May 21, 2016

Planning, planning, PLANNING

"Choose and act for yourself. Be motivated from within. Make a plan for your life, including education or vocational training. Explore interests and skills. Work and become self-reliant. Set goals, overcome mistakes, gain experience, and finish what you begin." ~Robert D. Hales

Please note: This blog post contains links to books, but none of the links are affiliate in nature. 

I LOVE to plan!

It is a strange part of my usually-spontaneous personality, but I think I get it from my Grandmother's side. She, her sisters and her mother were Super-Organizers, and I love to organize, too.

Yet, as with organizing, it is the PROCESS of planning that I love. Following the plans are not as attractive of an exercise for me.

But I really-- really-- need this to change, now that I am homeschooling with more purpose and planning.

Perpetual Change

We moved again in April, and even though we just moved to a larger house around the corner, it was almost as difficult as moving far away, except we got rid of less stuff. (Which is fine, since we moved into a much bigger house. Yay!)

The biggest issue with perpetual change is the chaos that it leaves in its wake. Our chore system has been turned inside out, which is helping me try to do more with a "Family Work" mindset. So far, it has worked well, but I do still need to list out the deeper cleaning tasks, and organize them into some kind of a rotation for us to do.

I feel like my brain is overflowing with jumbled, bright, and shiny ideas for every aspect of my life, but I have no clue where to begin!

Today I sat down and mind-mapped all the roles I am trying to fill personally, and it was a pretty full page, let me tell you! And this is after our Shakespeare play is long over and done with! 

(We started moving the week of our production. What kind of crazy-doodle-head does that? Me.)

I feel completely out of balance right now. With all of the changes going on, my priorities have all jumbled together into one big clump of confusion. Thinking through my roles helped quite a bit, but I think I need to take it down to the details, next.

Homeschool Planning

This summer is my time to PLAN and work out what I hope to do for homeschool this year. Here are all the people I will be teaching in the upcoming school year:
  • Miss B: 17 years old, High School Senior
  • Mr. G: 16, High School Junior
  • Miss D: 14, High School Freshman/Sophomore*
  • Mr. R: 12, 7th Grade
  • Miss M: 10, 5th Grade
  • Miss G: 9, 4th Grade
  • Miss A: 7, 2nd Grade
  • Miss E: 5, 1st Grade
I have made many plans for my homeschooled kids over the years, but none of them really worked-- mostly because they were created, but never followed, and with no accountability built in.

This past week, I had a chance to talk to a friend who has been homeschooling as long as I have, with lots of academic success. I was fortunate enough to see her academic plans in spreadsheet format on Google Drive for her third child. It was beautifully organized; easy to see what subjects and assignments her boy had finished, and what still needed to be done. 

Happily, she copied it and sent me a link that I could edit. I am so excited!!! I spent a couple days reworking it for my own kids, and it's been waaay more fun than you might think. (I love planning, remember?)

I really, REALLY want to make it work! Right now, I just have the subjects organized, and some of the resources I will be using, but I don't have any assignments plugged in yet. That will come as I gather my resources this summer.

Each subject has a column with its own color. Some subjects are weekly, and some are daily. A really cool thing my friend did, is to highlight the current row/week (a week on each row) with bright yellow (easy for the student to see what they have to do that week), and then fill in each subject's assignment with the subject's corresponding color once it's done. That leaves all weeks in the future plain white, and then anything that was not finished remains highlighted until it's completed.

You can take a look at a copy of my high school schedules "in-the-works" at this Google Drive link here.  


Our homeschool has always been literature-based, and that is one of the things we will not change. I am convinced that the best learning comes from the best books, and when I give my children an assigned list each term, I can better make sure that the very best books get read.

I am looking at many lists of books, especially going through our many bookshelves for the books we love and have learned the most from. One of the best websites for long lists of "living books" for each age group is at Ambleside Online. They have a free "curriculum" there, with lists for each grade level.

I especially love Ambleside for children, and for their enrichment subjects, like Art and Music Study, but I have not been impressed with their High School curriculum, so far. I have decided to customize the book lists and assignments for my children age 12 and older. 

Another booklist I am using, though not in the exact same order, is from the book "Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens" by Oliver DeMille and Shanon Brooks

I am just beginning to make my lists, but so far, it is lots of fun! It's exciting to teach my kids using the books that have enriched my life the most.

I will try to continue sharing my journey planning for our homeschool, sharing what works, and even what doesn't. Happy planning until next time!


*My daughter, Miss D, is officially a high school freshman in the Fall, but she was able to start LDS seminary this year, as an eighth grader. This worked well for my daughter who is graduating from seminary tomorrow night, though she won't really be a senior until this Fall. It's nice to be ahead in something!