Planning is a necessary part of being an intentional parent. And if you are homeschooling as a part of that we need to plan for the academic areas of their life as well.
Planning has to come from the direction and goals you want for your family plans and goals can not come out of isolation from the whole of your life. If you compartmentalize your life and plan your lessons then you will find conflicts in carrying out that plan. You need to know what your family goals and commitments are and plan study within that context.
When I sit down to plan I ask myself what do I want for each individual child in each of these following areas*:
- relationship skills (vertical with God, horizontal with people)
- responsibilities (money, time, working, looking after possessions)
- to be a better person (intrapersonal skills)
- their individual talents
- their academics pursuits
- basic knowledge
- 3 R’s and computer
- thinking skills
- general knowledge
Once I have these goals then it is easy to find a plan. I can plan what time I spend in these areas of family life, I can decide what curriculum or resources I need and how much time I have for each one (which will determine how quickly we work through it and finish it.) I need to remember though that my goal is not to finish a curriculum, book or resource my goal is to learn wisdom.
I plan at the beginning of the year, and then I review it at the beginning of each term. Unless we review our goals they will just be stagnant wish lists that dont reflect reality, and at the end of the year (when we revisit in order to set new goals) we will feel discouraged. There is no negativity on revising and tweaking goals in fact that is where the life comes from. We need to look at how we are going and realign our goals accordingly.
When we tweak goals it may be because something else has popped up. A time of review is a good check to ensure that this new and unexpected turn of events is in keeping with family direction if it is great, tweak the goal, if it is not then we have to be prepared to drop it and get back on track.
We may have to tweak because we havent done as well as we expected. That is okay it is better to know that now, at a time of review rather than at the end of the year when we will feel we have limited options. Why havent we done as well as expected? Now is the time to solve that it maybe our own slackness, we need to determine to be more diligent. Maybe it was unrealistic in the first place we need to get our goals to be realistic.
Reviewing and tweaking is very much a part of setting goals it keeps our goals alive.
It is very easy to get narrow focused on the academics at goal setting time but we must remember that we are educating or training the whole child physical, emotional, physical, moral, spiritual, and social. We need to have goals for every area we intend to work with.
*You will find more detail on each of these areas over on my website: Lifestyle-Homeschool. There is a tab for each area I use for planning.