As you are likely in the midst of homeschool planning, and I am not, this being the first year I won’t be homeschooling, I knew that I wasn’t just asking what I want my kids to know, not just knowledge bits, but what I want my kids to really know.
So how to plan homeschool?
Not the lofty, high-minded stuff I planned when I first began homeschooling years ago (like memorizing every constellation, familiarizing ourselves with university-level calculus, or practicing with SAT essay practice tests.)
Now that my third daughter is entering her college years, my two oldest have already graduated, and my youngest is entering his first year of high school, I don’t see homeschool planning the way I did. Today I’m going to discuss unconventional homeschool planning beyond the basics.
I leave curriculum choices, daytimer or online calendar choices, determining effective routines, deciding how to approach second languages, building college-worthy portfolios, creating an art desk, or discussing high school transitions for another time.
(In fact, I will gladly discuss all these things in our monthly workshops in the Homeschool Mama Support Group).
Let’s talk about unconventional planning, but still super important, and IMO way more important life skills.
But I’m still not specifically speaking about how to set a table for Thanksgiving, when a child should learn to build a fire, how he should get skills to learn to invest, or if he should learn to darn his socks.
Here are the most important things I want my kids to know…
a. I want my kids to learn that can do stuff independent of me.
It’s usually stepping aside, letting them figure stuff out for themselves. That figuring out stuff can look messy sometimes. But sometimes I am in awe of how capable they are. Give them so much bandwidth to do things. Live their lives now. Let them learn what they want to learn now, so they can build on their learning when they need it.
b. Forcing their character to align with my character expectations (or teaching character curriculum).
First, “more is caught, not taught”, so live the thing in front of them. (And if you don’t flawlessly do that, because you won’t, NO ONE does, then acknowledge when you don’t, share why you think it was important that you acknowledge you didn’t do something right, show them how to correct themselves and you’re teaching them that you’re correcting yourself.
c. Insisting they have the same education as each of their siblings.
Even in your homeschool, your kids aren’t the same, so don’t do what the schools do, assume they need to learn the same things at the same stage. How can I learn to customize their education?
- Observe. Watch them.
- Follow their interests.
- Follow their rhythms: how they like to learn, screen time, being outdoors, how to have fun.
- Learn how they learn. Consider reading the book, Learning How to Learn by Barbara Oakley. (We’ll be including her book in the upcoming season of the Homeschool Mama Book Club).
- Outsource and include your community.
d. Teach them life skills.
I recently saw a post on a Facebook thread asking if there was a list of life skills that each kiddo should learn. I don’t think you need to fit in teaching life skills, I think you need to allow kids to live lives. Do things. Learn things. Assume they’re not too young to do their taxes (even though hopefully no country is assuming 12-year-olds should pay taxes). Is there an age kids can learn to cook stuff I don’t think so. Can they pull stems off cherries independently? Then they can learn.
e. Help them be lifelong learners.
They don’t need you for that. They were born for that. We just need to get out of their way.
How to plan homeschool? Determine what you most want your kids to know. What do I most want my kids to know? My goal is to mirror truth and grace toward them and to live their lives on purpose confidently and authentically.
Which means I’m…
a. I’m gonna have to tell them the truth when the rest of the world might not be kindly assertive.
Though some of what I share might not be heard and absorbed for a few years yet.
b. I’m gonna give them grace aka love them no matter what, even if…
Even when how they engage or what they do or how they choose to live life wouldn’t be on my terms.
What do I want them to know at their core?
- to be independent in the world
- to coexist in the world
- to find something they enjoy doing
- to find something that brings them purpose
- to find a way to make an income doing the things they enjoy
- to bring value to those they love and their community
These are the things I want my kids to know: what do you want your kids to know?
Reimagine your Homeschool Workbook
Introducing the Reimagine Your Homeschool Workbook! Reflect on the past year, assess what worked and what didn’t, and build the homeschool you truly want. Evaluate curriculum, routine, philosophy, and plan for the future. Get renewed inspiration and fresh ideas.
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