Another Year – Another Plan
The one thing that seems to be pretty consist when you start talking about back to school is having a plan. Plans can involve long-term or short-term goals. They can include lists of needed supplies. They can involve decisions on record keeping. They may involve trying to find the right homeschool method for your family.
Defining Plan and Planning
The dictionary defines planning as the act or process of making a plan or plans. Plan is a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding making, etc. developed in advanced or a specific project with or definite purpose. And those seem to pretty much define the idea of planning and having a plan pretty well.
The Hardest Part is Not Getting Started
Lots of people think the hardest part is getting started. Or that making the plan is half the battle. Benjamin Franklin is to have said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” and all of that is very true. But sometimes for me I get so caught up in the planning that I forget to move on to the next step which is action.
You do need a plan or road map as you begin your school year. I think that a good school plan like a good trip plan needs to have rest areas, exits, alternative routes, and a destination in mind. Sometimes things happen that interrupt your plan and you need to try things a different way. Sometimes you or your children just need a break. If you plan for distractions then they don’t seems so overwhelming and you are not as likely to be derailed when they occur.
Practical Considerations for your Plan
In this day and age one of the first things you need to consider when planning is what kind of planner do you want to use. This can include digital, paper, online tracking, or a combination. It might include a pre-designed book or something that you can customize to fit your needs. Do you want one mega planner that includes all the strands of your life or is it easier for you to focus when you have an overall calendar, homeschool planner, and blogger planner that are separate. And if you are waiting for the perfect planner to fall into your lap that probably won’t happen. No one place, even those who offer custom sheets will have exactly what you are working for. So you can either take time to make up your own forms or figure out the best way to make use of what is already out there.
Have a Planner Now What
So you answered the question of what ongoing device you will use now what. Often one of the best ways to get started is to reflect on the past year. Determine if your long-range goals for the family are being met. Then work on the shorter term goals for what you would like to accomplish for the year. If the methods you have been using have been working this can usually be more of a check up for tweaking things to reflect you growing student.
BUT if you have finished a year that didn’t seem to work as well as you would like then you will need to spend a lot more time in this stage. You might have to spend time reevaluating long-term goals. You might to look over your goals for the past year and determine if the problems you had stem from the wrong methods, poor planning, poor execution, or life interruptions. Once you have a better idea of what went wrong it will be easier to figure out what steps you need to take to improve in the upcoming year.
As life and circumstances change you might need to change the way you homeschool. Also, every child is unique so what worked for one child might not work for another or what worked when they are younger might not work with an older child. If your child has learning challenges you might need to make bigger adjustments moving forward.
Plan Alone or With Children
Over the years I have made all the decisions and plans by myself but I found that as my children got older it was helpful not only to think about their strengths and weakness when planning but to actually bring them in on the planning. I still get the final word and sometimes their choices don’t fit the budget but it can still be helpful to see what they are most interest in and to see if there are ways to give them some of what they desire while staying within the budget.
Last year was the first year I worked outside of the home and I really didn’t have a clear picture how that would affect our homeschooling. Lots of things happened but not everything I planned happened and not everything that happened got recorded. So as I sit down to start planning for this year I have to take the knowledge I gained forward into my planning. At first there was a part of me that felt like this was a wasted year, but on reflection it wasn’t. My children learned to be more independent, we learned what methods weren’t going to work for our new reality, my two homeschoolers continue to be close, they came up with some of their own joint projects, and learned that learning doesn’t have to take place only during certain hours.
So I know that I have to take advantage of the technology we have in simple ways like setting up an alarm on their phones to wake them up even if I have already left for work. I have found ways to use online learning to supplement things they do with pen and paper. And I have found that I need a better method to track what they are doing and to keep all of us accountable.
So I am looking forward to this new year and to making the necessary changes to continue working and homeschooling.
Group 5 Links
Since there are so many people playing along in this blog post we have divided up into groups. Here is the links for my group #5
Dawn @ Double O Farms
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Lisa Marie @ The Canadian Homeschooler
Lexi @ Lextin Academy
Karen @ My Harbor Lights (This is where you are at right now.)
Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos
Lori @ Home: where life happens
Posts in This Series
Day 1 – Plan
Day 2 – Supplies
Day 3 – Fellowship
Day 4 – Service
Day 5 – Technology
Don’t Forget The Giveaway
You have until August 18th to join in the contest. Head over to the Giveaway Post to enter.
Check the Link to the Anchor Post for the Back to School Blog Hop