to start, I want to stress the importance of relaxing when approaching the planning stage of homeschooling, whether that be daily, weekly or for the year, effective and sustainable homeschool planning strategies come from the ability to create a mindset rather than just plans, this is effective with short term goals rather than long term and planning less and achieving it consistently is how to be an effective homeschooler.
the main cause of burnout is taking on too much, both academically for your children and for you in the home, with homeschooling and possibly out of the home.
Burnout happens to us all, but there is a way to avoid it, through the effective application of mindset, and short term planning (read the post if you want to know the other causes of burnout and how to fix them in your day to day routine)
Effective planning comes from mindest, sustainable goals and adaption.
Ask yourself these questions, to be able to plan not only the physical aspect of homeschooling but the mindsets around effective and sustainable homeschooling as a lifestyle.
- How sustainable is your current lifestyle? whether you aren’t homeschooling yet or you are looking to reevaluate your current lifestyle, this is the first step to planning homeschooling.
- Choose your curriculum and how you want to implement it. You can decide how to best implement it by first evaluating your lifestyle.
- What is your why? set short term goals with one long term mindset
- How to do you plan? use you planner in a way that suits you
- What schedule will work for you? think outside the box when it comes to setting your yearly schedule
HOW SUSTAINABLE IS YOUR CURRENT LIFESTYLE ?
No matter where you are in your homeschooling career, you can always assess your current lifestyle.
I never think of homeschooling as something I have to change my life for, I don’t live for the next break because I am working round the clock to make up for homeschooling.
It fits my life, and in fact, I have become so relaxed while also so consistent, that this year I have almost homeschooled year-round, and am approaching the summer holidays and considering not stopping.
Motherhood and homeschooling need to be sustainable in order to be enjoyable
My lifestyle of running a home, raising and homeschooling five children is something that doesn’t tire me, well, not any more than is usual for a mother.
My advice if you have young children, is to plan your homeschooling into your current lifestyle.
It means taking on less (how to become a minimalist homeschooler) Showing up consistently with less information is the way to deliver effective education to a child and so is more important than potentially wearing yourself out trying to block out hours a day to deliver the big plans you sat down and decided to implement at the start of the year.
FREE HOMESCHOOL PLANNER!
questions to ask yourself before you start your homeschool planning.
- When is the best time of your day to homeschool?
- how much time can you set aside to show up every day? (at least 4 days a week )
- what is the most important thing to you to teach daily?
- How do you want your homeschooling to feel?
- how do you want to use your planner?
let me answer those questions so you can see how they affect my homeschooling plans.
Q 1. the morning is when I can consistently homeschool each day.
Q 2. I know I have between 1-2 hours per day, all in the morning.
Q 3. The most important thing for me to teach daily is the bible, so I will make sure, no matter what my plans are, I will start each daily lesson with the bible that means if I can’t fit something into my 60-120 minutes of teaching time it doesn’t get done.
Q .4 As I am a naturally goal orientated person, and still very much working on my patience, I have to work to have my homeschooling feel relaxed, we can all have an image in our mind of how we want our homeschooling to look, and though I aimed for relaxed and fun it wasn’t that when I first started.
I was too confined to the to-do list, and my children didn’t enjoy the time they spent with me as my patience grew thin very quickly, but with an idea and self-evaluation you can create the ‘feeling’ you desire during homeschooling, and as long as it’s not outrageous and you are forgiving of bad days and mistakes, you can achieve it. I am not a big feelings person but when you have to do something every day, it’s important to establish the feel you want.
Q 5. I hate feeling like I am wasting time, this means rather than plan the future, which has never worked for me, in any aspect, I take the time to write what we do each day and evaluate where my children need some extra attention, and how to give it to them the next day. I only plan a few days ahead.
CHOOSE YOUR CURRICULUM AND HOW YOU WILL IMPLEMENT IT.
I have never taken this too seriously. I know there are different styles, and all of them have merit, but really it comes down to me, and my children, and since I am catering only to them, I don’t box myself into ‘ways’ of homeschooling, and my whole minimalist approach was born of trial and error, and seeing firsthand that it worked on my children, for my lifestyle and is 100% sustainable longterm for ME.
You don’t have to like it.
If you are just starting, then I encourage you to read up on the styles , but always keep in mind you are free to tweak, to change your mind, to grow with your children as they change.
DON’T LET YOUR CURRICULUM OWN YOUR HOMESCHOOLING
If you check out my post, must-haves for a minimalist homeschooler, you will see have an eclectic collection, I think you could call me a charlotte mason style/minimalist/ but I have never sat down and absorbed myself in the ways of charlotte mason, nor have I subscribed to minimalism because I found it online, I created this way, just for me and my children and it in no way owns me, all the books I use serve a purpose, to offer a structure of information, if that information doesn’t work anymore, I change it up or ditch it altogether.
If this is your first year do not buy a ridiculously expensive curriculum, wait. Allow yourself to learn your child, to understand yourself when it comes to homeschooling, in the meantime, get yourself some flashcards, start a reader, create the environment you need to learn to teach, to learn your child and to learn the rhythm of homeschooling and what suits you and what doesn’t.
SET SHORT-TERM GOALS WITH ONE LONG-TERM MINDSET
I think almost everyone can benefit from this because over planning in homeschooling almost always end up owning you. Over-planning is a killjoy, and while you think it can help you with showing up, keeping track, still I doubt it, because if you truly struggle with showing up, then you probably aren’t consistently no matter what you panner says.
What is your why?
In my burnout post, I talked about the why to your homeschooling, it is important, just like the why to a marathon runner training each day, without that why, clearly emblazoned in your mind, it is hard to see your long-term goal.
Every homeschooler has one, and so pause, and think of yours, write it down. That is your longterm mindet.
why are you homeschooling ?
I know I am the only one who knows what is best for my children, and so I am the only one who can teach the values I know they should have, who can educate them to the standards I set, I do not believe the mainstream school system is capable of doing what I can for my children.
knowing my why, has brought me to my current mindset. Long-term sustainability, consistency, working on my patience, on my creativity and spontaneity, when you know that you are the only one showing up you are forced to self evaluate but also to give yourself grace.
I will be homeschooling for years, a day off won’t hurt, four days a week won’t hurt. I don’t this for anyone else.
My mindset keeps me on the path I need to be, it isn’t perfect and I am sure as I learn I will look back and see things I didn’t do quite right.
But without the longterm mindset, the bad days feel like they could take over, and the good days few and far between, because you are owned by your lagging to do list, by a structure you create with currruculum, your children are learning in the home so you can tick boxes that you never intended on having.
Instead, think of why you are doing this? 99.9% of the time it’s because you know, that you can provide for your children something the outside world cannot, and so let that reason own you instead and you will find yourself making decisions based on you and your children that affect you days for the longterm, that are sustainable, that are based on you children and not outside opinion.
Making sustainable homeschooling choices based on this mindset is effective, consistent and less stressful for you and you family, make homeschooling work for you and not against.
Short term goals are no longer than a month. The biggest goal I have in my homeschooling in to finish a read-aloud that is several hundred pages long and may take 6 weeks.
I am really looking forward to starting the 2022 school year, as all I have to do is buy fresh books and plan to open them and start the pages.
The reason why I believe short term goals are crucial to homeschooling young children, is because
- 1. Daily get it done goals can get in the way of mastering concepts
- 2. Children can grasp concepts at different rates or hit a roadblock entirely, you should be flexible with this, goals can make you feel like you aren’t acheiving.
- 3. You will do better giving your children goals and rewards for motivatin on no timeline rather than panner goals for yourself.
- 4. They will come to own you and you start making decisions based on relitively shorterm goals rather than your longterm mindset.
EFFECTIVE WAYS TO SET SHORT-TERM GOALS FOR PLANNING YOUR HOMESCHOOLING
- plan by concept not by page.
While most curriculums are created to expound concepts, they have systems that take your child on a journey, and one by one they learn small bits of information to create one capability. you still need to monitor the progress based on your child, this is done by constantly checking work and conversation around what they are learning.
If you arent regularly asking them what they learned, how to use what they learned and what it means, [without prompting the answers] you won’t be discovering their rate of attention, or their interest and understanding in the topic, which means you can’t evaluate how to either better gain their interest or fill the gaps in their knowledge.
If you have a get the page done mentality then you can be held back from having your child master concepts.
This is why with my long-term mindset I came to the conclusion that I had to consistently teach less every day in order for my children to master more.
- When there is strain on the child halve the workload
expounding on the first point, don’t push through hard topics, and so I find making plans weeks in advance can hinder rather than help.
- Reward the child for concepts learned
motivation is big in a child’s life, to earn money, to earn treats, to work towards something with hard work not only is the most rewarding for anyone, but you are teaching the skill of finishing tasks, working through hard concepts, and achieving goals set by both of you.
One of my current rewards in place is for my older son to finish his first reader, as it has taken him almost TWO YEARS! I have gone big with this reward, a lego set of his choosing will be purchased the day he finishes that book, and after months and months of taking it slow, he is mere 2 pages away from finishing and he is KEEN, he brings it to me to read, he writes the spelling words multiple times per day, he is constantly asking for constructive criticism so he can master these last pages.
When we started this book I thought it may take as 8 months to a year to complete. But, obviously, I was wrong, two years later, he is moving swiftly, with his own goals, he is mastering concepts with his own thought processes, his own diligence and a lot of excitement.
you do not have to reward everything, but recognise hard work, recognise your child’s diligence and reward it.
UNDERSTANDING WHEN GOALS OWN YOU
let me tell you about the grading by age system that the mainstream education system has instilled as normal procedure.
If you are running your homeschooling off of these ideas, you could be owned by your goals.
A child at the top of the class and a child at the bottom.
9 times out of 10, the child on the bottom has only one problem.
They started too early.
Thank you for starting ages because every 5 year old is the same.
A child that is judged academically merely because they are the same age as their peers is a ridiculous idea and while the school system uses it and has many children left behind, thanks to age ranking, uniform starting ages and the national average grade (which btw, never existed) you now have a system that needs goals.
They don’t care if the children reach them or not, they are just there.
You don’t need any of this.
You don’t need uniform starting ages, you don’t need to assess your children by their age alone and set goals to reach the goals set by a system that fails many children.
The Washington Post published a study by the national bureau of economic research that found that if you delay kindergarten by one to two years, (average starting age of 7) you reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73% they also found that children who started later did better academically for their entire education, including university.
so, if you are concerned that your child isn’t reaching the end of their current grade, they aren’t learning fast enough, they hate school time, they aren’t motivated, you waste a lot of time teaching the same concepts over and over.
If this is you, then consider doing two things.
one, Ditch all age-related goals and just keep going.
Two, if the child is young, and you decided to start at the normal age for starting school, consider pausing and resuming in 6 months, a child can change a lot in that time, and perhaps they will be ready or maybe they need more time. You can continue with interest-based lessons and plenty of reading aloud.
have a think, almost all goals are set to these standards. Are they reading late? says who?
Are they not wanting to be there at age 6? perfectly normal.
Do they have no attention span once you teach for more than an hour? also very normal.
set concept learning-based goals, not age ones.
EFFECTIVE WAYS TO USE A PLANNER WHEN HOMESCHOOLING YOUNG CHILDREN
This is very much up to you, if you are a writer, and love a list then go for it.
I love a to-do list when it comes to me, and what I need to do in a day or a week. if you want to write the days to do the night before, for your day and homeschooling then go for it.
Ways to use a planner when homeschool planning is to record what you have done, write weaknesses and strengths in each subject, write breakthroughs and how you taught them, so you can refer to them in years to come. (I keep my year planners so I can do this)
I like to have little notes in my planner months ahead just to remind myself of my current thought process ( it may be that I thought I would finish something or start something or have a concept mastered) or to make sure I write in a progress report of sorts, It’s usually not much but it helps to either know I am doing well or to see that I have let something slip.
These aren’t goals, they are notes, notes to be able to self evaluate, to adapt and evolve into the teacher/parent I want to be. you have to keep track of your mindset, like I mentioned earlier, I want a relaxed homeschool feel, so keep notes on how it’s going, what I can improve on.
My planners are filled with growth in both me and my children the going may be slow, but the progress is real and counts for self-development, and learning that I do myself about my children and teaching them.
It may sound cheesy, but using your planner this way is a good way to gauge the growth of yourself and your family. I don’t need to know that my kids need to do four pages of math today, or that they missed some the day before and need to catch up, we need to do extra reading on Friday because we missed Tuesday.
Me personally every school day is a new day, a fresh start. Not until my children get into their teen years will I have to note down their work and be there to motivate them, while my children are young my job is to show up, be patient, consistent, and kind.
SET YOUR OWN SCHEDULE-THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
when it comes to homeschool planning and setting your schedule if you are teaching young children, then you can think outside the box.
For one, many homeschoolers enjoy taking holidays when everyone has gone back to school, fewer people and it’s cheaper. So even for that reason, sticking to terms made for you is a good way to stay flexible.
The other thing you want to consider if you have children under 12, with a workload that is more on you the mother/teacher, then dong the long school set terms can be very draining.
You don’t have to.
When I first started I did 6 weeks on 2 weeks off. It still works out to 36 weeks, and you can be able to manage your home and your sanity by having regular breaks, it’s also good for the children, as when you are just starting out, and you are focusing on learning to read, the and problem solving, it can be draining, and so taking a short break can be beneficial.
I don’t however drop reading, and I rely heavily on audible to for reading aloud during times of breaks, which this year we have only had one, as to be honest my minimalist homeschooling has become so sustainable I just don’t need to take them.
You can also do school 4 days a week as I do, Fridays are my home days, days to reset my home, deep clean and catch up on things I didn’t get done during the school days, this allows me to do other things on Saturday and spend time with my husband on Sundays.
There really is no wrong way to schedule your homeschooling, just do what works for you, that’s all you can do for yourself, you are in this for the long haul, make it as sustainable, effective and enjoyable as possible.
so, that’s it, that’s what I do to plan sustainably, to enjoy my time homeschooling and create the homeschooling lifestyle I want in my home.
I hope I can encourage you in your homeschooling!
Check out my other posts!
yours in homeschooling
the simple mamma