Typically, the words “unchooling” and “planning” do not show up in the same sentence. So how can I claim to be an unschooler and still be scouring the internet for information on how to plan a homeschooling year?
C is 5 this year and, even though kindergarten isn’t mandatory where I live, I have decided to register with a homeschool board. I did this for a couple of reasons:
1. To get people off my back about his education. Everyone is asking me what we’re doing so now I can tell them he’s registered as a homeschooler. It just eliminates some of the much-repeated questions I receive.
2. To give a school board a “trial run.” I know that I want to homeschool but I don’t know exactly what it will all entail, as far as there being required records or plans, or what a meeting with a facilitator would look like, or what a homeschool board will offer in terms of support/guidance.
Back to the whole “planned unschool” idea.
I used to be a schedule-a-holic. My days were planned down to the minute (including time for inevitable interruptions like traffic or getting stopped by a chatty co-worker). I loved it and thrived. It reduced a lot of stress in my hectic life/career and helped me accomplish more than I would have if I wasn’t a planner and list maker.
5 years ago: enter baby #1. He was on his own schedule (of nursing for about 30 minutes every 1-2 hours and not sleeping longer than a two hour stretch until about 18 months). It didn’t match mine. I retired from my business and significantly slowed down my pace so I would be better able to meet his needs. It was an amazing season of growth, trust, and learning priorities. Everything else could wait. My son could/would not. He was about 2.5 before he finally settled into what most of society would consider a decent routine. Which allowed me to settle my life into a bit of routine again. Until his brother was born a couple months after that. Thrown into chaos, any semblance of a rhythm or routine eluded me. Fast forward another couple of years and we moved away from everyone we knew and, consequently, all outside of the home commitments. The first few months were hectic as there was a lot of extra work on the farm which made scheduling anything rather difficult.
A few months ago I started reading about home management binders on Pinterest and became a little obsessed with finding a way to work a planner back into my life. The boys are at a stage where they spend much of their time playing together happily outside, which means that I have more time to figure out things like a housekeeping and time management system that will suit our ever-fluctuating family rhythm. I have been running my home management binder (a “lite” version compared to some of the other ones out there) for a couple months and it has made a huge difference for my family.
I am in the process of figuring out a loose routine that will allow me to have lots of breaks to sit a nurse the baby or change diapers and such, but will also encourage me to stay on top of things in my household, including encouraging the interests of my children. I’m not there yet, but I’m praying about it regularly and the pieces are starting to come together. Including the pieces that require me to be very involved with my boys’ interests and assisting them in furthering those interests, through various methods. Though I’m not planning any curriculum for them, they still deserve my focused attention. Their interests are important to them and, therefore, they are important to me. And kids spell love T-I-M-E. So that’s what I am planning to give them.