O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118

The kids

The kids

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Planning… do I have to? or should that be I get to!

I tend not to be a super planner. Over the years I have noticed that there are many who have every moment of every school day planned. I have tried and tried and tried to do that and I fail every time! I can’t make it all come out in the end. Even though I have tried to take each text, divide by my days of school, create lesson plans, etc. We always take far longer to explore a topic than book makers suggest or we manage for 6 weeks and then get so frustrated with the boredom of list checking to match the schedule that we throw it out the window. In the past that has always bothered me. Now I realize that that is how we learn. We don’t want to brush across the top of something. We like to learn something, work on it for a while, take a break for a while and work on something else, and then come back and continue. It has took me 2 years to get through The Story of the World 2. Oh well. We had fun doing it!
So, how do I plan?
First there is the day. I plan it with the large blocks of time. First is breakfast and family work, then devotional and group learning. Then we do our individual learning time for a couple of hours. Lunch is usually about noon. Somewhere between 1 and 2 we have quiet time for an hour or two so everyone can read quietly or play quietly. Then we have evening activities or free time.
Second their is school planning. With things like math or reading, it is easy- we just do the next thing. With things like history and science, I just focus on the time. Monday I will do History. Tuesday I will do Science. Wednesday I will do History, Thursday I will do Science. Friday is a flexible day for co-op, park day, field trips, etc. In this way, we plan to do the next thing for a period of time rather than a specific lesson each day. If we cover one lesson, great! If we cover 2 lessons, great! It doesn’t matter the quantity. What matters is the quality. If I read quality books on a topic and we discuss what we learned, and we only get through half a lesson but we were all engaged and learning was exciting, then I have accomplished my planned goals. At this point my goal is to give my children a broad base, love of learning, and thirst for knowledge. I have found that doing the next thing is the best way to plan my days. I also will plan to throw in extra things during our group time. It might be a video clip from somewhere like Zane Education or a scavenger hunt for information about a day in history from This Day in History. It might be something the family needs to work on or a story I found I want to read to everyone.
There is another kind of planning though- that is my goals for learning. My goal for my children is not to say that we finished book x, book y, and book z this year. My goal is to teach them a broad range of subjects, get them excited and continue them on the path to being life-long learners who will be successful in the world and accomplish their missions and goals. This is where mentor meetings, prayer, and meetings with my husband come in. This is where we tweak subjects, find new ones to satisfy needs as we go along, and find great books. In order to achieve the broad picture, I am constantly refining how we do things. I also set smaller goals for our family.
After I have figured out my smaller goals, I turn to all sorts of resources. My best planning resources are book lists of classics like those found on Ambleside Online, Veritas Press, Old Fashioned Education, 1000 Good Book List, School of Abraham, other homeschooling parents, resources like the Story of the World activity guides or TruthQuest, and the library catalog.
Planning doesn’t have to be complicated- it needs to work for the family. For us, I find that a rough plan of our day with lots of flexibility works best. Others find that a very rigid schedule works best.


  1. Thanks for sharing! I like doing goals for learning too so we know where we're headed! Yes, we often get derailed, but having a plan helps things get beack on track. :)

  2. This is the first time I've been to your site. Thnx for sharing more details.
    Feel free to surf my blog post : wedding styling melbourne