I’m starting a new blog series here on Only Passionate Curiosity. The idea is that you can send in any question you like to “Ask a Homeschool Mom” and I’ll do my best to get it answered for you. Once a week, I’ll feature a question y’all have sent in.
This week our question is:
“Do you really have to spend days and days planning out what you will teach?”
And the short answer is: “Nope, you don’t have to.”
But here’s the thing. You do hear me talking a lot about planning. I plan out my curriculum for the year in one week over the summer. I spend time most weekends planning out our week. I have printed master schedules, and I use an online scheduling program to keep track of my week.
And I do think *I* have to.
Not all homeschoolers will. But I’m a hot mess without a schedule and a routine. I’m easily overwhelmed, and more easily distracted. I sleep in too late, and I forget too much. Basically, I’m your run-of-the-mill, tired, mother of young children. I am trying to do so much in the day, that there just isn’t time for everything. Housework frequently distracts me, because the house is never clean. And I have trouble focusing in the mess, which is ironic, because it’s always messy.
If I don’t have a list of schoolwork to do each day, it just doesn’t get done. There is too much else to do. It’s probably partly a personality flaw- I just can’t stay focused without a list. I’m also very type A and like to know where I am going with our curriculum and how long it is going to take me to get there. I use a lot of different programs in our home, and some aren’t as easy and “open and go” as I would like, so I take the time each year to make them work for me.
My schedule holds me accountable. My weekly planner keeps me on track, and all of it combined eases my stress, and helps me feel like I am in control of my messy, wonderful, hectic life.
You may be a totally different type of homeschooler. There are lots of ways to keep on top of your child’s needs and schedule.
When I only had one kiddo needing schooled, and the Littles were lower maintenance, I used a super fancy, high-tech sticky note system. In each book/teachers manual, I put a sticky note on whatever lesson we were on. When we finished the day’s lesson, I moved the sticky note.
Some programs, especially the all-in-one type boxed programs come with all the scheduling and pacing done for you, so you just open and go, and don’t have to plan a thing. Other curriculum may need extra organization or planning in order to make them work for you.
Some people just have a general idea of what they want to do each day, and how long they want to take. They set a timer for 30 minutes, or what have you, for math, and then when the timer beeps, they close the book and are done, no matter where they are.
Some homeschoolers are laid back, and don’t worry about pacing, and just do what they do. I envy them sometimes for their laid back nature! You may not feel the need to plan anything!
There really just isn’t any one way to homeschool, and how you schedule and plan depends on your personality type, and the curriculum you choose. If you’d like help scheduling and planning your curriculum, you can see how we do things, and use our step by step tutorial featured in our Scheduling 101 series.
Do you have a homeschooling question for us? It doesn’t matter if you’re considering homeschooling, are currently homeschooling, or are just curious about the lifestyle. We’d be happy to feature your question here. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or ask on our Facebook Page.