The is one of the ingredients in the TJEd philosophy that was hard for me to grasp at first. I’m a planner. Not just any planner, but an extreme planner. Filling out my calendar, syncing it with my kids’ calendars, and having a very detailed plan is part of my nature. When I initially read Phases of Learning by Oliver and Rachel DeMillie, I ignored this ingredient, and thought “this isn’t for me.” When I reread the book, part of the text under “Ingredient 2” struck a chord with me. It said, “Families and educations run in waves that are about a week in length. Planning on any other level gets you back on the conveyor belt.” Well, I certainly don’t want that! That’s what I’m trying to avoid 😉
So, here’s what I’ve been doing:
I have my main calendar. In this calendar, I have the school year planned out (satisfying the planner in me). The lessons are pretty vague, leaving room for interruptions in the schedule. I use it as a guide to help me when deciding what to do for Kid School each day. It’s also where I track our “set in stone” plans. For example, I know for SURE that we don’t ever make plans for Thursdays. That’s the day we do Mom School in the afternoon, and I share my love of history with my girls. I also know that every other Friday we have Field Trip Friday. Since I’m the coordinator, we never miss a field trip. In The Phases of Learning, the DeMilles also say, “If the whole week seems full and school or family will suffer, change it…” Here’s an example of a week that will need to be changed.
According to my plan, every single afternoon is full. In this case, we’ll probably skip gym class for the week so we can have one afternoon with nothing on the calendar. Now, this doesn’t mean that we’re out and about each and every day. Monday and Thursday are already scheduled to be “home days,” but I have activities planned. We need at least one day so the kids can pursue their interests.
My kids each have their own calendars. They’re mostly blank inside, except for the few activities that don’t change. Each Sunday (or Monday morning during breakfast if I’m scrambling), I enter the plan for the week. I do it one week at a time, so if something changes, we can easily adjust the schedule without ever feeling “behind.” That’s the worst feeling, isn’t it?
I’ll admit, when we first started homeschooling I was so uptight about sticking to a schedule, that if we got “behind,” I’d make my kids take their schoolwork to dance class, or in the car to work on. To say it was stressful would be an understatement.
This method works so much better for us,
while still allowing the planner that I am to be content.