We’ve all heard the saying, “Keep it simple sweetie!” When it comes to homeschool planning, this couldn’t be more true. I don’t know why – well, actually I do know why homeschool planning can be stressful and overwhelming. Nine times out of ten it boils down to overthinking it.
So how do you keep it simple, especially if you’re new to homeschooling, educating multiples across different age ranges and grade levels, and/or looking to switch it up? Allow me to share what has worked, hasn’t worked, and where I’ve managed to find balance.
The Forced KISS
Hopefully you’ll find the humor in what I’m about to say. Have you ever had a forced kiss? One that wasn’t welcomed or maybe even unexpected? What was your reaction? Yuck! Stop! Ew! Not now! That’s not gonna work! And a number of other things, right?
Now plug that into homeschool planning that is forced. Now we have schedules, routines, and children that are screaming, “No! Stop! This isn’t working!” Although I’m comparing two totally different things, the feelings are still mutual. Why? Because often times we can get caught up in trying this method, or that system, or this style, or that way.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with trying a little bit of this or a little bit of that. In all honesty, that’s how you inevitably find your homeschooling sweet spot, but let me help you navigate around some of the most common potholes when it comes to planning.
I want to share five things to dodge when homeschool planning.
1. Don’t go into it blindly.
Yes, the saying is true across the board – if you fail to plan then you are planning to fail. Don’t beat yourself up about that thought though. Instead, make up in your mind that you will do some type of planning. And don’t get too focus on being super organized either! One word: Dory.
2. Don’t spend a lot of money on lavish planners and calendars.
Yes, this can be an issue. There are TONS of fabulous planners and calendars out there that seem like the perfect fit. Trust me when I say that you don’t need lavish to make planning easier.
3. Don’t plan with an absolute mindset.
In other words, give yourself some wiggle room. Remember that homeschooling is a lifestyle. It should be meshed into your life instead of just a part of life. Therefore, things happen both expected and unexpected. The way you think about planning can help alleviate any stress that may occur.
4. Don’t change your family to fit a plan.
One of the biggest (and silent) issues that leads to stress with planning is making your family change to fit a plan. What should really happen is planning in a way that naturally fits your family. We’ll talk about this more later.
5. Don’t think you have to have it all together.
This is one of the biggest myths and the hardest to trump. For some reason we think that successfully homeschooling is always having our plans together and executed as planned. Sorry mama, it doesn’t always work that way. Give yourself a break!
Now that we’ve talked about what not to do, let’s get on with five ways to truly keep homeschool planning simple – KISS style.
The Welcomed KISS
I don’t really have another analogy for a welcomed kiss, more than just saying that it’s much easier to handle when you know its coming. Same thing can be said for homeschool planning. It can be a lot less stressful and overwhelming when you expect it. So, let’s talk about five ways to keep homeschool planning simple.
1. Prepare your mind.
This may sound kind of weird but it’s true. Planning for anything, especially homeschooling, takes a certain mindset. What kind of mindset, you ask? In my honest opinion, it simply takes a mindset that is sure and confident. You know your family best and you know what’s best for your family. Keep these things and mind and go with it. It’s best to get this sooner than later.
2. Keep in mind your unique family dynamic.
With all of the methods and styles floating around it can be easy to try to make your homeschool fit one of those. Don’t do it. Actually, do just the opposite. Make a style or method fit your family. In most cases you’ll find that a mixing and matching styles and methods fits best.
3. Take into consideration your family’s needs.
I heard a saying last year that has stuck with me and made homeschooling much easier. Go where the needs lead. Again, the same should be considered when planning. What are your family’s unique needs? For my family, we observe Biblical Feast Days so there are certain days and weeks that we will be taking breaks. We also homeschool four days a week. Knowing what your family’s needs are will work wonders while planning.
4. Write it down.
A plan is much more “concrete” in a sense when it is written down. I suggest using a planner of some sort, but remember that it doesn’t have to cost bookoos of money. There are tons of freebies floating around out there, but there is one that I’ll be using this year that I highly suggest looking into. Click here to see my personal planner choice and here for my son’s student planner for 2019-2020!
Regardless of what you choose, make sure it’s something that will fit your planning style and have space for all your needs.
5. Welcome any changes.
This is probably my biggest tip. I don’t care how strategic or OCD of a planner you are, change is going to happen. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control and being okay with that beforehand will cut out on being super overwhelmed if (or when) it happens. There are days that naturally get out of whack. You know what would make it ten times worse? Trying to make the day continue “as planned” when all you and your kiddos need is a break!
Trust me when I say that it’s perfectly okay to have off days, down days, upside down days, and even backwards days. There may come a day when homeschooling in the afternoon or evening is best. Other days you may need to take an unexpected break. Never forget that children are always learning. Always!
Now I don’t just want to leave you hanging with this blog post. I want to help you out as much as possible because I know firsthand how important it is to plan and organize your homeschool. A couple years ago I created a Super Easy Homeschool Planning masterclass for moms. Best part is it’s FREE!
In the Super Easy Homeschool Planning masterclass I walk you through four easy steps to plan your homeschool year with grace and easy, year after year. We talk budgeting, brainstorming your year beginning to end, your year at a glance, and a glance at how to lesson plan. I even threw in an extra video that talks about choosing a homeschool schedule that works for you!
All of this is FREE and can be downloaded at any time from the Shop. Not to mention, you get unlimited, lifetime access to this masterclass because it has been formatted as an easily accessible PDF! Download to your computer and everything you need is within the PDF! Each year I update the planning calendar so you can either download a new one each year or just shoot me a message to get a new one at no extra cost to you!
Oh, and one more thing! I have a special invitation for you… how would you like to join me for a live homeschool planning party? Join me March 10th at 8p CST on our YouTube Channel where I’ll be livestreaming and planning out my next homeschool year! Come with all your planning and organization question to have them answered on the spot! Click the invite below and SUBSCRIBE to our channel, and don’t forget to click that bell so you’ll be notified of when I go live (and when new videos are posted)!
In the meantime, tell me how planning your homeschool year typically goes! Let me know in the comments below!