I know this is something I've written about before. The more I learn, from doing and by listening to the experiences of others, I see just how important it is. I also see that not too many of us homeschooling families value it and thus don't give enough time to it. Especially those of us who have been doing it awhile. If teaching is your thing (whether by training or by gifting) it's easy to trust your ability to 'wing-it' or 'go with the flow.' I know this is something I lean on strongly. However, there are subjects and topics that my children are interested in that I don't really know enough to do a lesson justice. As they grow and discover more things, this is actually happening a lot sooner than I had originally thought—and this is where planning come in.
Planning is something that homeschooling families should regularly do and schedule into their overall calendar for the year. This is a lesson we can take from the schedule of a traditional public school teacher. Every year there are days set aside within the calendar as teacher planning days. Although I found them rather inadequate when teaching (for various reasons), the need to pause, plan and organize for my students was not lost on me. Now that I'm teaching my own, this is something that I have put into my schedule since the very beginning. If you're creating your own lessons, you're already aware of just how much time goes into researching, studying, and gathering resources. If you're using a boxed curriculum, you need planning time as well. Although companies sell you on the ease of simply taking things out of the box and using them with your children, you need time to read through the manuals, look through the student texts, determine how much time your children need to complete each of the assignments, look through the scope & sequence to make sure what you're looking to cover gets covered and the list can go on... You need time to plan your book lists, schedule library visits and field trips. Should you be connected to a homeschooling group or co-op, you need time to look at their calendars and see how things fit with your own.
Just because we have the freedom to do what we'd like to do on any given day doesn't mean that things will flow as we'd hoped without some serious planning. No, I'm not saying that you need to plan your day out to the very minute (unless you and your children are those kind of people—and if so, do that). What I am saying is that families who find success and are able to keep a steady flow and rhythm to their lives are ones that plan for that.
Want more information or ideas on how to make it all happen and fit together? Here are a few of my previous posts on the subject you can read here and here.
Many of us take time over the summer months to plan. Have you scheduled days throughout this school year to pause, evaluate where things are and plan?
Happy Home Learning!
(Click here for other posts in the series.)