My husband took my son for the day earlier this week so that I could think about and plan our first few weeks of school for the fall. I have done a lot of reading and I have a ton of ideas, but if I were to have to sit down tomorrow to lead our first day of school, I had no idea what I would say or do. The theory of homeschooling sounded like a great idea from the safe distance of a couple of years. Now that kindergarten is looming and theory needs to be turned into action, I am getting nervous.
I am planner by nature. I like to know what is coming next and to know how I am going to get from here to there. I like to have a solid plan and preferably and solid plan B and plan C to fall back on. I would prefer for those plans to be presented in a bullet pointed list. That’s just me and it always has been.
The mother in me knows that homeschool is going to be messy. Our days are not going to fit into my neatly organized plan and go unfailingly according to schedule. The planner in my shrinks in horror at the prospect of that mess and feels the compulsion to make lists. So I sat down and made lists.
Veteran homeschoolers will most likely laugh at the image of me surrounded by four curriculum books with three documents open on my laptop screen trying to cobble together a daily schedule of goals and activities. I will probably laugh at this memory in a few years when I have the experience to know what I am facing come the new school year. We are just starting kindergarten though and I am a newbie.
After a few hours of this my head hurt and I felt even less prepared than I did before I started my quest to tame the homeschooling beast. The ideals of Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, unschooling and project based schooling I started with are all still swimming around in happy chaos in my head. Though the document I drafted is 15 pages long, I still feel ungrounded and unsure of what we are actually going to do. Part of me feels like I have planned too much – too many activities, too many subjects, too much structure. Saying that my son is not a fan of structure would be a drastic understatement. The other part of me feels like there is no way what I have planned to going to fill our day (or even an hour of it) or teach my son what I think he needs to know. It’s hard to move forward from a place like that.
I realize that flexibility is going to be a huge part of the adventure we are about to embark upon. Some of the things on my painstakingly developed schedule will work and others will be downright rejected by my son who has plenty of opinions of his own. I planned four weeks – enough to get us started, perhaps enough to determine what is working and what isn’t working, hopefully enough to at least give me an idea of which direction I need to take this project next!
How do you address the planning process? Do you follow a curriculum you purchased? Do you un-school and not need a weekly/daily plan? Do you re-use material from older siblings? Do you trust that everything will work out in its own time and refrain from torturing yourself like I am doing? Finally, and I’m thinking that the answer to this question is a resounding “YES”, am I over-thinking this?