In the past, at the beginning of each year, I have sat down at my computer and made a rough schedule for our homeschool lessons. Although I’m not your ultra-organized homeschool mom, I have found that doing some pre-planning helps me from becoming overwhelmed. Even though I often veered off from this schedule, it was very helpful in those early morning hours before my brain turned on to look at this schedule and think, “Ah-ha. It’s math and spelling today.” Although I didn’t do every subject everyday, we did manage to get everything done in a week.
When I sat down to do that this year, I realized it’s a very different year. The boys are getting older, and there’s more work to do. The boys have more things they want to do too. Between that and our outside appointments, I could not figure out a way to get all our lessons done in one week.
Then I remembered what my friend Dawn Smith said when I interviewed her for home/school/life magazine’s Our Way department in the Spring 2014 issue. She said her family didn’t have a set schedule, but instead they had “an order of things.” They set goals for what they wanted to accomplish in a day, and sometimes they didn’t get to everything, but that was okay.
With everything we want to accomplish this year, I have decided to try “an order of things” as well. But I’m not thinking in terms of one day. Instead, I listed those subjects and activities we want to accomplish on a piece of paper that I keep right on my desk. In the mornings, I refer to it and decide what we’ll work on that day. In a sense, I’m simply rotating through the list, and it may take us a week and a half to get through all of it. But that’s okay.
It’s never been my purpose to try to get through a curriculum in a set amount of time. I want our days to be productive, but I don’t want to rush, and I don’t want to give up the memory-making activities for hard-core academics. I want the boys to take as much time as they need to understand a concept, and I want us to be able to achieve all our goals.
By implementing “an order of things,” it’ll be easier for me to not only rotate through math, science, and language arts, I can also rotate in days spent outside, creative activities, and the projects that the boys come up with. But I can also listen to that voice inside my head that might say, “You really need to keep working on this.” Just as I veered off my well-made schedules in the past, I can choose to make something a priority that we do everyday, or I can put it back into the rotation.
How do you decide what to work on each day in your homeschool?
SHELLI BOND PABIS is home | school | life magazine’s senior editor. She writes about her family’s homeschooling journey at www.mamaofletters.com.