Keep The Bigger Picture In Mind, imperfect home school planning

It is the middle of April and I am currently doing something I do not regularly do during this season – school planning. Fun times! I would rather be starting more vegetable plants and mulching the beds. All in due time. Those activities I am saving for when I get overwhelmed with planning and as motivation to finish.

I started in ernest this week looking at which books we had already purchased, talking with another mom about summer group topics, and looking at the Ambleside Online schedule for Year 5. That last point is where I got stuck last night. Do I go with the new or old schedule? How can I fit it within the time frame I looking to achieve (hoping to start Year 6 this coming January)?

What did I do? I went to bed and decided to contemplate how I am “failing” my kids and “ruining their educational futures” in the morning. After all, “if they do not get to finish every book we start, how will they function as adults!!” Yeah, it was time to turn off the computer and go to bed.

This morning I decided to search the blog of a mom who has gone before me for some wisdom on this topic. Coming upon a post describing how she plans her school year sent me away with encouragement. It was a great reminder that I need not be a slave to the schedule, the schedule works for me!

As a rule follower it is hard for me to say, “Yes, we will join in with you to read through a book that is scheduled for a year ahead of where we are.” Yet, I know the kids will gain from doing that particular book in a small group rather than by themselves at home. I will gain more from it as well as I have read other books by Rachel Carson and know how she writes.

Today I will try to step out of the rut I am in and look at the bigger picture. Finishing all the suggested books in the suggested time frame is not the end goal of education in our home. Learning to love and obey God because He also loves us is the goal of education in our home. This is done in a few ways: by creating a love of learning, gaining skills to become a contributing member of society who can think for themselves and willingly help others, and enjoying the beauties He has given us – nature, good literature/art/music, and the wonders of math and science.

Sounds grand does it not? Do I always succeed at this? NO!! I get caught up in page numbers and fraction equations and whether teeth have been brushed.

What is the point of this post? Obviously it is not to show you the perfect way to plan your school schedule. Perhaps this is why some prefer pre-planned lessons, books, and a set schedule given to them (a.k.a. boxed curriculum), and why getting overwhelmed at the options is so understandable. One of the reasons I enjoy using AO is it gives me a general place to start from which I can adjust as needed. Each planning time I go through the same thoughts, considerations, and worries. Each time I remind myself to look at the bigger picture and plan from there.

With the COVID-19 shut down of schooling at a communal building for the majority of kids a lot more parents have had to take on the oversight of daily lessons while also potentially working, teachers have transitioned to online formats, and kids are learning that various aspects of their lives are not necessarily segmented by different physical locations. It is hard. It is different. It is too easy to hear and say, “The sky is falling!”

Keep the bigger picture in mind.

Yesterday that meant music playing during math time while the kids did their work not in line-of-sight of each other, watching a video together in the afternoon instead of reading another chapter of history (the video was compared to the book which was previously read), and letting them sleep in this morning. Once everyone is up and going we will finish this week’s school work and daily goals. This weekend I will sit down with books, pencil and paper, and a spreadsheet to create the upcoming months’ plan. Yes, life will disrupt it. No, I will not have all the other humans agree that my way is the best way all the time. In the end we will all have learned more, grown more. Even if it looks imperfect.