Courses abound and we can find countless blogs highlighting the virtues of homeschool planning. They tell us that failing to plan is planning to fail, or some other such cliche.
I understand the appeal, a plan for the whole year sounds wonderful. But is it realistic?
Our home is not an educational institution that continues pushing forward regardless of individual circumstances. If a child misses a day in the fifth grade, well, classes continue, and it is up to the child and his family to catch up. The school doesn’t alter their plan.
However, this is not how homeschooling works, nor should it.
So here are 3 reasons you should keep your desire for the perfect color-coded plan in check. Because life doesn’t always pay attention to our post-it notes.
Welcome Interruptions to Your Homeschooling Plan
The good breaks in your homeschooling schedule can be so appealing, why would you want to see them negatively?
The family will come to visit, unexpected excursions will appear, and you will experience beautiful autumn days. Should you consider these things as interruptions to the real business of homeschooling?
All these interruptions are what make life and homeschooling interesting.
If family visits and go visit a local museum, is this somehow a dereliction of our homeschool plan? Will it be the destruction of all this year’s hard work?
Your homeschool co-op has excursions planned for the year, should you not go because you have to stay on schedule?
I hope not.
The biggest reason homeschooling is so successful, and a fantastic opportunity for our families is because we spend time out in the world. We meet people in unexpected ways and interact with ideas beyond the four walls of our homes or a classroom.
Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.Charlotte Mason
Unexpected Interruptions in the Homeschool Schedule
Autumn days can be a wonderful distraction from your mundane plans, but what about the flu that infects the whole family in the course of a month?
But the flu can be easy compared to other interruptions in your beautiful, well-structured plan.
Serious illness or death of a family member, moving across the country, job change, or other significant changes in life, happen. The list could go on and on.
And no, these are not interruptions that happen all the time, but they do happen.
This does not mean you should not plan at all, but perhaps you should not be so invested in the plan that you cause yourself even more stress when you encounter a major life event that requires adjustment.
The Personal Side of a Failed Plan
And this is where I hope to make you think.
I was the mother who wanted the perfectly synchronized plan, which covers the subjects chronologically and where our studies also follow a theme. I wanted our artist study and our composer study to align with our history studies and preferably our read-alouds. I mean, why not?
And of course, it should fill 36 weeks perfectly, with the corresponding number of breaks. Why wouldn’t it, that’s what they do at school?
It took a bit of time, but I finally realized this is not what works best for my family or for me.
What are you to do on the days when maybe you accomplish most of your work, but skipped math because you just couldn’t deal with four levels of math at once.
If you have a perfectly dated schedule, you will be forever behind and trying to catch up.
This doesn’t work for me, because my perfectionist tendencies will cause me to throw in the towel. Why bother, we’re so off schedule?
This is not where you want to be as a homeschool mom.
The Mythical Perfect Plan
The perfect homeschool plan is, in my opinion, a myth. It’s like thinking you can plan the perfect tree or perfect wave. They’re all amazing, all different, and none were planned.
Our homeschools are like trees. They start off small but grow adding new branches in unexpected places.
We don’t plan how the tree will grow each year, it just does. We can help it along with water, fertilizer, and judicious pruning, but ultimately it’s up to the tree.
So we should view our homeschool, and its plan, a bit like we would a tree we planted. We take care of the tree and give it what it needs, but if a storm blows through and a branch comes tumbling down, we don’t give up on the tree.
Make your plan if you must, but when it’s a beautiful day and you just want to lay under the tree and see the sky through the branches, it’s fine.
You can do the next thing tomorrow.