A few years ago, Kendra of Preschoolers and Peace mentioned that she did all her school planning once a year, at the beginning of the year. She didn’t plan or organize or pull sheets monthly or weekly; she just did it all in a big, whole-day smash with a friend.
This appealed to me. At the time, I was only doing K or 1st grade, and so didn’t really need any elaborate laid-out plan, but I kept the idea in the back of my mind.
I am very much impressed by the people who regularly set aside time daily, weekly, or even monthly to get their school stuff in order and laid out. As a planner, it seems like I should be able to do the same. However, I have come to grips that I am an administrator, a big-picture thinker, and a synthesizer/creator/planner, but not a task- and detail-oriented person. I can make an amazing, beautiful checklist that incorporates all the right things in just the right way, but I balk at using them. I jump into big, oversized projects with zest, but don’t keep my eyes on the ball to follow through on the daily repetitive necessities.
If I was to find the perfect fit for my skills and temperament in education, it would be as a school administrator and board member, not as a teacher — especially an elementary school teacher.
So, for me, a huge do-it-all-at-once planning and organizing process fits best. This is the third year I have attempted it, and I’ve figured out a lot of kinks and tricks along the way. I make our plan for the year, print and file papers, ready books, and layout the plans before we begin. However, I don’t keep track of “attendance,” or grades. I am apt to forgo the plan if the boys are caught up in a book or topic or project that is in keeping with my goals but not done in the manner or at the pace I had anticipated (for example, as I write this it is Saturday and my 6yo son picked up the Covenantal Catechism book we did last year and is reading it through. I find that just as valuable — if not moreso — than me leading them through it). I don’t care about “making up time” or finishing books by the end of the year (or before the end of the year).
When it comes to educating elementary students at home, my metaphor is art and dance rather than punch cards or production lines.
I do need a plan, but the plan adjusts to the students and life. We don’t stress over fitting life and the students into the plan. The plan is the path forward, the reminder of our direction and goal.