Last week, I was sitting in the hallway on a cold hard metal chair, while Bug danced his little heart out in the next room. Mr. Man was glued to the iPad because it was the only way to keep him sitting politely and I was just done for the day. Little Miss had also reached her limit, and was climbing all over everyone and everything. I pulled my planner out of my bag to make some notes…. and thought of you guys.
A few months ago, I ran a series on Homeschool Scheduling and planning that has become hugely popular. Y’all have re-pinned it like crazy, and today, It’s getting the most hits on this page. In that post, I reminded my lovely readers to stay flexible, and make that weekly plan in small chunks using your pacing guide as a reference. But I don’t know if I showed you what that actually looked like.
One of my wonderful readers left this comment on the series, and I really want to make sure that you guys see it.
Alicia from the Magic and the Mayhem said:
“This looks really helpful and informative for HSers who work best with detailed planning!
I am always amazed at HS moms who do so much planning. If I had started off HSing all those years ago thinking I had to do detailed planning, I probably would have felt like a failure and given up and put my kids in school. We would probably horrify structured HS families with how unstructured we are but it works so well for us and the kids have retained their love of learning and of HSing.
I thought I’d put that out there for any newbies who felt overwhelmed at the prospect of detailed planning, just so they knew you don’t *have* to if it’s not how you work best. “
Alicia is so right- too much detailed planning CAN be overwhelming. Now that we are a couple weeks into our school year, I want you to see my planner- and I want you to see how I make it work for me, the kind of person who doesn’t like it when my planner tells me what to do.
But what I don’t know when I sit down on Sunday are the little things. Is math going to come easy this week, or is there a topic that will need extra work? Will one of the kiddos be ill and need extra attention? Will something else come up to throw us off track?
This last week was one where things came up. As we do our lessons, I write them down in pen. If we do it as I planned it, I simply trace over my words. But some days, we are going to need an extra 20 minutes to practice making 10. In that case, I just write down what we did in pen, and leave the pencil note there.
For example, if on Monday, I had wanted to do challenging word problems 5 and 6, but only did 5- I would write the 5 in pen, and leave the 6 there in pencil. On Tuesday, I had written down that I wanted to do 7-8. Instead we did 6 and 7, so I wrote 6 and 7 in pen, erased 6 from Monday, and left the 8 there in pencil on Tuesday’s list.
Later in the week, Mr. Man and I went on a nature walk. I had planned for it to take a short amount of time, but 20 minutes turned into an hour before we knew it. The weather was beautiful, and none of us wanted to come inside. So we didn’t. It meant I didn’t get to some of our well intentioned plans, but we learned SO much, and the kids were just happy to be outside.
If you look at my planner from last week (see the picture above!) you’ll see it has more pencil writing then pen. I got a lot “less” done than I had planned on. But some of those things I wrote down in pen were unexpected, wonderful adventures. The awesome thing is, I have a wonderful list of things we DID accomplish, and the remaining pencil things will either be crossed off as unimportant, or will be written down again on this week’s planner so I can give it another go.
The point is that YOU are the boss of that planner. Things change. Use it as a tool to document your successes, and don’t set yourself up for feeling like you failed.
Write in pencil. It has an eraser. Be comfortable using it when the unexpected, more important plans come along (or, when you really need to lay in bed and tell the kids to watch Magic School Bus).