Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Please Can I Plan Now?!

Those who know me personally know how much I love order and organization. Thus, I simply love homeschool curriculum planning season. And yet, this year, I have had more urgent responsibilities to address first. I feel as if the season is almost over, and I am just about to begin.

These are the things I cannot wait to do next…

1.       Read all the good stuff. --- I always try to go back and read something to re-center my homeschooling compass before I begin planning. It’s premature to start looking at curriculum until I remember things like why I homeschool, my beliefs about homeschooling, and encouraging words from more seasoned homeschoolers. My all-time favorites are: Sarah Mackenzie’s Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace, Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss, Seasons of a Mother’s Heart by Sally Clarkson, and Susan Schaeffer Macaulay's For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School.

2.       Print all the pretty things. --- I love using Pam Barnhill’s Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace guide and forms. They’re the perfect mix of beautiful and orderly. And I recently discovered which is an online planning and tracking system, so I look forward to using this incredible resources this year to prepare for my high school record keeping needs. I also like the free forms at the Homeschool Connections resource page.

3.       Think about each of my kids individually. --- I find that I rarely take the time to consider each child’s gifts and challenges. Using a tool such as my Prayerfully Reflecting on Last Year helps force me to remember that each of my children is a unique person of dignity created in the image and likeness of God. It’s too easy to repeat my plans for each child, but it’s essential that I assess whether I need to tweak existing plans for the educational needs of the next child at that grade level.

4.       Be honest with myself. --- I can read all the good stuff, but I need to reflect on how to implement those ideals within the limitations of our family. I can print a ton of great forms, but unless those forms have a realistic amount of white space and flexibility, I know I will fail. And, I can think about the needs of each child, but sometimes the needs of one child trump the needs of another for a season. Most importantly, I am human and have my own weaknesses. If I do not set boundaries for my own needs, we will not get through one week of school without a complete toddler meltdown…from me.

5.       Make booklists. --- I get giddy when I think about all. the. books! When I did a cursory look of my homeschooling materials before I packed them into boxes for our move, I was dismayed to see that I have most of the books I will need for next school year. I will have to work very hard to plan to use the materials I know work for us instead of buying all. the. new. books! But there will still be some consumables to buy and things for the first grader that I didn’t save from the older children, and I will have to make a list of library books to put on hold throughout the year, and etc…

6.       Pray. --- There’s nothing better for my salvation than a situation where it is inexcusable to pray, and planning a year of education for my four children demands prayer. So I will be taking hard stops at each planning step to check in with God. It’s difficult for me to sit down for a few moments, but I look forward to the motivation to just do it.

Then, I will Prayerfully Plan for Next Year. If you haven’t yet done that for your family, please let me know, so I feel like I’m not behind the curve as much? Thanks! Here we go!