As I peruse social media, the same questions keep popping up. What do I do when we’re far behind the lesson plan? How do I handle it when my child won’t follow it? Letting go of the lesson plan is always a good option.
I’ve had to deal with this many times over the years. At times, my response was a good one…other times, not so much.
It finally occurred to me: sometimes, the lesson plan just doesn’t matter as much as I think it does. Sometimes, it really is ok to just let it go and let my child learn in other ways.
WHEN SHOULD I LET GO OF THE LESSON PLAN IN MY HOMESCHOOL?
Starting Our Homeschool Journey
When I first brought my little boy home to teach him myself, I was excited but terrified. A whole new world had opened up to us – a world of learning, of discovery, of things that we could tackle together.
I envisioned all the fun things we’d do together, like nature walks, projects, and experiments. Our little one-room schoolhouse would be fun!
Of course, I had no idea how to actually do that, so I turned to what I did know.
I bought all the textbooks, workbooks, and teacher’s guides that were recommended. Then, I sat down to write a lesson plan.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not in any way against textbooks, teacher’s guides, or lesson plans. I’ve used them many times over the years, and I’m thankful for them!
However, something that I learned after our first few years of homeschooling is that lesson plans are tools. They are there to make our lives easier, to help us quickly figure out what to teach our children.
But in the end, they are tools. The lesson plan is not your master!
Moving Away from the Lesson Plan
During certain times of the year, it is completely normal to fall into what some might call a “slump.”
That shiny, new curriculum is no longer shiny or new. The schedule that was so welcome at the beginning of the year…well, it’s not so welcome now.
When this happens, be encouraged. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. Rather, it often just means you need a ‘change in scenery,’ so to speak.
This is the time when moving away from the lesson plan might be just the thing you need.
It doesn’t have to be anything huge and dramatic. Often, just a simple, temporary change will do the trick.
It might be as simple as taking a “Spring Break” or “mental health week,” whichever seems the most appropriate. It really is a good thing to take a break!
Or, you may want to change things up with a fun unit study or field trip. Learning doesn’t only happen through “formal” school work, and changing things up can make a huge difference.
Sometimes, even something as changing up your routine can do the trick. Do school outside (if the weather is nice), add in some fun activities like a read-aloud or cooking class, or supplement your studies with a fun movie.
It might not be in the lesson plan, but that’s ok. It can even be a good thing!
Homeschool Encouragement in the Midst of Change
Whether your homeschool is in need of a significant change or just some little tweaks, please be encouraged. Those changes can actually have a lot of benefits!
Not only can they give you and your kids the break you need, but those changes can also teach your kids a very important lesson. I’ve seen it happen with my own son!
Many of us like things to happen according to our plans, but in ‘real life,’ how often does this actually happen?
If your life is anything like mine, the answer is probably “not often.”
How are we to react when our plans go awry? How should our kids react?
Many times during the past 15 years, we have had to make changes in our lesson plan, schedule, our curriculum, and even our way of approaching homeschooling.
Sometimes, these changes were due to things like medical or financial issues. At other times, they were due to developmental changes – my son grew, changed, and learned differently than he did when he was younger!
By being open to making changes in our homeschool, even little ones, I was able to teach him how to react to those situations as an adult.
Today, one of his strengths is his flexibility. As a situation changes, he can change with it and still keep his focus. (Have you ever stopped to think how rare ability that is?)
This has already served him well in ministry, in his college courses, and at various jobs. And I know that, as he grows older, it will be a benefit in ways I can’t even yet imagine.
Just think, he learned all that from our both being willing to move away from the lesson plans!
Could letting go of the lesson plan be beneficial in your homeschool? If so, be encouraged and inspired to let go!
Jennifer Duncan is the owner and founder of A Helping Hand Homeschool, where you can find tips, resources, and support for homeschooling ‘out of the box’ learners with fun and faith. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
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