While planning the school year, I keep in mind each child’s interests, strong points, and weak points. I think of topics that perhaps they would love to learn but don’t know about yet, options that could help them succeed at the things they are struggling with, and how to help them excel at what they are good at.
I also think about what my husband wants them to learn, what I am able to teach and what I have time (and interest) in learning to teach. I try to add joy in the form of picture study, nature study, read alouds, and composer study.
And then, inevitably, I discover a blind spot, something important that somehow completely escaped all my careful planning.
That’s why I go over day-school curriculum lists, check out what classical and Charlotte Mason educators are doing, and read other family’s school plans. I read high school guides and study the course sequences. I listen when other moms talk about curriculum, read curriculum catalogues, browse through our own overloaded shelves, and think about what my older children did at a certain age.
Do all these options sometimes overwhelm me? Yes, but planning and double-checking is a vital part of being a homeschooling mom, like changing diapers is part of having a baby. Not fun, but necessary.
Is there a temptation to overload the children with work? Always, and this is a failing of mine. However, it is easier to reduce the workload during the school year than to add to it. And when a child’s workload looks particularly heavy, I’ll add up the time the work will take just to be sure it is reasonable.
Can they learn it all? Of course not; no one can. But we should at least try to equip our children with the basics for their life and service, suiting their learning to their individuality while providing a strong general foundation. And we should be sure that we are including whatever is important to our own family.
This morning (our first day of school) I suddenly realized that Miss 10 has not yet started the Building Thinking Skills program that our other children enjoyed around her age. And during a casual conversation I realized that some of my children do not have a strong background in church history beyond the time of the Reformation. Who knows what other surprises will show up throughout the school year?
What do we do when we discover a blind spot? Well, I reworked the term’s to-do list to add Miss 10’s logic, and am planning to read aloud a few church history overviews throughout the year. Any other oversights will be added to my plans for next year, unless they are important enough to disrupt our current plans.
How do you avoid blind spots in your homeschool planning?