School has been going steady for weeks now. We’re in a groove. Or, are we? I had a plan when we started. Then life happened, like it always does. Our schedules got busy. We may have added in more activities than we should have. So, I ditched our homeschool plan. And ditching our homeschool plan has been the best thing for our homeschool yet.
I’ve accepted the label of “relaxed homeschooler”. But, some days it’s easier for me to accept than others. I’m not much of a box checker these days, but I can’t help but count the number of lessons we have in some of our curriculum and wonder if we’re going to get done with it all this year.
I started the year off with hopes of completing a certain amount of books. I also hoped to add in elective subjects that we haven’t been able to cover yet. All of this, complete with my first school year as a part-time blogger (who am I kidding, this is a full time job!) and I may have over-planned.
Just call me an over-planner
Hi, my name is Christine and I am an over-planner. “Hi, Christine!” Over the relaxed days of summer or a particularly slow week I get to thinking we can totally cover 18 subjects and 5 extracurricular activities at once. Until we can’t. Because as much as I’d like to be super mom, I’m certainly not. I don’t have the patience for jugging it all and I definitely don’t have the time.
Sometimes I think our expectations of what we can actually do in a day and what the reality is are two totally different things. I don’t want my kids to be locked in a room for eight hours a day doing school work. I want them to have opportunities to be kids. I want them to be outside playing. I want to be able to take them to the park, to the beach, and on amazing field trips. I want them out in the world.
Ditch that homeschool plan
All of this means that we needed to ditch our homeschool plan. Yes, sometimes that’s hard to do, but sometimes it’s totally necessary.
As homeschoolers, we’re constantly growing and changing our school as our kids grow and change. What worked for us last year normally doesn’t work for us the same way this year. That’s one reason behind having to ditch our homeschool plan.
I’ve also realized the value in real life experiences more and more. Getting out and seeing our world, whether through traveling or field trips, has made quite the impact on my kids. They retain so much more through being hands on in the world than they ever could through just a book.
Relax your homeschool plan
At the same time, I’m not afraid to have just a book be our curriculum. I had grand plans of creating a Thanksgiving unit study. I bought our What Was the First Thanksgiving book, had all kinds of ideas, but then I saw my to-do list and realized that this just isn’t going to happen this year.
But, sometimes just reading a book is all you need. I had to ditch my homeschool plan of this amazing unit study to realize that my kids are going to learn through this book, and usually come up with their own learning ideas when I give them the freedom to do so (usually through a made up drawing or craft about what we read- and it works. They don’t need my grand plans. They can make up their own). I guess relaxed homeschooling can sometimes mean to relax on your plans, too.
Make your lack of plans work for you
Simply put, you don’t need some elaborate, drawn out homeschool plan for your kids to learn, and learn things well. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have our go-to curriculum that I still make them sit down with. It just means that if we have to skip it, shorten our days, or double up on our days, that I’m not afraid to make our plans change to fit our life style and allow outside learning opportunities happen.
Don’t be afraid to ditch your homeschool plan. Don’t be afraid to let learning be through a field trip instead of a book, or just a book instead of an entire lesson. It’s amazing what kids can retain from simple stories and events when we’re not forcing them to cross their t’s and dot their i’s in the way our planner recommends.
Do you have the courage to ditch your homeschool plan? Share your stories with me in my online homeschool group or in the comments below!