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Homeschooling planning is a compulsory for me. Even, I am a planner junkie in homeschooling. I don't think I can go along with my homeschool, blogs, and work at home when I don't have any homeschooling planner. I definitely need planning to make sure none of them is ignored and chaos.
Well, for several years, I have been using the online or electronic homeschooling planner to ease my scheduling habits. My planning system is not settled easily since the condition always changes. I have made trial and error in my homeschooling planning. Here are mistakes in homeschooling planning that I don't want anyone experience.
Scheduling Full in Homeschooling Planning
I usually spend a lot of time in yearly homeschooling planning. Our academic homeschooling year is started on Mid July and finished on Mid June. It is quite a short time holiday actually. With some online homeschooling planners, I use the same homeschooling planning system to make sure we have covered all of the necessary materials to cover. The standard school year of most homeschool curriculum is 40 weeks, but based on the system, we often finish much earlier on February. I usually always try to get my whole year of homeschooling plan full from July to June.
Planning for a full year usually doesn't work for us. There are a lot of unscheduled activities and urgency along the years. The full schedule will make us feel guilty when we cannot finish them all. What a huge mistake I have made. I should have given April to June schedule empty so that we can get more proud finishing the whole year schedule.
Giving Too Much or Too Few Targets
Planning a year for homeschooling usually involve some idealistic targets for my children. I often forget the learning style and capability of my children. As a result, we get frustrated in the middle of the early weeks or months. That is a sign for me to spend another time to rescheduling or replanning. I need to change the whole year target. What a waste of time! However, I still feel lucky that I can avoid more frustration coming into our homeschool.
It is very important for you to know and receive your children capability to concentrate finishing their list. Being too idealistic like me will often make you disappointed with your children and yourself. Too much target for children will just make both of you frustrated, while too few targets will not be able to get the maximum capability of your children.
Being Extremely Strict
On my first years of homeschooling, I was still too idealistic about the homeschooling time. I don't want people underestimate us as homeschoolers who don't have any discipline in time. I got frustrated a lot when we could not finish the work list I arranged in the daily planner. Kids still don't really understand why they need to finish the list. They do understand actually, but they don't always understand the reasons to finish all of the lists.
Sticking to the planner is absolutely what we need to do to make sure the planner is going to help us to arrange our schedule. However, when we become extremely strict with the planner, the function of the planner will change. Planner will not be our tool anymore, but it becomes our boss. I want to be a free person. Therefore, it is a mistake to consider planner as our boss directly or indirectly. There should be some ways to alternate the busy schedule or lists in the planner that demand us to be creative.
Planning in many different ways is quite time-consuming and sometimes exhausting. When you plan for your first child, you might still feel excited, but when you have to schedule for siblings, it is very boring. There are some features of online or electronic homeschooling planner that enable us to copy and use the same planner for more than 1 child. One day, I use the older sibling's plan for the younger without checking. I felt very sorry for this. I wish I have never done this mistake.
Every child is different. Copying other child's lists of works is one way to shorten the planning time. However, please check the lists and imagine how your children can cope with the lists. Rather than having to revise or redo the plan, it is better to check first in the beginning.
Not Considering Break Time
In the yearly planning scope, there are some years that I planned straightly for a year and cut by some public holidays. I forgot that there are some occasions for family events. It usually happen when we plan for text bookstext books. In the daily planning scope, I didn't recognize the daily break time and I just planned for 4 or 5 daily hours of learning. I didn't put the daily break time into thought. That is why I got shocked when I find kids cannot finish the lessons in the expected duration.
Crowded planning will definitely make us stress. It might not happen for you, but that is what happen to us. Therefore, on my recent year, I feel more relax without loosing my target.
Many people are just busy with planning and planning without checking how the plans have worked for them. People just continue with the planned things without checking which one works and which one doesn't work. Even people don't follow the plan consistently. As a result, they cannot see how useful the plans are. Rather than spending time planning, it is better no planning at all. Consequently, it will be hard to decide whether you have covered all of the things, whether you have been successful in the year, etc.
Not Involving Children
You might think that involving children in planning is only for the middle school levels. Little children might not be able to make their own plan, but they should know that there is a set of checklist to control their work. It can be in a form of pictures (for little children) or it can be in a form of table with bigger to smaller writing. I got very stressful when I try to get kids finish their “targets”, while they don't understand why and how they need to finish.
Well, for my older children I might be too late to explain the planning and target things, but I have started earlier with my youngest children. he has understood that he needs to finish his list. Therefore, I feel more release with it. However, my eldest child has finally made his own targets from the list we have.
Do you make any mistakes in homeschooling planning? How do you improve your planning?