Homeschooling requires planning. No matter what your personality type (yes, even you spontaneous homeschoolers), there’s just no way to get around that truth. When we neglect to plan, goals will be missed, important aspects of learning will fall through the cracks, and the growth and development of our children will suffer.
Yes, I know that such things happen even with the best-laid plans. But, there’s a difference: when we plan and there are issues, we notice them and can revisit the plan and find solutions. But when we don’t plan, so many of the gaps and issues go unnoticed until we’re at a point of panic trying to play catch-up—or until it’s really too late to fix the problem.
The bottom line is that homeschooling is a job, an occupation that requires a certain level of seriousness, academic work, and diligence, even for the more spontaneous homeschoolers with flexible personalities.
Diligence as a Spontaneous Homeschooler
If you love being spontaneous and flexible, the previous three paragraphs were probably discouraging. You might be struggling greatly with all that goes into planning before and during a school year, especially if you’re a spontaneous homeschooler trying to follow the ACHIEVE method. You might be exhausted and frustrated, wondering if you’ll ever be free to enjoy homeschooling.
But, you’re actually here! You’ve processed through what it means to plan and you haven’t run away. Congratulations! That’s progress! And it means you get to read the good news: There are ways to be diligent and well-planned while still hanging onto your spontaneous, flexible approach to homeschooling!
First of all, be assured that the more structured homeschoolers can struggle just as much as you do. Why? Because homeschooling requires flexibility just as much as it requires planning, and that flexibility is a challenge for structured homeschoolers.
The key is to start by recognizing that we all have to have both structure and flexibility, which means both structured and spontaneous homeschoolers alike have to embrace and nourish our strengths while also figuring out how to work within our weaknesses.
Are you ready to start? Here are some tips that can help you capitalize on your spontaneous homeschooler superpower while also learning a measure of structure.
Spontaneous Homeschoolers Use Segments, Not Hours
Just because you need a guide for how much gets done each day does not mean it has to fall into rigid half-hours or hours. Instead, create segments, such as morning, afternoon, and evening. What general categories of activities need to fall into each segment?
Spontaneous Homeschoolers Limit the List
Whether it’s school work, house work, work work, or anything else, be very selective and general about the tasks you list in each of your segments or blocks. Limit it to three to five tasks that keep you on track without hemming you in.
Spontaneous Homeschoolers Focus on Order of Importance
As you list your tasks, go ahead and write them down in order of importance, then stick with that order. This will remind you to get the most important items done first and help reinforce your flexibility throughout the day.
Spontaneous Homeschoolers Avoid Detail
That sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? But, think about it this way. If you create benchmarks that let you know you need to make a certain amount of progress in science and history over the course of the week, how much you get done each day can flex greatly.
You can spend extra time on science here and more on history there. Focus on the topic or subject instead of specific page numbers, allowing yourself to keep going if your students are really engaged. You might even end up going beyond the books and heading outside for an impromptu hands-on activity!
Spontaneous Homeschoolers Record as They Go
In lieu of those detailed plans for each day, write down what you have accomplished instead. (There’s even a planner designed specifically for this approach!) This gives you a record of what you’ve done, lets you know whether or not you’re on a good pace to finish the school year well, and helps you evaluate progress along the way.
Spontaneous Homeschoolers Keep Moving Forward
If something remains undone by the end of one of your segments or blocks, leave it undone! Just move on to the next block of your day and start down the priorities for that block. As the day is ending, revisit your lists. What can you finish up now? What adjustments can be made to move the tasks to tomorrow? What adjustments can be made overall to reduce the number of tasks left undone?
Are you a spontaneous homeschooler with a flexible planner personality? Explore your personality with Planner Personality Quiz