Learning to Let Go of Your Homeschool Plan

 

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I began this year anew. I spent the summer embarking on a new planning method for our year. One where everything was planned out ahead of time over 36 weeks and placed into file folders. As I read about doing this from others who had pioneered it before me, there was one piece of the puzzle I knew would be both part of the key to the plans success, as well as the hardest part for me.

“I was tired of always finishing math in August instead of May, and it dawned on me one day that we always fall behind because of all of the extra unexpected things in life that take over like sick days, etc…

In the school system, if one person gets sick, the teacher doesn’t stop teaching while that child is missing. They keep on going and the child either skips the work, or does only the important parts (even if just orally).
So, I decided to split up all of our work into 36 weeks, and told myself that if the week got away from me, we would just keep on going the next week, by either throwing out the work we missed or doing it quickly out loud. This was crazy, but worked so well for us. You see, it’s ok to miss a math sheet here and there throughout the year. There’s enough review etc, that it’s not a big deal… But it IS a big deal if you miss the last big chunk of your book. This way of doing things helped me to finish the whole year by May with lots of breaks throughout.

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We started out the year with our 36 weeks all planned out, and everything moved along so much more smoothly this way! Science was even getting done as I had a little note card of supplies needed, handy for each week. Then a week would pop up where I forgot to get the supplies and wasn’t heading out at all where we could stop and pick them up. While breathing deeply, I took that science experiment out and let it go. Guess what? We all survived and still learned each concept! Sometimes we shift things to an evening, weekend, or into the next week, and others I truly walk away from.

Onward and upward through the year….we enter April and Spring Break. I spent two weeks reflecting on how things were going, and realized I was failing at letting go, at least in the big ways.

We had been doing a grammar program which had become drudgery for all of us. It caused stress and frustration for all. Did I let it go? Nope. While science had been great for awhile, the monotony of the curriculum got to us and it was no longer fun. Did I let it go? Nope. Instead we entered Spring Break mentally exhausted and at least partly unhappy with each other.

Not what I had envisioned or wanted for our homeschool. You’d think after 6 years I would have all (or at least a lot) of the answers, but I don’t. We ebb and flow as moods, seasons,…the weather changes, oh, and hormones rage! 😉 Then somewhere along the way I lost sight of what matters most, from our family ties, to the love and joy of learning.

Now for the learning part! After realizing things weren’t working, and that something had to give…..I learned to let go! We came home and dropped the formal grammar for the rest of the year, and dropped the science curriculum too! What we gained was a whole lot of outdoor timeart time, learning time, and together time because we picked up doing nature studies in place of the things we dropped.

I am all about schedules and checklists, dotting i’s and crossing t’s and somewhere in there I forgot about the joy of learning. There are many ways to learn, and while I believe in a set plan, I also believe you have to know when something is doing more harm than good. Homeschooling isn’t the easiest path, it is not the path of least resistance, and the road map for it isn’t very clear. We need to trust ourselves, our will for our children, knowing we have their best interests at heart and that one way isn’t the only way.

Realizing things weren’t working out like we wanted them to, and me learning to let go of those things has opened another door for us. There is so much to be seen and explored in our own backyards, streets, neighborhoods, parks, etc. We are learning so much about plants, animals, and the weather, as well as poetry and art. We find poems, or write poems relating to the world we are exploring; take photos of the things around us; search books and the Internet to find out what those things are; and we are seeking tutorials to learn to draw – draw flowers, tress, and animals.

So for now, I let go. In the coming year we will spring into action with a new plan for formal grammar, and a less structured, more hands on/interactive plan for science. Until then we are on a slightly different path, somewhere in the knee deep Indian Grass (ok more like over our heads deep) next to the sidewalk, and life is good here.

We need to remember that there is no one right way, no magical formula for raising/teaching our children. Love them first, enjoy them second, then grow, live, and learn with them for a lifetime!

Planning/Filing/Crate System Series

Be sure to check out all the articles in this Planning/Filing/Crate System Series!