Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.
It’s the middle of summer.
Summer days for my family this year include a lighter, Harry Potter themed school schedule, lots of sprinklers and water play, and easy crafts that my boys can do on their own (outside of course!).
Summer days also mean I am planning for our new school year.
Honestly, I love this part.
I find it inspirational. A fresh start, a new approach – our homeschool plan existing only in my mind means nothing has gone wrong yet!
Planning for the fall is one of my favorite parts of summer.
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
This will be our seventh year homeschooling. Seven years of reading exercises, history projects, math drills and science experiments. Seven years of growth, struggle, progress and togetherness.
I mostly have this planning part down. I don’t over do it. I don’t spend money on curriculum or supplies that I know we won’t use (well, at least not as much as I used to). I don’t make a rigid schedule that would be impossible to follow (been there, not good).
I know what works for us and plan accordingly.
There is one thing, however, that I am incorporating into this year’s planning that I have never consciously considered before.
This year, I am including what I want in our homeschool plan, and not just what my children need.
How my homeschool planning has changed this year
It may sound a bit ridiculous that I haven’t done this in the past, but hear me out.
My children are homeschooled, whether by choice or design, in an interest-led approach. This means I spend a lot of time thinking about what they need, what they like, and the approach that will help them best learn. It has served us well these past seven years. I wouldn’t dream of changing this.
But as my boys have gotten older, I find that their interests have intensified. It’s been great for learning, but somewhere along the way, homeschool has morphed into me running from one child to the next, one subject to the next, one activity to the next, and one field trip to the next without a thought about how I want homeschooling to be.
If I spend my days, my weeks, my months and my years homeschooling, I want to thrive in it, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love homeschooling my two boys. We have a lot of fun together in our little pack of three, and that’s just the point…
There are three of us in this homeschool – not just the two learners, but their mother/teacher as well.
What’s different this year is that I am simply adding me back into the puzzle.
This year, we are all equal parts of my planning process. We will all be equal parts of the learning as well.
We know about the importance of self-care, taking time away from our children, and pursuing our own interests. This is a little different. This is about the time we spend together as a unit, the learning alongside each other.
Homeschool is as much my life as it is my boys’. I want our time spent learning to reflect this.
Including Mom in the plan
Curriculum. Schedule. Priorities. Interests.
These are the four areas I focus on in planning in our learning. This year, all four of these basic tenets of my planning includes a column for me. To get started, I asked myself some pretty basic questions.
- What curriculums look interesting to me? What would I like to learn this year?
- What would bring me joy in our regular schedule and routines?
- I know my sons’ special interests. What are mine? How can I incorporate them into our learning?
It was not easy for me to answer these questions. I find I have been so focused on my boys’ interests and needs, I may have lost sight of my own.
Based on these questions, here is what I have included in our plan for the year.
- There is a language arts curriculum that I really want to try. It’s ordered and on its way.
- I am interested in a particular museum nearby that my sons have never had any interest in visiting. We’re going this year.
- I think getting outside first thing in the morning, before doing anything else, energizes me for the day. It’s now a non-negotiable element of our routine.
These are simple things, but I would not have thought of them if I were just considering what my boys need.
I want my children to thrive. I am learning that part of helping them do this is having a mom right beside them, thriving as well.
What better way for my children to engage in our days homeschooling, than seeing their mom just as engaged, excited and involved in the learning?
Our homeschool this year will intentionally include me as an active participant, right alongside my learners.
I can’t wait to get started.
How do you include yourself in your homeschool plan?