I have a homeschool confession to make. It may be a shocker, but it is one I must share. You ready? Here it goes…..I don’t plan ahead in our homeschool. Yes, I’m serious. I have a
Well Planned Day Planner-that I LOVE ( I broke up with the Well Planned Day, see why here) . I schedule our Homeschool day. I have a routine. I record grades. But….I don’t plan ahead.
On Monday, I have no clue what we are going to be learning about on Wednesday. I don’t know where we will be at the end of October, and in May I just hope were finishing our schoolbooks. Here’s another shocker….if we don’t, well we will just close them and start where we left off the next year. I don’t plan ahead for when we are taking Christmas break, and I have no clue when our last day of school will be….Spring break will come sometime in the spring.
So, what do I do instead of plan ahead?
I write down what we complete.
At the end of the day when I am grading papers, I write in what the kids did each day in my Well Planned Day Planner. When I am reading the History lesson, I write down what pages we read. If we do a craft, you guessed it. I write it down. They watch a science video, write it down. This keeps a record of what we did, and I don’t have to plan ahead.
I open up the book where we left off.
When we are done reading Science for the day, I close the book and start where we left off the next day. The kids know that every day they do a Math lesson. I don’t need to write this down for them. It’s simple; you open the book and do the next lesson. Same goes for grammar and spelling. We keep an index card inside their school boxes that has their school schedule in it. We also keep it posted on our wall. They know what to do each day, without me planning ahead.
I divide the books up into two sections.
I have a roundabout idea of where we need to be in our core subjects before we take Christmas break. I know that at the end of the year I want to be done with Science, and finish our Mystery of History book. If we don’t meet that half way point by Christmas, we take break anyway and hope to make it up by the end of the year
I let them work at their own pace
Grammar and Math? I honestly don’t mind if they don’t finish the 2nd grade book in 2nd grade. If they hit a wall in the middle of the year, it is okay to slow down and work on the basics. If I had this all planned out in advance, my planner would be a big pile of white out.
If we want to take a day off of History, it is okay, because it is not “penciled in” on our planner. I am the kind of person that stresses out over a to-do list. To me, a planner full of lessons would stress me out. I wouldn’t be able to stop and watch an extra video on killer whales, or go on that last minute field trip to the museum because it wasn’t planned ahead. So, I breathe. I open the book to the next chapter, I let the kids work at their own pace, and we stick to our routine. This works for us. So, the next time I see you in real life and you tell me how planned out your school year is, I may smile and nod my head. If you ask me how to use the
Well Planned Day Planner to actually PLAN ahead I may mumble a few words about just writing it down as you go, because in our homeschool, we are flying by the seat of our pants 😉 and we like it that way!
Do you have a homeschool confession to share?
- Why I broke up with Well Planned Day
- How to Schedule your Homeschool Day
- Homeschooling out of Negligence
Want to plan like I do? Here are the resources I use!
You are so welcome!! Everyone needs to work to their own strengths and at their own ability. I’m just not a planner when it comes to homeschooling, and that is okay! Tell yourself that too 🙂 🙂
Misty Lyon says
I have felt so disorganized because I haven’t used a planner in my homeschool and felt I was lacking being a good homeschool mom. And I thought I was the only one that didn’t plan ahead. I know what books and resources I want to use. Each school day morning I usually get the books we are using and if I find we could expand research I will look for information or videos pertaining to the subject and write it all down and we use it during the school time. I never know how our days will go. Sometimes I don’t feel well or we have to go somewhere unexpected or whatever else. I’m so glad that you shared about yourself because I feel I’m not failing and someone else is doing something similar to what I am.
Lynn N says
Me too! But we don’t take specific breaks. We do school year-round so I don’t have to stress when a day doesn’t work out. We get so much more done by eliminating the stress. We have special needs to “justify” being so flexible, but he amazes people who get to know him. At 9 he has come so much further than anyone expected. (I am shooting for the trend to continue so that by 25 he can function without me.)
Isn’t it nice to know you’re not alone!
Me too! I thought I was the crazy one who didn’t plan out the year. We just do the next chapter/page/lesson. ‘Cuz some days we’re on the ball and some days we’re not. 😄
Whew!!! Me, too! Me, too! This was the best change I ever made in our homeschooling career! Each week, I print out a chart for each child with their basic school subjects and *suggested* “electives.” As they work each day, they full in that subject’s box with what they did. Can’t get easier than that, and the have a no-fuss record of their school year.
Thank you Mia!
Mia White says
Wow, this is freeing. I do the same but thought I was the only one! And I LOVE your terrific idea of using a planner to instead document was you DO do– I think I’m going to adopt that practice. So good!
Ashley K says
I loved reading this, helps to know I am NOT the only one!
That’s awesome! I think a more relaxed approach is the way to go. Now, when I started I would have DIED at that idea, but time has shown me what works best for our family.
Sharon Russo says
This is how we school, also. Our first couple of years, I planned a week at a time. After that, I would just pick out the books I thought we should work on. When people ask what curriculum we use, I tell them, none because we are running by the seat of our pants. And we both are having fun and learning together.
Our Worldwide Classroom says
Love love love this! That’s us too. I might plan for the odd holiday break but that’s about it! It is freeing. I must write post about this now too, thanks for the encouragement.
Yes! Homeschooling is all about freedom 🙂 Love that!
Christina @There's Just One Mommy says
Us too! So happy to hear I’m not the only one that doesn’t plan weeks or even days in advance. We go day by day. I have a phonics curriculum that we just do the next lesson when we master the one we are on. If we skip a day or two, it’s okay. The rest of it I come up with on my own. I love the freedom of being able to spend more time on something if we need it or to skip things the kids already know.
Thank you for stopping by! Good luck this school year 🙂
Thank you for stopping by! And for your nice comments 🙂
Our Home Of Many Blessings says
Have to join the bandwagon here and say…Whew! I am not the only one!!! I do the same thing.I am a very organized person but i tend to follow my children and their likes and intrests.They will learn without everything they do wrote down in planned ahead time slots!! I have a master list of our themed units and i pick and choose then write down what we did that day.I always make sure that i have the material needed of course but other then that it is way more relaxed and I enjoy it which makes our days go way smoother!! Fun to look forward to also.Thank you for this brave post! We homeschoolers need to be more real with each other as to help each other!!
Misty, I love this! I start off our homeschool year with a bang but then end up doing a version of your method. I just plan on going with it this year! Thx for sharing😊
Sounds like an interesting way to do things. Relaxed is the best way to teach and the best way to learn anyway so yeah for you for finding the relaxed way for you!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist
Thank you Janelle!
Janelle Knutson says
I just love this! I know a lot of weary homeschool moms need to read this! I will be linking to this on my blog.
Oh no, you are SO NOT alone!! I have always wanted to try unit studies for a year, but haven’t been brave enough to take the plunge. It sounds like you have a great system!
Thank goodness I’m not the only one who doesn’t plan ahead! We don’t use boxed curriculum, but we have a basic daily schedule and I have a master list of the things each child should master this year. I then go hunting for resources that I think will appeal to each child’s learning style in each core subject based on the master list items that still need work. We do short unit studies together (1-2 weeks), alternating between what we need to learn and what we want to learn. I file away everything we do during each week with notes on non-paper activities.
Exactly! To me it is so much more stress to have it down on paper and NOT accomplish it. Thanks for sharing that I’m not alone!
Sarah @ My Joy-Filled Life says
I don’t really plan either. I pretty much just copy or print out the table of contents of each book/curriculum and cross off things as we go. It would stress me out way too much if I planned everything out – the stress of actually doing it (the planning), the stress of trying to complete it (following my the schedule I made), and the stress of NOT accomplishing everything I had planned.
I know! The first time I shared the post I got some hater comments, I was like, really? This isn’t that bad…. Thanks for the having my back!! lol 🙂
Great post! I follow a very similar method myself – but never even realized it was shocking. Coming from a family of professional educators, I learned from them that 1) most planning time is wasted time and 2) the reason you plan a whole year is so that your class will mesh seamlessly with classes planned & taught by others. If that’s not a consideration – then long term planning is not needed (and, in fact, impedes actual progress).
Angela @ Envision Blissfulness says
I applaud you for taking it easy on your homeschooling schedule! I had considered homeschooling my children, but just couldn’t take the leap. That’s great that you are doing what is best for your family!!
I love this! I homeschool our crew, and have definitely learned a loose plan is always best.. for us.
Exactly! I like being more relaxed. Although, I was NOT like that 5 years ago. Lol!
Stacie Lewin says
I am the same way. It has been to busy for me to sit and plan things out. In my head I know what we are going to do. Once we complete them I write them down. I also sometimes plan it that morning and print everything up. That way I know what we need to accomplish. For me it is easier that way. It’s nice to go at the kids pace instead of pushing them through things. I can work on things if we need to work on them longer.
I’m beginning to learn that the more I plan, the more stress I create for myself. Planning is overrated. 😉
Thank you Jenna! I am so glad you were able to get something out of it .Good luck this year!!
As a new homeschooler that idea is so liberating for me. I planned ahead all summer and a couple things came up this fall and I had to redo my whole schedule. I love this idea
Amen!! They have changed so much now in regards to Early Childhood Education. I feel bad for new teachers, and those teachers who honestly are “trapped” in the public school system. Thanks for stopping by!
When I studied Early Childhood Education in college we were told this is how you are SUPPOSED to teach! Follow the child! Teach to their developmental level and individual needs. Don’t plan more than a day ahead so you wll know your students’ current needs and interests. Somehow it all gets thrown out the window when kids get to elementary school. It’s how I taught and how I homeschool my own. Homeschooled students do so well because they have great parents like you who follow their hearts and instincts!
You are so welcome!! THank you for your kind words 🙂 And yes you are definitely NOT alone!
Greatest post I’ve ever read! This is how we do it and I absolutely love it. Our home is fun and encourages learning without the rules of school. Thank you for your honestly and letting me see that I am not alone.
Meg F says
This is exactly how it works with my younger ones! I do plan out about 1-2 weeks with my older ones (8th and 11th) – they work more independently, and if it’s not “assigned,” they “forget” they had math to do. But where we’ll be, long term? I don’t know. It’s all part of the journey!
this is similar to what I do…. nice to hear. I think we all need to just be honest about what works for us and there is not right or wrong way as long as learning is happening.:)
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says
I do the exact same thing. I thought I was the only one. 🙂
Thanks for the glimpse into your philosophy! We do something very similar, except I do make up a weekly to-do list in advance and put it up on a big dry-erase board, breaking it down by daily tasks (devotions, guitar practice, math, etc.) and things that can be done at any time but should be completed by week’s end (books to read, one art lesson, and so on). In the right upper corner, I post all our outside lessons and field trips for the week, so Ds can see what’s coming and plan around those events. Anything we don’t get to off the weekly items, I just move to the next week instead of stressing so much about it, because there are not enough hours in the day for all the things I would like to fit in. Thanks again!
It sounds like you have a great system in place that prevents you from getting burnt out. Good job Momma! Thanks for linking this up to the SHINE blog hop!
Sounds like you have a system that works for you! Thanks so much for your comment and for stopping by!
Thank you for posting this! I don’t have a planner, I use 5 subject notebooks. I do lesson plan ahead of time and write down everything we need to do in that plan (I use online curriculum and piece a lot of it together myself) as we complete each step, I highlight it so I know we’ve completed it. I don’t even write the “grades” down, on their worksheets if they get anything below a B, they keep working at it until they’ve corrected their mistakes. I love this post because it shows many homeschool parents to think outside the classroom! Thanks!
You’re welcome! You are totally not alone 🙂 I feel bad when I have new homeschoolers coming up to me asking me how to plan their year and I just kind of mumble a little bit. I was much more scheduled and Type A in the beginning. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Jennifer A. Janes says
Yes! This is ME exactly! I always feel so guilty when I see all those Facebook posts in the summer. You know, the ones where people are planning their entire year ahead of time – before the year ever starts! Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone!
Thank you! Glad you feel liberated 🙂 🙂
No, you are totally NOT the only one! It is nice to hear other people do the same thing.
Your welcome! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Oh man…I loved this! This will sound idiotic, but I never even thought of this as a possibility before. SO liberating.
Shana Bell says
I don’t plan every day either. We just look at the end of the curriculum to see how much needs to be completed each day to finish in 180 days. We write down what is done on their planning pages (each student has a notebook) as it’s completed. I do spend 15-20 minutes at the end of each day to enter grades, activities, and attendance into a spreadsheet. If we end up going into summer a little because we took an extra day or two off here or there, we don’t stress about it. I am so glad I’m not the only mom with this laid-back approach.
Wow I love this! My family lives overseas. We have gone through a lot of transition and this might be just what we need this year! Thank you for such a freeing post!
Davonne Parks says
This IS a shocking confession!! I thought you planned it all out in advance! I don’t plan ahead either 🙂 BUT I used to plan ahead when we were new to homeschooling because my kids and I needed that extra guidance. Now I just know they need to do math every day. 3 history lessons a week, about 3 science lessons a week, and so on. This way we complete what we need to each year without me stressing about the day-to-day stuff. This was a fun – and shocking – article to read! Thanks for sharing!