You may as well know, I am not an uber-planner. If it felt more comfortable and invoked less worry in my life, I would just embrace my unschooling tendencies and go with it. But I’m not fully comfortable with it and my children actually prefer some structure in their lives. I think it is a gene they inherited from my husband’s family – it is most certainly not from me. Regardless, I know I must construct a plan for everyone’s ease of mind.
But as I said above, I am not an uber-planner. I once bought a homeschool planner which segmented days into half-hour blocks and I broke out in hives. Seriously, hives are my go-to stress response. Nothing made me want to run screaming out the front door faster than looking at those little blocks like little barred cells trying to lock me in. Scary stuff.
I understand scheduling works for many families and I admire those who are able to do it. I have often wished to be more like them however scheduling does not work for me and thus for our family. Consequentially, there have been a few(many) very loosely organized years (back to those unschooling tendencies) – and admittedly there has been plenty of self-criticism regarding my “inability” to establish and follow an organized system of learning in my home.
So how does a confessed non-scheduler handle home educating four kids?
I choose a variety of self-directed curriculum and group learning activities.
I chose to be a registered homeschooler (which in British Columbia means I don’t have to fulfill government regulated learning requirements, or report to a teacher), I do this so I don’t have to schedule different learning objectives for four different grades simultaneously.
I create lists for each child which outline daily independent learning requirements, each child can then choose when and sometimes how they fulfill those requirement. Examples: Task: 30 minutes of physical activity – How: their choice, Requirement: s/he must break a sweat or Task: Math Assignment, When: their choice, Requirement: Get it checked and complete corrections before moving on.
For group learning, I like to use Interactive Notebooks, which are multi-grade appropriate, and build knowledge and skills. We rejoice in our gluey fingers and the copious paper scraps. I have had success finding these on Teachers-Pay-Teachers. I like to supplement the topics, and follow rabbit trails but the notebook outline helps me return to center and allows for completion which my kids appreciate.
When everything is done, the kids get free time, including screens (and we have many different screens), they love their screens. This is currency in my house and I, unashamed, use it as a carrot.
My approach to learning may not look like one you might follow – but isn’t that a great thing about home education, this fact that it is tailored to the home in which it is conducted. May our homes and our style of education be a reflection of our unique gifts.
A new season approaches, embrace your ‘style,” ready yourself accordingly and, sleep well (I plan to 🙂 )