10 Planning Tips For Happier Homeschooling

by Elizabeth Bennett
10 Planning Tips For Happier Homeschooling

Your lesson planning is done, your schedule is all set AND…

The pet gerbil has babies, you get an unexpected visitor, it rains and you play in it, or the milk spills at breakfast which begins a chain of event that edits your best laid plans. Sound familiar?
According to author and management expert, Marshall Goldsmith we essentially have two mindsets. We are either planning or doing. Goldsmith says the problem is “that we are superior planners and inferior doers.” In other words, we attempt to make perfect plans for a perfect doer, but the perfect doer does not exist because there are too many variables that we cannot account for in our attempts of the perfect plan. So, our planning must be done with our “doer” in mind. We must take into account all the various environments, relationships, and triggers that help or prevent us from accomplishing our plans.

Do you have any “perfect doers” at you house? HA! Me either, myself included!
As you prepare for a new school year, plan with your “doers” in mind, plan for the suddenlies and the embrace the unexpected. This will look different for everyone, and there is no right or wrong way, but here are a few principles and ideas:10 Planning Tips For Happier Homeschooling

1. Long Term Planning, Short Term Scheduling.

It is extremely important to have a vision for your school year, set goals and have an idea what resources you need to accomplish those goals. Think of it as the big picture! Then, take a step closer and decide what you want to focus on in the first month. Take another step closer, create tasks for the first week or two. (Maybe 3!) This allows you to embrace the suddenlies of life without becoming overwhelmed. It also will give you the guilt-free freedom to pursue passions! If your kids become fascinated by all things marine biology after watching Dolphin Tale you can dig into the mystery of the sea for a day/week/month and not feel the pressure of messing up the “perfect plan.”

2. Don’t be Paralyzed by Perfection!

Oh, how I have struggled with perfectionism. Once I thought perfectionism was a good thing, that it meant that you got things done PERFECTLY but it’s just not so. Perfectionism paralyzes progress. Perfectionism says; “You’ll NEVER get it right, so why bother?” “Wait to start that project until you have the time to do it “Right.” It whispers in a tone that drains your soul, “Look, another day wasted… nothing looked like the PLAN.” Perfectionism lies to you and says that if you just planned better that you and your children would thrive and homeschooling would work. Perfectionism produces shame. Shame attacks the very essence of who you are, and steals your joy. Your lesson plans don’t have to be perfect, following them doesn’t have to be perfect. I love what FlyLady says; “You are not behind! I don’t want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where you are!” “A task done imperfectly is still a blessing.”

3. Keep simple and build from there.

If you’re not used to scheduling and planning, start simply. Choose 3 10 Planning Tips For Happier Homeschoolingsubjects that must be accomplished daily and map those out for the week. After a successful week or two, add another subject or chore. Repeat until your school week is scheduled out so that someone else could step in and keep things running in your place. Lay a firm and simple foundation to build habits and the creativity will flourish from there!

4. Plan for margin every day!

Almost every day there will be something unexpected that happens. Take a DEEP breath and enjoy it. Then DRAG & DROP! You can add, edit, delete, and move the tasks as life happens. So, embrace the unexpected treasures. (And remember to add the gerbil birth to science!)

5. Set a timer.

I’ve read LOTS of books about time management and getting organized in your home and homeschool. you know one thing the ALL have in common? They ALL say to get a timer and USE IT! There are endless ways of using timers… Mary Jo Tate says to a log of every single thing you do in a day. It is a very vulnerable exercise, but it will help you really see where your time is being spent. You then get to decide if you are pleased with the results or want to make changes. FlyLady says; “5 minutes imperfectly makes the difference.” Look, I can be so sidetracked that I lose the timers that are meant to be keeping my on track! On my phone I forget to use it, so I need one in every room in my house! Get one (or 4), and use it.10 Planning Tips For Happier Homeschooling

6. Plan a catch up/reward day.

Plan one day a week that only has tasks for one or two subjects at the end of a week. If there are items in the Backlog, this is the time to take care of those. If backlogs are empty, let this be a family reward and go on a field trip, bake something together, or let the kids work ahead!

7. Work Off the Backlog When assignments aren’t complete on time.

Homeschool Manager places them in the student’s backlog. Just like when you missed a class in school as a kid, yours need to complete today’s assignment and also catch up from the backlog. The backlog will track time and attendance just like regularly scheduled tasks, no more hassle! We’ve designed HSM to be flexible so it fits your family’s schooling style.

8. Let Your Kids Help.

If you’re already scheduling with Homeschool Manager, you have a weekly schedule outlined already. Instead of taking the time to type in every assignment for capable children, teach them to fill in the day’s assignment as they go. We do this for subjects where they know they’re doing the next lesson daily {ie Math.}

9. Schedule Planning Time & Grading Time.

One mistake homeschooling moms make regularly is expecting too much of themselves. No, you will not have time to finish laundry, cook and clean up dinner, take the kids to soccer and grade school every evening. Instead of trying to squeeze in lesson planning & assignment grading in all that spare time you have, mark your calendar. Plan ahead for success. This is a great spot to tell you my favorite insider tip, set yourself up as a student in HSM! There are endless ways to utilize it for your own planning, and I wrote about it in much more detail in my article 4 Steps to Building Routines Into Habits.10 Planning Tips For Happier Homeschooling

10. Give credit where it is due.

Keep record of the spontaneous discoveries your children make. It doesn’t have to come out of a workbook or be a pre-assigned task for it to count. Is your son in the other room building a pulley system on his bunk bed? Add a task to your S.T.E.A.M. subject, check it complete and give the kid credit for it! You can even drag and copy another task a few days later to reinforce the natural learning that is happening organically! For instance, create a task that says something like “Research Pulleys on YouTube” or have him build another one with different materials.

Now, let’s take a step out of the day-to-day, and refocus on the heart. I encourage you to take a moment right now and ask the Father what He dreams for your family, for each of your children. Ask Him to highlight their passions to you. As you catch a glimpse of His vision He invites you partner with Him! Just imagine, you have the privilege to partner with the Creator of the universe, the very One who made your children –gifts to be unwrapped and empowered. As He plants His thoughts and dreams in your mind, write them down and take action. You have what it takes; you were created, hand selected to parent your children. You are the perfect mom for them! He has prepared you for this and will give you everything you need, moment by moment.

Be encouraged! No matter what kind of planning or teaching style we have we all must take the leap and start wherever we are. Jump in with me, let’s plan as best we can for our “doers” and embrace the glorious treasures we find along this adventure we call homeschooling!10 Planning Tips For Happier Homeschooling10 Planning Tips For Happier Homeschooling

Published by Elizabeth Bennett