My planner

A shot of my planner two weeks before the lessons. As we get closer, it will get messier.

A shot of my planner two weeks before the lessons. As we get closer, it will get messier.

People have asked me how I plan for homeschooling. Truth is, there’s a lot of flexibility in planning. I have two tools that I couldn’t live without: my planner and my 10 minute box.

The planner

The planner starts off all neat (see the images on the other side), and ends up messy. I paperclip each days’ stuff to the planner as we get closer, that way I have all the information I need in one spot. Then I gather all my materials and put them into the box for school – and then we start getting closer. I put down names of books we are reading, if we take a trip to the grocery store I write it down if my kids do any math or reading while we are there. The planner gets messier and messier. I cross things off with a highlighter when we finish them. And at the end of the week, I try to get everything we didn’t finish in to finish.

The planner helps me organize, but I like that I don’t have to stick to it. It’s my guide, my helper – but it doesn’t rule my life. If we need to make changes, we make changes.

10 minute box

My other special tool is my 10 minute box. This box holds plastic bags that have a ten-minute lesson in them. These can be art projects, short lessons, some dot-to-dot activities….there are lots of things in the box and they are all independent activities. We have “light source” treasure hunts. I have “measure the chairs to find the tallest” I have lots of fun activities in the box. The key to using this box is that it givers me a few minutes to set up for the next activity. The kids pick – and I make them pick the same thing. Then they do the activity while I set up.

I also use this box instead of the TV sometimes. And I make them do and activity from here before they get anything on TV.

The 10-minute box is really helpful to give me just that little bit of time I need. It is also neat because I let the kids pick the lessons they want to do out of it – so they feel like they have some control.

I try to put 30 lessons in there on a Sunday and hope I don’t run out. Sometimes my kids really like going to the box, so it can be neat.

Other tools

I also have a bunch of other tools I use. I keep a stock of Lego activities in my head. They can be as simple as “build me the tallest Lego tower you can,” or “Build a castle with your blocks for the Army men to conquer.” All of these ideas are ones that the kids can do to give me a few minutes to set up the next activity, project, or meal, without having them underfoot.

Of course, sometimes they need to be underfoot – like when they are helping cook.

I hope this helps people understand how I go about planning and being flexible.

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