time researching outlaws and the gold rush.
Pretty soon, nothing in my planner looks familiar and I've taken to hiding it in the bookshelf so I am not reminded how far behind I am.
Shew. I know that nobody has ever felt this way.
You can imagine that I’ve needed to take a different direction in my planning madness.
If you are a faithful reader of my blog you are undoubtedly shaking your head in confusion. I have stated many times that “I am not much of a planner.”
This is the thing. It doesn’t mean I can’t plan. It means that I have discovered that my previous method of planning madness wasn’t effective. It just didn’t work for us.
I decided to go simple.
I still need a basic plan of action, but I need to be flexible. What if Josiah needs more time with a math lesson? What if we want to extend our Civil War unit? What if we want to take an impromptu field trip to the cupcake store? For scientific observation purposes only, you understand.
Once a week or so, I sit down with homeschooling lists, curriculum and books. I’m about to lay down for you the secrets of my success. Of course, you realize that my “success” is relative. I am a homeschooler, after all. I take it where I can get it.
1. Before I sit down to plan I make a snack. I am not responsible for anything that happens when I’m Hangry. You probably want to keep it simple, but you can make it a true event try making these Chocolate Zucchini Brownies or this recipe for Low Carb Pancake Muffins (I’m trying these out this week!) You can thank me later.
2. I brew a fresh pot of tea. My favorite tea is Sweet and Spicy from the Good Earth. I use my favorite tea cup. It makes me feel fancy and productive.
3. I bring out my secret weapon. A simple (but cute) spiral notebook. In it I have written down our reading list for the year. I also have included the composers, poets and artists we want to study. I check my course of study I wrote down at the beginning of the year. Am I on track? Do I need to rethink some things?
4. I then look through the curriculum and books we are working through. Do we need to repeat anything? What supplies will I need for next week? Do I need to add or take away any projects? Do I need to print anything off? If I do need to print something off, I do it ASAP or at least send it to the printers. I have a guy (who knows a guy) who will print stuff off for 5 cents a copy (BW). You can’t beat that when you are getting ready to tackle a notebooking project.
5. I threaten my teenager. If he doesn’t put away those dishes in the drainer he is going to find himself in a world of hurt. Moving on.
6. Then it is time to write out a simple assignment list. I have goals for the whole week. For example, I might want Josiah to finish the chapter on fossil fuels. I would like for him to read Psalm 23 every day. We are also reading through Treasure Island. How long do we need to read every day to get through the book? I don’t necessarily write down assignments for every day at the beginning of the week in my pretty spiral book. Having weekly goals have made a huge difference.
7. Every day, after our school day, I take out Josiah’s assignment book. It is a simple spiral notebook. He doesn’t care if it looks cute. I add what I would like him to do the next day. I include any chores and activities that we have on the agenda. He enjoys checking things off his list.
8. I pretend that Josiah ate all the chocolate zucchini brownies. Planning is hard work!
Just a few notes. I obviously do a bit more planning at the beginning of every year. I look through my curriculum. One of the advantages of being a curriculum reviewer is that I have a bunch of it. I am a firm believer of USING WHAT YOU HAVE. If I need to add or purchase anything I do so at our local homeschool used bookstore or on Amazon. During really lean times, I have purchased textbooks from The Thrift Store or use an out-of-print textbook found online to use as a guideline. I supplement it with notebooking pages, lapbooks, documentaries, field trips and art projects. The internet is a wonderful source for homeschoolers.
Don’t stress out about this! Everybody has a different style of planning and administration. If you need more structure then create more structure for yourself. If you are a loosey goosey (welcome to my club) don’t chain yourself to a strict schedule. Leave time for fun, games, walks in the park and a nap or two (and a few more of those brownies!)
You can read more about Planning by checking out the blogs below or clicking on this link!