If you're just joining me for the 10 Days to a Flexible Homeschool Plan series, then be sure to read the previous posts.
Day 1: 10 Days to a Flexible Homeschool Plan
Day 2: Determining Your School Year
Day 3: Finding Your Routine
Day 4: Deciding What to Teach and When
Day 5: Scheduling Your Resources
Day 6: Putting it All to Work
Yesterday we looked at how to use everything you learned to put together a plan for your day. In an ideal world that would be all you had to do, but things rarely ever go as planned.
Today we'll talk about some of the scheduling challenges we might face. This is where the Flexible Homeschool Plan truly shines.
Sometimes the curriculum that we researched so thoroughly turns out to be not so perfect for our family. With a traditional planner switching curriculum can mean lots of erasing or even throwing the whole thing out. Not so with a flexible homeschool plan.
If you decide to change your curriculum you simply remove the Resource Schedule for that curriculum. That's it!
When you find a replacement you'll complete a new Resource Schedule for it and pop it in your planner.
Adding Subjects, Classes, etc.
Let's say you're three weeks into the school year and you run across a fabulous new curriculum or resource that you want to start using. Adding it into your routine is as easy as completing a Resource Schedule for it and adding it to your planner.
You'll want to also add it to your daily planner (if you have one). You'll notice that I have a couple of blank lines on our daily planner which are specifically for this purpose. I always seem to come across something that I want to add.
What about outside activities and classes? What if you add one to your week that just ruins the block schedule that you so carefully constructed?
The simplest thing to do would be to create a new block schedule for the specific day, or days, that are affected by the addition.
For example, I have a separate block schedule for Fridays because my kids have a PE class from 10 am til 12 pm. With travel time that class takes up our entire morning. I can't very well just skip lessons completely every Friday so I had to create a new block schedule that would work for us on that day.
Regular Block Schedule
Friday Block Schedule
They will happen. You can count on it. Someone gets sick, or the power goes out, or an unexpected visitor shows up, or you just flat out cannot face a day of school!
Whatever the interruption is, you don't have to stress over it.
Missing a whole day is pretty straight forward - you just complete the lessons the next day. But what if you get some work done, just not all of it? How do we handle that?
To be honest, this is another reason why I started planning our school daily instead of weekly. I found that there were some days we just didn't get to everything that I had on our plan for that day and I ended up having to erase the next several days of plans in order to move everything forward. It was a real pain!
By planning only one day at a time I am able to move anything we didn't complete forward to the next school day. Super easy!
Moving Faster, or Slower, than Expected
We don't often stop to consider this particular challenge, especially when planning out our lessons, but it is one that can quickly derail our plans!
What if the curriculum you chose turns out to be much easier than you expected and you need to speed up?
What if it's too hard and you need to slow down?
Or maybe you thought you'd cover a subject once per week but now you want to increase it to two or three times per week?
With a traditional planner, this would be a nightmare. You'd have all those boxes filled in for weeks and the mere thought of having to redo it all .....UGH!
With a flexible plan, it's no problem.
If you want to speed up, assign two lines of your Resource Schedule to a day instead of one.
If you want to slow down, split one line of your Resource Schedule into two and break it up.
Want to cover the subject more, or less, than you originally intended? No problem. Circle the new days on your Resource Schedule and assign the next line to the next day you want to cover it. Simple!
Challenges are truly where a Flexible Homeschool Plan shines. You don't need to worry or stress over changes that are necessary throughout the year, and you have the added bonus of being able to see where you are, what you've already completed, and what you still have coming up, all at a glance.
Tomorrow we'll talk about Structured Free Time, what it is, and how it can add even more flexibility to your school year.
What challenges do you face in scheduling your days? I'd love to hear from you!