Homeschool planning can be exciting and fun, especially when you first start your homeschool journey. It’s been said, after all, “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” While planning in a way that suits your learning and teaching style and your family’s personalities can be helpful, it should not enslave you. I’ve experienced times in our homeschool that were really overwhelming and left me feeling defeated, primarily because I had allowed the “open-and-go” plans to become the boss of me! I have doubted my ability to homeschool numerous times over the years simply because I thought I had to measure my homeschool against others. Not the case!
Plans can serve as a helpful tool, a friendly guide, but that’s it. If we stray from the original plan, we haven’t failed. If you’re in a place where you need a little less overwhelm in your homeschool, or something with the plan just isn’t working anymore, it may be time to change things up a little.
HOW TO SIMPLIFY YOUR HOMESCHOOL PLANNING:
REVERSE PLANNING –
For the most part, we tend to work hard to plan ahead for our school days and studies. We write out every detail and page number of what needs to happen within a given week or day. Some of us have personalities that prefer an hour-by-hour plan. While I actually do prefer outlining our homeschool schedule in advance, I have become more of a routine person over the years. We may not always start at the same time each morning, but we go through the same daily rhythm throughout the day. This helps me and my children. I no longer feel like a failure when things don’t get completed in the allotted time.
Reverse planning has been perfect for me. I keep a birds-eye view of what we need to do weekly, but I write down what we accomplish daily AFTER we accomplish it! This has been a total game changer for us! Not only can I see what has been accomplished and where we need to go next, but I also have a head start on record keeping.
NOTEBOOK JOURNALING –
If you would like to go even more minimalistic when it comes to reverse planning, you could just write down your plans or daily/weekly accomplishments in a spiral notebook. You can write a short list for each child and what he/she needs to do every day, or you can leave it blank and fill it in at the end of each day.
COMBINE SUBJECTS –
Sometimes all that’s needed is a tweak in the amount of subjects you have to teach or guide a student through in a week. For us, too many individual subjects leads to burnout. I have 8 children, with 7 of them being taught at some level in our homeschool. If I had to teach each individual subjects to 7 students, I would lose my mind. One of the best decisions I made as a new homeschool mom was to combine a few subjects and teach my children at the same time. We start our day with Morning Time, and then we do Science and History together. Depending on the ages of your children, you could even combine Math or Language Arts with a couple students. Just make sure to take any placement tests available with your intended curriculum so you know if this makes sense to do.
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HAVE OLDER KIDS KEEP THEIR OWN NOTEBOOK –
This may not work if you only have younger children. As my children have grown, I have made it a point to instill more and more independence in them. This is not an easy habit to form, but it is worth the time it takes. Homeschooling teens is another ballgame altogether, and I have really enjoyed it. One of my kids writes her own lists and checks things off, while the other would like to have a ready-made list to check off when he’s done with his work. They can add notes in where needed and then I just glance to make sure all is well at the end of the day. This has helped them grow in time management and is helping them to own their education.
PHOTO DOCUMENT –
As much as I would love to say that my phone is always put away during homeschool hours, the reality is that it is often within reach. Since we utilize our phones so much these days, why not jot some notes in the pictures we take of our kids? I’ve started this and find it SO helpful! I naturally take pictures of what we do in our homeschool throughout the week, whether for memories or to share. Then I go back and mark the picture with what we did and the subjects it covered. Eventually, I would love to print them out and keep them in a special album to document each school year. How special that would be!
I hope these ideas provide some encouragement to you in your homeschool journey. I can bet you are accomplishing far more than you think in your homeschool, even if you veer off the original plan. I would love to have your join our community below, where you can gain even more encouragement and tips in your journey.
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