Monday, March 28, 2011


I may be overplanning our homeschool adventure. I have been planning what to do for every single year for all three children, from now until high school graduation. Yes, I know Ryan is only 2.  But, well...I'm a planner.

I know we're not supposed to declare our complete and unequivocal plans for the future, making assumptions and ignoring the fact that we don't really control our future. We should always remember that God holds the ultimate plans in His hands. So let me say that, God willing, I've planned out our future as far as homeschooling goes.

I also know that things change. So, my plan isn't set in stone. Computer files are easy to erase. If I find that my first choice isn't working out, I will be willing to change the plan. If I find that my children just absolutely don't enjoy what I've picked out, then I'll be willing to change. I enjoy planning, and I'll enjoy re-planning.

I wanted to plan, though, for several reasons. First, I started researching because I wanted to make sure that there was enough material out there in homeschool-land that I thought would work for us before committing to homeschool in the first place. No worries there - I found more than enough out there! That led me to my next problem - too much out there to choose from!

I continued researching and planning because I believe that continuity is probably a good thing. I wanted to make sure we don't miss anything crucial, and hopping from curriculum to curriculum is not the most effective method: it can make things seem disjointed and out-of-order, and might be hard on the kids. Curriculum B might cover a particular topic only in grades 1-4, for example, and if I started with curriculum A, and only switched to B after grade 4, we might never cover that topic.

Of course, my own schooling was rather disjointed (since my dad was in the military and we moved every 2-3 years), but I ended up fairly well educated, I believe. I didn't take any state history class in high school, and I didn't even take biology, but I think I got around to everything else.

My urge to plan really has more to do with my training in librarianship and scientific research, I have to admit. My doctoral thesis was on planning, after all. Robotic path planning - children's educational planning - what's the difference? Optimum coverage is the goal for both! I have created spreadsheets for every subject, with notes on curriculum choices, websites, ideas about when to teach what, etc. That's what you get when you turn a robotics engineer into a homeschool mom.

I'm also trying to coordinate all 3 kids so I'm not teaching 3 separate grades in every subject every year. There are lots of ways to combine science and history, and since 2 of my kids are so close in age, I may even be able to combine grammar,spelling, etc. for them. I'll have to wait and see what their strengths and interests are, but there are a lot of good possibilities swirling in my mind (and on my spreadsheets).

I am more concerned now that there is so much I want to teach and offer my kids, I may end up overloading them. After the basics of reading, math, science, history, English, Bible, then of course I'll have to add music, art, computers, robotics (of course), and what about foreign languages? High school level only, or start in elementary school?

Time enough for that later. I've got the basics planned out, and I need to just stop planning and see how things go for a while. I'll write about some of my curriculum choices in the next few blogs. I'm just warning you ahead of time - it may be more detail than you want to know! But I promise I won't attach any spreadsheets.

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