It is possible to over plan.
It’s also really fun.
And honestly, you can just change your plans whenever you need. There is no regulation saying if something doesn’t work, you can’t scrap it, or if you find something better, you can’t go out and get it. This is homeschooling. It is a fine tuning process of adapting to each child, family, and personal educational goals.
As much as we’d like to say we know everything about educating our children and we have all the answers and we never mess up, we can’t. That just wouldn’t be true.
But guess what. Even professional educators don’t have all the answers. Despite their awesomeness and hard work and desire to help children reach their potential and arrive at all of their goals, statistically, us non-trained moms do a better job — generally speaking. I’m not knocking pro teachers. I’m just saying, it’s hard to beat a one-on-one tutor who also loves you more than life itself.
Now, team that mom/teacher up with exceptional support systems and endless choices of curriculum; she’s going to do just fine.
Did you hear that? You are going to do just fine.
Back to the uber planning…
I got my Classical Academic Press catalog in the mail about a month ago and right there smack dab spread out on pages 6 and 7 was this beautiful “curriculum map.” It had all the wonderful things you could buy, but also let you know when you should buy them and what ages/levels you should teach them.
My little organizational heart just started to flutter!
And I thought, Hey! I wonder what it would look like if I put down all my current plans for homeschooling right there in a color coded Excel spreadsheet. I bet I could do that!
So I did. Viola! (I hope you can expand this somehow – I can totally explain any of the cryptic notes if you really want the nitty gritty details.)
I really like Classical Academic Press (CAP), but I’m not planning on using them for everything. My basic plan is to use CAP and Well-Trained Mind material for the bulk of our curriculum. I’m pretty much sticking to Saxon all the way for math – at least until the kids hit college level courses. And I’m going to turn my children over to The Great Courses lectures and my awesome History/Language Arts (and ethics, government, and composition) book lists for their Language Arts and History classes for those four years of high school.
I get to sneak in a little logic from 7th to 9th grade and then throw in a debate class – I’ve heard of a fabulous one in the town next to mine. I’m just crossing my fingers he will still be teaching when I need him!
In an ideal world where all my children would learn at the pace I’m comfortable with, in a manner I’m comfortable with, and with a zest and vigor for knowledge and understanding (and work ethic) that I think no kid probably actually possesses, I would get them to start Spanish, French, or German (ok, Greek would be awesome, too) and a stringed instrument like the viola or cello starting in 9th grade.
THIS WOULD BE SO AWESOME.
This will also probably never happen.
And that isn’t a bad thing at all. It is just reality. My kids are reality. And I LOVE my kids. I even love them more than lists and plans and even color coded Excel spreadsheets.
My first two children are excellent in math and reading. My third child has a great mathematical and engineering mind, but he hasn’t decided if he likes to actually use it or not. He isn’t too crazy about reading either – he’s also only 7. My fourth child, who will start kindergarten in the fall, is such an abstract thinker and more of a feeler than a reasoner (although he has his own brand of logic and reasoning that I have to admit isn’t always incorrect) and I’m just not sure what that will look like yet in a homeschool setting.
Actually, I do know what it will look like. It will cater to his strengths, but also spend time on his weaknesses so he can learn and grow and have the confidence to do hard things.
I just don’t know right now what that would look like on a spreadsheet, is all.
And my fifth child? I’m still working on getting him NOT to flood the backyard with the hose or take the permanent markers to the wall. You would think this would be an easy thing to manage; just lock the back door and hide all the markers, right? Well… you haven’t met this kid yet.
But boy, his verbal skills are off the charts. So there’s that.
Plus nobody wants to learn the viola or the cello. That does break my heart a little.
I am not a pro at this homeschooling gig. I hope that isn’t too much of a shocker for anyone. I just really, really believe in it. I believe in it enough that I am doing everything counter culture to my neighborhood, my city, my entire country – you know, really this is counter culture to the entire western world (although it wasn’t always so). I am willing to not comment at family functions or neighborhood gatherings. I’m willing to not be in the loop or know the right people or have entirely different passions that the general public just does not understand – at all – because I believe this is the absolute best course for my children and our family. It’s probably not everyone’s, but it is ours.
And although it’s easy for me to say, because I am a planner and an organizer, I think it would be a little irresponsible if I didn’t have some sort of plan or some sort of goal in mind for this whole adventure. (Maybe there is something to spontaneity, but it’s just not my style.)
So I made a spreadsheet.
And it is awesome.
And I’m perfectly ready to scrap it all if that is what we need to do.
So… what sort of plans do you have? How much do you let your kids choose their “classes?” Is anything a must? (My kids are going to HATE debate – I can just see it. But I can also see them thanking me profusely afterwards. Like, maybe 30 years afterwards.) 😉
Just wait until you see my plans for next fall!!