Why I Don't Daily Plan In Our Homeschool

"You are a type A personality, aren't you?" my doctor asked as I packed away the papers full of information I came to discuss with him.

"Yeah, I guess so," I replied.  Everyone always pegged me as a type A, especially doctors, because I love to research subjects that are important to me, and I liked my house relatively clean.  So I always just assumed that's what I was, a classic Type A.

It was only after I had kids that I began to consider that maybe "Type A" wasn't exactly a perfect description of my personality.  I always viewed things like cooking and sewing as more art than science (not very Type-A), and I was never very into planning (also not Type-A).  But after I had kids, I realized that I had a spontaneous, let's-just-do-something-fun today side, which is far more descriptive of a Type B than a Type A.  During the baby and preschool years, I loved having my days mostly wide open, and being able to fill the hours with whatever struck my fancy.

I admit, as my kids grew older and homeschooling requirements grew more immediate, I mourned the loss of my newfound spontaneity.  Because you can't really be spontaneous when you have a list of things to be done each day, can you?

But this is my second official year of homeschooling (sort-of third year, but Kindergarten is only part time in our house), and I have learned that I still do not like to have my days planned out.  When I have a list of have-to's for each day, I feel the pressure and stress rising in my chest.  If I don't feel the freedom to run errands, grocery shop, or just declare a spontaneous field trip day, homeschooling can quickly start to feel like house arrest to me.

So my solution?  I don't daily plan our homeschool.  Instead, I plan weekly.

In my homeschool planning pages, I have a spreadsheet that includes all the different subjects, and what lessons and pages should be done each week.  I don't care how much we get done in any given day, as long as we do some school each day and get everything done that I have assigned for that week.

This has been really freeing for me, and allows me to still play with our weekly schedules a little bit.  If I realize we have no food left in the house, we might go grocery shopping and only do two subjects that day - then the next day we'll catch back up.  If math lessons are humming along really well, we might do two or three lessons in one day and give ourselves a couple days off of math the rest of the week to focus on history instead.

(Or freedom to gather chicken eggs with friends?  Just trying to make the pictures work here.)

So far, this weekly planning has been working much better for our family and my personality than daily planning would.  I imagine some adjustments will be needed as the kids get bigger and their workload increases, but even then, I remember handling my own schoolwork much the same way when I was homeschooled.  If I felt like doubling up on a few subjects and giving myself a lighter workload the next day, that's what I did.

So I don't know if I'd technically be a Type A or Type B, but I know as far as daily planning goes, as long as the weekly work gets done, anything goes.  I love that I can still make homeschooling work with the side of my personality that loves freedom in my schedule.

Do any of you daily plan (in homeschooling or just in life)?  Would you consider yourself a Type B or Type A personality?

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Brittney Galloway said...

I don’t plan at all, which is totally surprising to me as I usually describe myself as type A with the ability to moderate myself. Ha! Instead, I document in my planner what we actually get done in a day. It’s working for us! I think because I planned and researched our curriculum choices so much that it just kind of flows. Science, history, and art are important to me but are integrated into so many things or labeled as “fun” activities so I don’t usually need to be intentional about getting them in. Math and, oddly enough, handwriting have been my go to “must get done if nothing else.”

Bekah said...

We don't have kids, but I tutored this summer and made typed, full-page lesson plans with objectives, material lists, and everything else, so I can't even imagine what would happen if I taught full time! EEEK! I have a full size planner and use it absolutely religiously. If Type-A gets more intense with age, I should be one verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry organized old woman.

Elizabeth said...

From your writing it definitely seems like you've got a good balance of being organized but with a creative streak. When you share about things like parties it sounds like you have a knack for taking your ideas and seeing them come to fruition. I'm relieved to hear you don't have a detailed daily plan for schoolwork. I don't either. It's nice especially if you have a vague idea of the subjects in your head and can pull out what seems to fit into the natural flow of a given day. In terms of my personality, I have that awkward combination of clutter and unfilled creative fantasies. The clutter keeps me from doing the spontaneous adventures. So although I think of myself as creative and adventurous, I feel like I'm always buried in messes that hold me back. I think of organized people as being good at finishing tasks and moving on. Just like with music they say that if you practice and prepare enough, you will become good at improvising. Whereas clutter and procrastination go along with perfectionism. I get stuck for months not being able to do something like an art project because I'm obsessed with searching for the perfect way to store the art supplies and keep the work surface clear. I'm good at baking from scratch, but can't keep the kitchen clean. I also think of myself as organized in my own way, but again, the details sometimes stop me from getting simple tasks done. I'll get around to a blog post about it eventually!

Natalie@She Builds Her Home said...

This is so me!!! I always think of myself as Type A but I'm really not with school, which has been surprising to me! I do the same as you and document it after we do it :) it has worked really well for us. I think because I'm somewhat type A, it would stress me out even more to have a plan because then I'd feel like we HAVE to get it done, when really we might want to skip science that day and go to the park!

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