Make Life do the Educating: Homeschool Planning

It’s summer, and all the talk turns to planning for the next “school year,” but allow me to offer a different perspective on the homeschool planning rush.

I don’t do “school years,” but with the increase in our outside activities, it seems we have to follow that cycle a little more than before.

Homeschool moms also tend to become antsy at the prospect of a new school year and go into planning overload.  I think it’s so we can forget about the things we didn’t quite finish and look with optimism towards the shiny, new thing we think will be perfect.

After 11 or so years of homeschooling, I’ve accepted that a plan can be a hindrance and a constant source of anxiety. Instead, I suggest we throw out the plan and stop worrying about those 180 days.

Do the Next Thing

That’s the only plan you need.

So you didn’t do math one day because you visited a museum, great! When you get back to math, just do the next thing (if you feel like it).

You didn’t read from the science read aloud because the kids were wrapped up in their latest Tinker Crate or Groovy Lab Box. It can be read another day.

History is simply the story of the world, and it’s people, just keep moving along that timeline. How can your child be “behind”?

Why can this be so difficult? We’ve been conditioned to view learning as an activity that is to be divided up into to age-segregated grades with 180 equal doses of information.

However, is that really how life operates? I’ve had an equivalent of 19 years of schooling, if I went back to school would I be in 20th grade? Would I learn what is expected of a 20th grader?  Would I be “behind”?

So do I not plan at all?

No, not in a 15-minute increment, post-it note kind of way, nor a day 1, day 2, etc. manner. I plan in a big picture way. Where are we in history? What books should we read aloud this year? Are there any interesting exhibits at museums we need to catch? What new things can I bring into the house that the kids would find interesting?

But what about math?!

Math is where doing the next thing shines. About a year ago I started combining Learn Math Fast along with the Math Mammoth Blues Series, and it’s going great. No graded levels, no pressure to finish a given grades book, just forward momentum while focusing on understanding.

Make Your Life do the Educating

I took one piece of advice from cleaning guru Don Aslett to heart, and that is to let your house do the cleaning. What he was saying was to make the decision that will alleviate clutter and messes.  Since then I’ve never chosen a gas stove again! Keeping it clean is too much work and time. Instead, I have a solid glass surface cooktop that can be quickly wiped down.

Home education doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t require graded readers, book reports, nor daily checklists to be completed.

Make your life do the educating!

Instead of worrying about staying on “grade-level,” find a documentary at your library. Why plan a year around workbook pages when you can plan it around museum exhibits and community events?

It all goes back to Charlotte Mason and creating an atmosphere.

Relax and Take a Deep Breath

The upcoming nine months don’t require an intricately planned excel spreadsheet. You don’t have to know what you’ll be doing next January. Maybe take it a month at a time?

Why not question the necessity of a school schedule in your life?

Here’s some other post to get you going:

Homeschool Mindset: The Reading List

Homeschool Planning and Books about Books

Be an Interesting Homeschool Parent Who is Interested in the World

My upcoming posts will be about my less is more approach to planning, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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One thought on “Make Life do the Educating: Homeschool Planning

  1. Yes! Less is definitely more. I’ve homeschooled for over 17 years now and have tried every planning and recordkeeping approach there is – overplanning and planning too far in advance definitely caused more stress in the long run than it alleviated. Life does not go according to plan – not OUR plan anyway.

    It seems like everyday I see a post about scheduling (OK, myself included on my own website). But, this is an important topic because we end up sabotaging our own homeschools and burning ourselves out. Only God knows what we need to experience and encounter in life, so we must seek Him FIRST. Thanks for sharing your wisdom on the subject.

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