When Planners Don’t Work – What do you do?
This year I have decided not to spend time planning. Previously when I’ve tried to plan, I’ve failed miserably, which caused multiple schedule changes and disruptions. So what will I do this year? I’m going to keep a logbook to journal our progress. The logbook will contain goals for our school year as well as specific goals for each month. This year the focus will be goal-setting.
Why does planning not work for me?
I cannot count the times I’ve bought pretty colored planners! After a few weeks of using them, I realized planning for each day or by the week was too time-consuming, and in reality we got “off track” easily. Monthly plans seemed better, but too many changes still occurred. Let’s face it- life happens and plans change. Rewriting plans constantly is NO FUN! Therefore, to avoid the feeling of discouragement, goals rather than lesson plans will be my focus.
Why are goals important?
As I was praying about our upcoming year, I realized there was no motivation to plan. In that regard, I was full of dread. I wasn’t sure how I should plan; there seemed no starting point. That’s when the Lord whispered to my Spirit, directing me that I needed to find priorities. I realized goals were needed to help keep the year “on track,” and I could motivate myself to continue moving forward even when we hit rough patches throughout the year.
Without goals, one can do too little; without goals, one can do too much. Goals encourage focus on what is important. Moreover, specific goals can ensure that required academic topics are mastered as well as the desired Spiritual studies.
A homeschool mission statement as well as a set of clearly-defined goals will help in over-commitment to a myriad of wonderful ideas which, in reality, do not aim at any specific academic vision. Additionally, by having written goals, each task is part of the vision and will not be considered unimportant.
How does one set goals for the school year?
First, return to the goals for your homeschool as a whole. Is there a clear mission statement which focuses on the end result of your homeschool? What is the aim and purpose of this academic year?
Specific monthly goals are key to maintaining an overall mission statement. At the end of each month, return to the goals and measure success. Goals could be divided into categories such as:
Spiritual – Here I outline a plan for discipling, for teaching character, for spending time in the Word, and also for deepening my relationship with the Lord.
Academic – I list areas of academic improvement for each child also including goals in various subject areas. I also include a few topics that I wish to study or research for my own personal growth.
Planning goals for us as homeschool teachers and parents should not be neglected.
Although I’ve experienced failure with planning, I have found a new excitement which comes with prioritizing goals. Join me in prayerfully setting goals for a successful homeschool year!
Lexi and her husband Justin make their home in the Texas Hill Country where you will find messy art projects, dress up clothes, Nerf battles, piles of books, laughter, and lots of chocolate. She blogs about the challenges and blessings of motherhood and homeschooling 5 children (ages 7 and under) on her blog Lextin Academy.
Items that apply to this article and might be of interest:
Colorful Washi Tape (a different color per section or child)
It amazes me how much we actually accomplish when I sit down and talk about goals with each of my kids. They have thier personal goals and of course we have school goals. It gives you time to really map out how you will accomplish them.
Well thank the Lord! Someone else feels the same way .. at least this year. I do the same things and thanks to the Lord and you passing on his message I have a starting point, again.
As 1 Corinthians reads, #3)Blessed be the God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;#4)Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Thanks for sharing and all blessings to you this year.
Hey Lexi, thank you for guest blogging for HHM! I I enjoyed reading your article and posted it tonight on Facebook, twitter and pinterest. I will try to share again later this week. Here is the link if you want to share it too. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=575398669167957&set=a.261814640526363.59585.125184830856012&type=1
I hope you will share another article when you have time.
OMG! I have dreaded this year b/c I hate the “planning” part. We adopted 3 more lil ones this year (bringing us yo 6 kids) and this is my first year schooling 6 which seems overwhelming. Seeing all these uber-planned scheduled from everyone on-line made me really nervous! So I decided, just like you, to chuck the “plan” and do things differently this year! So glad I am not alone! Happy teaching!
I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this! Next year I will be reporting in PA< so I will have to log our progress, but the goals will help me to have an aim, without spending time writing lesson plans AND logging! Thank you for writing this! 🙂
I HAVE BEEN HOMESCHOOLING MY GRAND AUGHTER FOR 7 YEARS.. IN ALL THAT TIME I HAVE TRIED..I HAVE REALLY TRIED.. WENT OVERBOARD TRYING TO PLAN EVERYTHING OUT.. IT NEVER WORKED.. THIS FAMILY IS JSUT TOO UNSCHEDULED IN WORK ETC TO MAKE SCHEDULING EVERYTHING WORK FOR US.. SO WITH LOTS OF FEAR AND GUILT THAT I HAVE BEEN DOING A BAD THING BY THROWING THE SCHEDULES ALL OUT FOR GOOD..I HAVE FINALLY FOUND OUT WHAT WORKS.. AN EASY GOING CURRICULUM EVENTUALLY COMBINED WITH UNSCHOOLING DONE ON THE FLY.WAS HOW IT STARTED..BY USING A LAP TOP WITH A NICE LITTLE GENERAL CURRICULUM WITH GAMES THAT SHE GETS TO PLAY WHEN SHE HAS DONE WELL, SHE CAN STUDY ANYWHERE.. ONE OF OUR FUNNIEST PICTURES IS MY STUDENT SITTING AT A PORTABLE TABLE IN THE BREEZWAY OF HER MOM’S BARN, HER LAPTOP OPEN, GLASSES ON WITH A PRETTY LITTLE PAINT HORSE LOOKING OVER HER SHOULDER LOOKING AT SAID SAME LAPTOP.. WE ALSO HAVE A NICE LITTLE LIBRARY OF BOOKS TO CHOOSE FROM AND A WELL WORN LIBRARY CARD, AN EQUALLY NICE LIBRARY OF EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS I HAVE BUILT FROM TV..WITH LESSON BOOKS THAT WE FIND ALL SORTS OF PLACES AND THE LIST GOES ON..SHE IS LEARNING WELL AND AT HER OWN SPEED WHICH PUTS HER AHEAD IN SOME THINGS AND BEHIND IN OTHERS BUT WE DON’T CARE BCAUSE SHE IS LEARNING AT HER SPEED (WITH ME KEEPING A WATCHFUL EYE THAT THIS DOES NOT GET OUT OF HAND) AND LOVING IT..BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY WE HAVE LONG AND SHORT TERM GOALS THAT ARE REACHED EVENTUALLY WITHOUT THE STRAIN OF TRYING TO FIT THIS SQUARE PEG FAMILY INTO ALL THE ROUND HOLES WE WERE TRYING FOR AND CALLING THAT NORMAL. I KEEP TRACK OF HER PROGRESS.. I JSUT DON’T WORK SO HARD TO KEEP HER ON A TRACK THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR US ANYMORE…:-)
So glad you found what works for you!
As a mom with ADHD I have found that some planning and scheduling works well for me, but I, too, have incorporated a goal setting approach. I have a schedule and routine for each day, but allow flexibility and interruptions. So my schedule is more of an “outline” for what I want to accomplish that day. If it doesn’t get done, I roll it over. It’s more like a “framework” with open and breezy rooms, hehe.