Getting Set Up

Okay, so you have an idea that you want to homeschool. You have been researching for months. You have resources and methods floating around in your brain like crazy. And you kind of feel crazy, too. You are not alone, friend. If you are like me, you have strengths and weaknesses.

In 2008, my cooperating teacher told me something about my 21-year-old self that I had not realized before. It dawned on me that it was conceivable that one person might have known me better than I knew myself. She looked at me with a knowing glint in her eye and in her esoteric style, said, “Holly, your biggest strength is also your biggest weakness, I think.” I looked at her with a little bit of fear. “What exactly do you mean?” She went on to explain that I am a planner at-heart. I will plan ’til the cows come home. But, that came at a cost. My own self-scrutiny would make it hard for me to make a final decision and just go with it. I would also struggle with perfectionism and fear of failure. Since then, I have come to agree with her on most of this. One thing I know is this: I love me some planning. I love being able to sit and plan and plan to my heart’s content. Nonetheless, I have struggled to execute my plans the way they appear on paper, historically-speaking. It happened to me when I taught public school and it still rears its head on occasion to make me all about the planning and less about the doing. It all looks great on paper, but how do I actually execute it?

Also, you might have heard about how in traditional school, the principal makes his/her rounds and sometimes even pops into your classroom unannounced! (GASP!) You know what? I would be that teacher who had a great plan, but it did not matter if my plan said one thing and I was unable to execute. However, I was always prepared to pull my back up plan out. And I did have a great way of not getting to all my plan, so it was instant plans for the next day, already made! Less planning for me! Oh wait, is that supposed to be a good thing? I digress.

My point is, I love planning but have come to love it less and love actually teaching more! This is a good thing, because boy-oh-boy, my kids deserve it. They deserve me invested in them in the moment. I actually love this refreshing way of teaching (homeschool). I love it because I can plan, but I do not put all my hope in my plans. I am more focused on relationships. I love it because I get to learn alongside my own kids. I get to experience the true, the beautiful and the noble right alongside them. I wonder with them. We make school our life, and life our school. I think to myself, isn’t it the way education should be, to be co-learners? Yes, I am still the authority in our homeschool. I get to also be humble and learn alongside them. If not anything else, I am learning my kids.

Planning is great, and it is certainly important. Nonetheless, it is not everything you put your hope in. Real life happens. Some days, you may not even get to what you had planned (DOUBLE gasp!!!). My mother-in-law, who homeschooled before it was trendy (in the 1990s), helped to put things into perspective when she mentioned how some days you will just spend time reading good books, and that will be okay. I understand that now.

With that said, I have mentioned some resources to help get you going.

5 Steps to Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education

Look at the big picture – through twelfth grade. Watch the whole video to see the big picture.

On scheduling your homeschool day

On scheduling your homeschool year

The Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, specifically, Chapter 40: And Just When Do I Do All This? Schedules For Home Schoolers