We can buy a course or find countless blogs extolling the virtues of homeschooling planning. They tell us to have a plan in place so we won’t be spinning our wheels or wasting our precious homeschool time.
I understand its appeal, a plan for the entire year sounds lovely. But is it realistic?
Our home isn’t an educational institution that carries on no matter the individual circumstances. If a child misses a day of third grade, oh well, the class continues, and it’s up to the child and their family to complete the work.
Homeschooling doesn’t work that way.
Homeschooling shouldn’t work that way.
So here are the good, the bad, and the ugly reasons you should keep that homeschool plan in check.
Good Interruptions to Your Homeschool Plans
The good interruptions to your homeschool plan can be so delightful, why would you want to view them negatively?
The family will visit, unexpected field trips will pop up, and beautiful fall days will be yours for the taking, should you view these things as interruptions to real learning?
All of these interruptions are what make life and homeschooling interesting.
My parents recently visited and we went to the science museum. Did this not “count“?
Our co-op has field trips planned for the entire year, should we not go because that trip to the state supreme court might interfere with a math page?
I sure hope not. Homeschooling allows us to enjoy all the wonderful opportunities that learning outside an institution offers.
Bad Interruptions to Your Homeschool Plans
Fall days can be a wonderful diversion to your mundane plans, but what about the stomach virus that hits the entire family over the course of a month?
We had that two years ago, and for almost six weeks the stomach bug leisurely made its way through all six of my children. Some of them twice!
Let’s just say there were a lot of movies.
However, a stomach bug might be easy compared to other interruptions to that beautiful color-coded plan.
Severe illness or death of a family member, moving across the country, job changes, deployment, or other significant life changes, the list could go on. Now, these aren’t common interruptions, but they can occur.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan at all, but perhaps you shouldn’t be so wedded to your homeschool plans that you cause yourself even more stress if you encounter a major life event.
The Ugly Side of an Interrupted Plan
Now, here’s where I’m going to hopefully make you think.
I’ve been the mom who wanted the perfectly synchronized plan that covered history chronologically while also having our read aloud follow the theme.
I wanted an artist study and composer study to match the timeline.
And of course, it should perfectly fill 36 weeks, with the appropriate number of breaks.
I wanted it to be in a beautiful excel spreadsheet with flawlessly spaced rows and columns. Or perhaps a lovely planner where I could also organize a meal plan.
Maybe it’s just me, but this ideal is a recipe for disaster.
I can never live up to my perfectionism, and it leads to self-doubt and burnout. Even if I constructed a flawless plan that met every one of my desires for the perfect homeschool, life happens, the good and the bad.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘I can never live up to my perfectionism, and it leads to self-doubt and burnout. Even if I constructed a flawless plan that met every one of my desires for the perfect #homeschool, life happens, the good and the bad.’ – @BethanyIshee #readysethomeschool #allthehomeschoolthings” quote=”I can never live up to my perfectionism, and it leads to self-doubt and burnout. Even if I constructed a flawless plan that met every one of my desires for the perfect homeschool, life happens, the good and the bad.”]
Here’s the thing, I have perfectionist tendencies, but the world and my family don’t always play along. Does this make me a failure? No, but if I carve that homeschool plan in stone, I can sure feel like one.
How does my inner voice telling me what a failure I am help my children and their learning? It doesn’t.
A Realistic Homeschool Plan
So, do I not plan at all? No, I create a plan that lets life do the educating.
I don’t see those field trips and beautiful days at the park with friends as interruptions, I see them as pieces of an educating life.
We enjoy the field trip to the zoo, and then we watch a documentary. We go to the park and observe the change of seasons and all the insects we find. We read the book, and I don’t worry that it isn’t in chronological order.
I’ll think about where we are in various skills, but I don’t let them take over our lives.
My biggest goal in home educating my children is that they see learning as a natural part of life, not something you do between 8 and 2 with the required workbooks.
Keeping that homeschool planning in check allows me to embrace learning wherever and whenever we find it.
Bethany is the mom of six always homeschooled children who one day realized she’d lost herself in the process, probably under a pile of laundry. Her eclectic style of homeschooling draws upon Classical to Unschooling and everything in between. While homeschooling her children and writing about learning outside of school, she tries to find time to read a book, drink coffee, and pay the bills. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.
If you enjoyed this post, please check out the other posts in this series!