One of the most difficult tasks to accomplish with homeschooling is planning your schedule. We sit down a month or so before we are ready to begin school and we outline everything we want to accomplish. Then we plan out what we are going to accomplish each day of every week. We are going to get up and start school by 8 a.m. each day and finish by noon. Everything looks perfect. This is going to be the best year ever!
As the first week approaches 2 of my children come down with colds, church has asked me to substitute teach for the next month and I don’t have any lesson plans. My son decides he wants to join cub scouts, our local 4-H club starts up a new archery club that my kids want to join, and I find out that our co-op has 2 new classes in which we want to participate. I contemplate it for a moment, and determine that I will start our official school next week so I can begin to fit everything in and nurse my children back to health. Sometime during this week, I will sit down and adjust our schedule. This week delay turns into two. Before I know it, I am stressed and everything seems like drudgery.
Any of this ring true for you?
Believe it or not, you don’t have to let a setback such as the storyline above put the Kybosh on your schedule. Let’s start at the beginning. When you are making your schedule, you have to build in flexibility from the very start. You are going to have days and/or events that pop up unexpectedly. Build in some extra time by only planning lessons for 3-4 days per week, but stretching them over five days when possible. Another option is to build in an extra week into your over all schedule. If you work on a unit for five weeks, allow yourself six weeks so you have a few days to overcome some of life’s unexpected blunders.
Secondly, consider your overall plan. What are your goals? Do you want your children to know everything there is to know about simple machines? Perhaps you would like them to be detailed in their knowledge of the subject, but if life happens, you can refer to a list that will state your goals in order of priority. Consider yourself on the right path if you accomplish 3-5 of those goals with excellence. This does not mean you should strive for mediocrity, by any means. The more important focus is that your children are learning what is most important. Life happens and priorities need to be in place to allow for the ebb and flow of life. For example, if your child tires of simple machines, wrap up the study early and earmark the area to return to in small segments between other units. This is where your flexibility really comes in to play. If your child is not attending to the study well, breaking it up and placing it between other more interesting studies may be a key for you accomplishing all your goals, just in a different time frame than you originally planned.
You are not perfect. Say this out loud. Say it more audibly so everyone in the room can hear you. We all plan more than we will ever accomplish with our children. Do not let your focus on academics override other issues such as character, coping skills, and conflict resolution for example. If you ask any homeschool mom if she accomplishes every teaching assignment she originally planned with any given subject, the answer will be no. Many moms prefer to plan their entire year in advance, while others may plan by the quarter, month, or even semester. While planning the entire year does have its benefits, it can also put an undue stress on a mom when life gets her off track for a bit. Remember why you are homeschooling. If life hits you broadside, take a day or two to swallow and digest, before moving forward with the rest of your plan. Allow for check points throughout the year, so you can evaluate and adjust your schedule accordingly. No schedule is written in stone.
With anything you do, the number one best method to help with your scheduling issues is to take it to God in prayer. I often find myself asking Him to remind me of His desire for my life, the lives of my children, and my role as the primary educator. I often ask the silliest requests pertaining to schedule adjustment, but in addition I ask for correct motivation and proper attitude when I react to setbacks. This not only allows God to be in the driver’s seat, but it sets an excellent example to your children about scheduling in their own lives. Cutting back on activities outside of the home isn’t such a hardship when your children see that you are doing the same as well. Making scheduling a priority is important for all children to see. That may require you turning off all phones, screens, and other digital devices for a certain amount of time each day or it may require that one evening per week you will need to incorporate a music lesson, when you get behind for some reason. Isn’t this one of the reasons you chose to homeschool?
Lastly, I want to remind you to be honest with yourself about your family’s personality traits. Do not start an expensive time intensive science curriculum if your children are not overly interested in science and you aren’t either. You can spend the money more wisely by saving it, or choosing another curriculum that your family may enjoy. Try a less intense curriculum and supplement with easy and simple hands on activities. There are many tricks to scheduling, but if the method doesn’t fit your style, it will never be as effective as it could be.
If you enjoyed this article it was written by Leslie Valeska Her family operates Fresh Gear Solutions, LLC. She is the founder and director of Simple Journey Ministries which was established to encourage, inspire, and support women on their journey to Godly womanhood. Leslie is also employed as a vintage seamstress by Vintage Vixen.
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