When you tend to be an OCD Planner Mama, it's difficult to work with the normal chaos of a homeschool life.
Babies and Toddlers,
Illness and Sick Days
Vacation and Spontaneous Activities
Feeling Overwhelmed and Burned Out
Can you honestly plan those things into your day, into your life?
because would you plan those things into your life, if it was your choice!
Well I'm sure we'd all plan babies and toddlers, but they'd have their behavior more on our schedule!
I love having a plan, I love knowing my plan, but having that plan and knowing that plan, can also cause such a stress when things, aka life, happen. Over the years of homeschool I have learned, I need a plan and a routine, I (along with some of my children) really work better with that in place, yet when my plan is out of sequence, or off schedule, it feels like a weight or a burden. My answer is simple, because when you live in organized chaos, like I often feel, I need simple, I crave simple!
I LOVE the idea of scheduling throughout the year, a more inspired school plan, however just finding that time to be inspired as a busy mom, and let alone using that time to plan school---well doesn't happen. However when I feel an inspiration, or I need to change the plan I've laid out it's ok, because the way the plan is... um planned, allows for flexibility!
Here's the simple idea.
*I plan in an undated planner. This planner could be dated, and I just white it out. See I haven't found a planner I just love for every year and every season of my life. I have used regular planners, school lesson planners even to my own simple creation. I figure out how many weeks of school I need to accomplish for legal reason, or maybe even personal reasons. For me that's between 30-32 weeks of school in a year. I then write week 1 across the top of my planner, and the days of the week become days 1-5, 5 days of the school week. So one week day 1 could be on a Monday, while day 1 another week could be on a Wednesday or even a Friday. It doesn't really matter the number of the day to the day of the week.
When I came to that realization, it was a game changer for me.
*I only plan homeschool in my homeschool planner. Because I don't plan school to a dated planner, I can't combine my outside of the house life with my school life, just as sickness, vacations and/or learning opportunities don't change my plans. They may change our days but not our plans. They may even change our lessons, but not our "plan". I hope that makes sense. I may find a great learning opportunity, maybe a field trip or community activity I really want to participate in. Maybe before or even after this said activity I want to chase some "bunny trails" or things that were sparked. I can and I do, and then when we are done, I just go back to the "plan" I had planned.
If someone calls last minute and wants to come visit, and also really wants to tour your location, or you just really want to hang out with them during this time, it's ok. Say YES! Once you are done with that visit, you can just pick up the plan, and begin where you left off.
*I plan any homeschool activities I know we will be a part of into my plan. For instance if I know we will be participating in a weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly activity, that is part of our school time- that is added. So let's say we are participating in a weekly co-op this year, I take one day of the week from my planner and simply mark it as co-op day, then any planning I need to do for our weekly co-op can be planned in that section of my homeschool planner. Does it matter that I may be planning our co-op on day 5, but we actually go to co-op on Wednesdays? No. Often times we will also be a week ahead on our co-op classes, then our homeschool lessons, and not always because we didn't do school for a week, it could be we missed a day, or it could be we decided to take a field trip and didn't do our family lessons for a day, or maybe we even took a field trip and came home the next day and did a family lesson about that field trip. Or it could be we were sick in between co-op classes, but attended the 2 co-op classes in a row. It's fine! And if it really bugs you to have that happen, then don't plan your co-op classes along with your regular homeschool lessons- because it will bring that feeling of doubt, and the "I'm not keeping up" in the back of your mind. Simply make a different planner or planner page for your co-op planning.
*I only plan our family school activities in this planner. Classes I will be teaching to my family, or the majority of my family. I do not plan our daily lessons here. Often time when we come home from an activity I will still have the kids do their daily lessons, things like math or reading. I have independent studies sheets for each of my children that all their daily lessons are tracked on. I do these in the same manner, with a day 1-5 instead of days of the week, and week markings instead of months. This planner is used to plan our morning devotional and morning loop, history and science family lessons and maybe a family elective.
*I prefer to have a space to mark the dates on all my daily columns and weekly pages. This is simply to keep myself accountable, to myself. I will also usually jot down why we had a discrepancy on our dates. So if we had a field trip I will just jot that somewhere in between the two columns. This is only for myself, and helps to keep those "I'm not doing enough" thoughts out of the back of my mind, or maybe to help push them farther back.
As you can see I'm still deep in my planning and organizing. I still have many blank spots! So back to my planning.
So that's it, my simple planner for a flexible plan amongst my organized chaotic life!