Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Planning our Upcoming Homeschool Year

The first year that we homeschooled, I had spent quite a bit of time finding material and printing and bookmarking lessons and such off the computer. I carefully gathered books and composed a list for library trips. With all this planning and work that I did, our first year was a bit discombobulated to say the least. The one thing that I forgot to do was to organize all of this material into some semblance of order. I know that there are many out there that don't think education should have scheduling and order. That may work for their home, but it will not work in mine. First, my children like having a schedule and they like order. They know what to expect. Second, I like order and schedules as I tend to get distracted easily and try to do to many things at one time. Having a schedule reigns me in and keeps me from overwhelming myself and my children. Thirdly, we have too much to do to fly blind. So that first year I didn't have a schedule or a plan. All I had was a bunch of great material. Oh boy, that first year was rough and so much time was wasted in trying to decide what to use and where to go next. I wasted so much time each day and each week looking for what I knew I had either printed or bookmarked. We made it through that year and my daughter did gain some knowledge, however I had no desire to repeat the performance. So the next summer I spent 2 weeks out of the summer with my major project being to organize the school year and gather our materials. The following years have gone much more smoothly without taking up much of my daily time. For anyone following an eclectic school of thought or a Charlotte Mason school of thought in their homeschooling I highly encourage taking some time to organize your schooling material and to have a plan. Without planning, the year seems to be discombobulate and does not flow smoothly. I believe that these disruption of trying to figure out what I wanted to do next or where I wanted to go with my child's learning take away from the value of the education. So the best thing that I do each year for our homeschool is to plan it. Our schedule and plan is not set in stone, but it is a guide that keeps us on a smooth track with very little disturbance. I feel that planning is essential to a healthy educational environment, just as some sort of planning is essential to run a home well or a business well. Nothing has ever been a successful venture without planning. For our planning we use a simple calendar in which we have materials that we wish to use that month and the resources from which to draw. Each day is planned with what we wish to do that day. Not every subject is covered everyday. Things like Shakespeare and Plutarch are only done once a week, but because of our calendar I know which day of the week we are planning to cover that material. At the close of each school session we look to the next day on the calendar make any adjustments that need to be made and lay out our materials for the next day. Having a plan also allows my daughter and I to plan our intense schoolwork in which she needs to focus more and I need to devote my attention to her around my toddler's naptime. This gives us a good 2-3 hours of one on one time in which we are not interrupted by a busy and precocious toddler. Planning is essential to a well run educational environment. I encourage you all to spend a little time thinking about how you want your school year to run and make a plan.

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