Let the journey be shaped by the curiousity of the child…
Questions we sometimes get are: “How do you fill your days?” or “Do you plan daily?”
When confronted with these questions, I tend to say: “No, we don’t plan. We do child-led learning, interest-based learning.” And that is true. But… we do plan. I just never realized it! Isn’t that funny?
I just now realized how much we plan, while I wrote down our little, teeny tiny weekplan. Which I will share with you. Don’t expect to much of it. It is just a little something that guides us through the week and indeed helps us to let our children play freely a lot. And there comes another word in mind “guilt”. Feeling guilty about maybe not doing enough. More about that later, because I like to talk to you about planning.
How many of you plan there homeschool year? And how many feel stress while doing that?
I have never experienced stress until last year. In my experience as a homeschooler in the Netherlands, everbody seemed more unschooling, life learning than anything else. Maybe it is the age or the people we hang out with, I don’t know. However, I never experienced stress at the end of the Summer.
Being in the United States it feels different. First of all, the homeschool community is much larger. I think our homeschool community from our town alone is the same size as the homeschool community from all the kids in the Netherlands. That is a big difference. Here I am much more surrounded with other homeschoolers. And since it is much more accepted here, there is so more available. Back to school is not only happening for kids who are going to school, but also for homeschoolparents who are preparing the new homeschool year. And last year I got caught up in that. All of a sudden I felt stress. I never experienced this and felt guilty, kind of awkward and a slight hint of anxiety that we were not busy planning the next school year for our kids. In all those years, we had never done that and it always went well, why should we start now?
I survived last Summer, and all those feelings of stress, anxiety and guilt and we chose to continue with our laid back style of homeschooling. Our kids are doing fine and we follow the seasons and a day-to-day rhythm. Our kids are enrolled in a couple of enrichement programs, which complement our activities and we are active in a couple of homeschool groups. It works for us.
Some days we do a little bit more, sometimes we do a little bit less. We homeschool all-year-round. And we just had a baby, which doesn’t fit in a schedule. We follow our own rhythm. Every day we start with free play, breakfast and than schoolwork till 11:00.
We use a combination of a Waldorf and a Charlotte Mason curriculum. Every day has a daily theme and every afternoon around 3:30 we have tea time with poetry and a treat. I wrote a blogpost earlier on daily rhythm which you can find here. And I wrote a blogpost earlier on our homeschool program with a lot a free resources which you can find here.
Sometimes I think we are not doing enough and than I realize that (outside) play before the age of 7 is the most important work they can be occupied with.
Currently with a teenager in our house, our homeschool work is much more serious. There is more focus towards the future. Maxigirl has a goal, she wants to study Medicinal Herbalism and she is motivated.
“When children learn in their own way and for their own reasons, children learn so much more rapidly and effectively than we could possibly teach them, that we can afford to throw away our curricula and our timetables, and set them free, at least most of the time, to learn on their own.” John Holt, How Children Learn.
This is our Wheel of the Year, with the seasons and all the celebrations. Birthdays, seasonal celebrations (Solstices, Equinoxes) and local (USA and the Netherlands) celebrations are on there.
Every year, we make a yearly overview where we add everything that is important to us. From birthdays, to celebrations, to free days at museums. All the things that we want to remember. And we make a to do list for that year. What would we like to accomplish, we add personal milestones on there.
Next, we make a monthly calendar where we look at the yearly calendar and at the milestones and we translate those to the monthly calendar. During the year, new appointments are added to our monthly calendar.
I mentioned our little, teeny tiny weekplan before. Well, here it is.
I make a weekly schedule that is kind of fixed but flexible enough to be adjusted, according to our month plan and life events. And I have a planner where I write down all my appointments and where I plan my weeks ahead. I haven’t used the latter lately. I tend to only use the fixed weekly schedule and my calendar on my phone.
Every month I fill out our calendar for on the fridge, so everybody knows what we have planned for that month. I laminated a monthly overview, which I can reuse. To fill that one out, I only have to look at my up-to-date month plan.
Reading this back we seem pretty organised. It doesn’t feel like that. The big part of our planning only happens once a year, right between Halloween and New Year, when we start planning for the new calendar year.