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Imagine a person who is able to carefully coordinate the chaotic schedules and lives of 6 children, homeschool 5 of them, manage a blog, and their family’s day to day needs. Now, imagine a person who also has a difficult time keeping everything organized and whose mind thinks of one hundred things at a time. Let’s keep going! Imagine a person who is a combination of both individuals you just imagined. You have successfully imagined the life of many homeschool moms.
Being responsible for the education of your children and the day to day task of your home can get a little crazy. A lot of moms turn to one of the thousand homeschool planners available to find a way to keep it all together. They break out their beautiful planners, write out the year, and sit back and marvel. However, Homeschool Planners Can Be Thrown Away!
A year ago, we began our homeschool year like every other. All classes and schedules were meticulously planned and written in the amazing planner purchased at a virtual homeschool conference. In the beginning, the daily schedule was in place, meal plans were being created each week, and all assignments were being graded daily.
One Tuesday, about three months into the year, we took our 8 month old son for a well-visit. He was immediately referred to a specialist to address the feeding concerns we were noticing. Within five days, our entire homeschool plans went completely out of the window. Our son was admitted to the hospital, placed on a feeding tube, and the journey of multiple doctor’s appointment began.
Over the course of the following months, the kids work was nothing like I had planned. It was a miracle the days they completed more than reading and math. Our family was working on minimal sleep, due to the middle of the night feedings and medical equipment beeping. It was at this point, I knew I had to throw out my homeschool planner.
Life happens when you are homeschooling. A family illness, the birth of a child, the death of a family member, and many other unexpected events can happen over the course of the school year. A strict adherence to your homeschool planner will create anxiety and burn out during these times. Be willing to throw it away.
“Life is what happens to us while we are out there making plans.”- Allen Saunders
Homeschool is Not School
When we first started homeschooling, I distinctly remember sitting down and researching the scope and sequence of various school websites and textbooks. I cracked open my homeschool planner and wrote out a series of lessons and activities that mirrored the public school. Not once did I ask my kiddos what they were interested in learning or exploring for the year. We were basically doing “school at home.”
In time, we joined a homeschool co-op and I started to talk with other seasoned parents. They asked me why I was so committed to following the curriculum layout of the schools. The only answer I could come up with was “…so I know they will be on track.” The moms then asked, “If you wanted them to follow the public school, why did you take them out?”
Probably the most profound question I was asked after beginning the journey. I never thought about “why” I wanted them home or how their experience would be unique to them.
“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” -Roger Lewin
Homeschool is such a unique and exciting experience, if you allow it to be. Kids are able to explore their passions and interest. They get a chance to dig into a topic of interest for as long as they wish. It is these experiences that make learning rich and memorable. The information and knowledge they gain is sure to be ingrained because they selected the topic and were naturally inquisitive. Throwing away the homeschool planner you created, without input from the kids, is the best way to create lifelong learners.
Planners Don’t Equal Mastery
When you walk into most public school classrooms, you will find a daily schedule. The schedule clearly outlines the exact time each subject will take place or the time a class period is over. When the bell rings, a learner must gather their belongings and move on to the next class or activity. This schedule does not take into account if the learner was ready to move on or had mastered the material presented. Time is up!
Homeschool planners can cause you to create a homeschool environment very similar to the public school classroom. Many homeschool families will write down a year’s worth of lessons and make every effort to follow the schedule to the exact date. This set up defeats one of the very benefits of homeschooling.
Knowing which subjects and materials you would like to see your learner accomplish within a given time frame is a great idea. Having a daily routine is also a great idea. Creating a rigid schedule and homeschool plan because you wrote it in your planner is not a great idea. If your kiddo is not ready to move on to the next section because they have not mastered the material, it is perfectly fine to pause and park yourself in a specific chapter.
Having a planner and a well-thought out year does not mean your child will master anything. Focusing more on the plan than the student creates a level of rigidness that may actually block your child from truly grasping key foundational concepts. Throw away your homeschool planner if your find your school checking checking off days rather than checking off mastered material.
Homeschool Take Away:
Homeschool planners can be an awesome asset when used correctly. There is nothing wrong with planning your work and working your plan.
Planners provide you with a place to gather your thoughts and ideas, prompt you to check in with your children about their interest, and help to ensure your children are progressing. In fact, having a homeschool planner is what keeps this “Chaos Coordinator” organized. Take charge of your homeschool planner. Don’t let it take charge of you!
What do you do to make sure you aren’t dictated by your homeschool planner?
About The Author
Christel Brewer is a wife and mommy of 8. When she isn’t busy with her squad, you can find her blogging at Perfectly Blended and Blessed or on Facebook and Instagram. She spends her days homeschooling their youngest 5 children and a few extra students, teaching online classes on Outschool.com, working as an Educational Consultant, overseeing their new non profit, Focusing on Families, Inc. Most days, she is just finding a way to be the “Chaos Coordinator” to their ever so crazy and quirky blended family.
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