I mentioned in my New Year’s Goals for homeschooling that I wanted the children to start planning their goals with their father, using this simple chart:
|Books(How many/ what to read each day, or week)|
|Scholastic Goals(Reading, Math, History, Art)|
I am happy to report that we have fairly consistently had the children plan these goals for the week with their father. Ownership is a joyful principle for children. And planning aides in this empowering autonomy, as well as facilitates consistency and following through. We’ve been heading in a more traditional route over the last year with Milly reaching the age to learn responsibility. It has been beautiful to watch her gain confidence as she makes goals and achieves them. There are a few things she accomplishes that are less fun than free-range learning which she also has ample time for, but this ownership lends to confidence as she accomplishes challenging tasks, such as a few lessons in her preferred Singapore Math book daily coupled with singing her multiplication songs, a language lesson per week, a geography and learning cursive also once per week. Just choosing when she would like to accomplish these things is enabling, empowering and motivating for her! This planning doesn’t hamper the spontaneity available in their lives, in fact that is practically inescapable in our homeschool. But the plan really helps them focus their energy constructively. The children really like their planning sessions with their father.
Incidentally, lately, I’ve been taking home school suggestions from my husband more and even though it feels like it cramps my style and steps on my toes a bit, over all I think its really healthy and even better to collaborate with your other half even if it seems they are pulling in an opposite direction, I think in the end a more balanced approach combining the strengths from each spouse is highly effective. Besides my husband helps me to become better and more effective, at what I do.
When it comes to organized homeschoolers, I think Donna Young takes the cake. Her blog must have hours of work poured into it and that work is gifted as a free resource! Here is my favorite planning sheet. It is simple and leaves room for my right brained graphing, doodles and free-range thoughts. (See the middle of this page, called ”Plan List – A Row Planner.” Donna Young has many resources that you might find helpful.
Secondly, for an over-all life organization, haul, shall we say, I will tell you about the mega Home Management Binder which I got from Candy, a rigorous Christian homeschooler, over at Joyful Christian Homemaking. The binder is very helpful and ingenious. The sections include anything and everything you want. I have a history section, a planning section, a calling section, a remedy section, an emergency preparedness section, reading lists section, etc. At the top of Candy’s blog you can see her sample cleaning lists and scheduling, and somehow she keeps a thorough reading list she works consistently through. She helped me get started with daily breakfast devotionals and having the children help clean up routinely after eating. You might prefer these other resources in describing Home Management Binders. Here is the delightful Lindsay from Passionate Homemaking, (love her) as she describes How to Build a Home Planning Notebook or this awesome organizational blog has many helps for developing a Household Notebook.
To read a more inclusive step by step approach to this binder in how I came to desire and build my own notebook, read this blog post where I wrote on this subject.
Well, happy planning and organizing. Planning is so helpful for whatever homeschool method you prefer. Spontaneity is fresh and habits are great for knee jerk learning, but planning is the power punch for whatever directions your homeschooling takes. Of course I will be the first to admit that I am a loose planner, and could certainly step it up a notch in this category. You should look how dis-shevelled my Home Notebook appears… I have a way of shuffling things up, thats for sure!
Though hardly official, planning plays a cohesive role in what we are atleast attempting to accomplish, shall I say. I use ‘habits’ as described by Charlotte Mason, to help us establish purposeful routines and living. We feel happy when we achieved the habit goal on atleast 2 of the days of the week, which is how our homeschool keeps on rolling despite life’s many interuptions. (Generally speaking, Monday’s habit is recover from the weekend and give some spelling words at breakfast, Tuesday teach a Montessori style Math approach, Wednesday read History and do laundry, Thursday do an outdoor adventure with a nature journal, or science-ish lesson and Friday re-practice those spelling words and hopefully do an art lesson.) Planning helps us solidify and or reiterate our habits. When its best to go with the magic of spontaneity initiated by you or child, planning can help with following through when the project looses its newness. Or when the spirit has beckoned to make a plan C, planning helps gather the courage to not brush it aside. Mix in to this lovely collage the real life teaching opportunities in spiritual and scholastic, life skill or social lesson that presents itself, and planning makes more visible the opportunities that lie therein. For me, it seems I spend most my energy putting out fires and trying to teach how to get a long, or changing diapers and cooking meals, or taking care of this or that business, or checking my email or computer when I shouldn’t be….And there again, when I take some moments to plan, I will do less of the latter, (tinkering on the computer at less effective times) and will instead see the earlier mentioned situations for what they really are, opportunities to mold a child into the likeness of the Savior and carve out sacred memories and teaching opportunities.
How do you make time for planning? For me, its usually by seat of my pants…when I pass by my Home Management binder at best. But don’t you think we must count all those fruitful times we think of what we will do next, like when we use the restroom, while we exercise, when we read our scriptures, and when we read an inspiring book? And if luck would have it that we jot those ideas down, now that seals the deal, that is planning with a punch. Too often I try to stack it all in my colander brain, which doesn’t work out too well!
Planning certainly adds a little method to the madness. Do you have any planning tips, or planning resources you would like to share? Or planning testimonials, shall we say? Or further ideas on the subject or off for that matter?