As we look ahead to the upcoming homeschool year, many of us are refining our goals, determining our courses of study, planning our schedules, and deciding on materials. No question – having a plan is essential to meeting our goals! When I have completed a schedule or written out our homeschool plans and goals, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. We should “count the cost” before taking on any endeavor. And it is good to plan, to have a vision, to know the direction in which we are going. But here are a few cautions I can pass along, based on personal experience!
Submit your plans to Him. In the midst of this flurry of activity, it is well to remember to set aside time to spend with the One who holds the key to our efforts.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
Time is such a precious gift! And of course, we want to use it wisely as we plan our homeschool years.
Give up the good for the best. There are so many wonderful things we would like to do with our children. And there is only so much time in the day! But if I try to do it all, the entire family will end up burned out, and no one will end up with what they need. Our homes should a place of comfort and peace – and we establish the mood in the home. We can’t do this if we are frazzled. By praying over each choice, and enlisting my husband’s support and encouragement, those activities we choose may not reflect the “latest” available, but they will be those things that are best for our family.
Use a pencil, not a chisel. I need to leave breathing room in my homeschool plans, room for life to happen. Some of the most important lessons our children will learn will have nothing to do with academics. Training our children in the way they should go takes time – and those “teachable” moments will most likely not be itemized on our things-to-do list. We cannot anticipate the opportunities that God will provide to address immediate needs; opportunities too rich to pass up simply because our schedules say, “today is the day we work on multiplication, study the Roman empire and dissect a frog.” Sometimes the best academic lessons are those that happen serendipitously. And sometimes the best homeschooling days are those that veered seriously off the beaten path.
Develop a routine. A regular routine serves as the tracks that keep the train moving forward. A routine is the one organizational tool that can keep us from becoming discouraged, that can help us see progress, that can help us maintain sanity when up to our necks in children, chores and books! If everyone already knows what is expected of them, my day becomes much simpler.
Keep your finger on the “off” switch. I sit down to check my e-mail, check the news, visit a few blogs, enjoy a touch of politics and the next thing I know two hours have passed! That sucking sound I hear is my goals and plans for the day being absorbed in the vacuum of time! One way I have found to combat this problem is to schedule in blocks. Computer time is just another block of time – when it’s over, it’s over. By prioritizing the things I want to do on the computer, when my block of time is over, I will have already accomplished my most important goals.