How to Plan (When You Don’t Know What’s Next)

How to Plan (When You Don't Know What's Next)

I admit, I haven’t been the best at writing lately. I am burning double-ended candles, and I know that eventually it’s got to end. Right?

Gosh I hope so, because things may be about to get even crazier around here.  I’m applying for a very selective, short-term college Phlebotomy program. I have made it through the first 3 hoops and now I’m waiting to see if I am chosen.

How do you prepare for a season of upheaval in your homeschool?

You plan for it. I don’t know whether I will be accepted into this program or not. It looks like I may be, but they only take 20 students and there were 60 of us that attended orientation. I have to keep an open mind and yet be realistic. I may be gone in the mornings for several weeks.

Whether you’re taking a college class, having a baby, caring for a sick relative, or tearing apart your kitchen for a major remodel, a little planning ahead will go a long way for your sanity.

Be aware of what your students are capable of.

If you’ve got middle school and high school students, they aren’t going to be as dependent upon you as your third grader is, but don’t set the bar too high. Or too low.

Know where you’re going.

If, like mine, your time of uncertainty or upheaval has an end point, prepare for it. Know where you want to be when you reach that point, and plan for it. Come mid-November, I know that life will go back to normal and I have an idea of what I want accomplished by then.

Keep it simple.

Don’t create elaborate lesson plans that lean too heavily on any one thing, if there’s a possibility that the one thing may not happen. You can always add in things as you’re able, when you’re able.

Train your kids ahead of time.

We have 3 weeks before I begin school (if I get in) to start working on expectations and responsibilities. We will have another 4 weeks before I’ll have to be gone during the mornings. This 7 weeks will be our training period. The time you put into preparing them will help later on.

Don’t expect perfection.

Be realistic. When dealing with uncertainty, you cannot expect yourself or your kids to do everything perfectly. This is a good rule for life, actually.

Set a routine.

For us it will be a regular system of what happens in what order, so that they can check it off as they go and they will know when they are done. This includes chores and school work. If they don’t get done, there will be a set list of consequences for their inaction.

Do use a planner.

Without my planner I would be lost. Nothing would get done consistently. Find one you like and use it. Write in pencil.

Touch bases with your kids and husband weekly.

Be sure that everyone understands what is expected, and how things need to happen. Find out how they are handling it.

Hold your plans loosely.

If you have to let school go for a short period of time, it’s not the end of the world. You will get through the crazy time, and then you can get back on track when it’s over.

Are you entering a season of upheaval? How are you planning for it?



The Momma Knows

Dawn (23 Posts)

Dawn is still happily homeschooling after 16 years. She teaches her two sons, 13 & 11, enjoying every minute of "the second time around". She lives in Eastern Washington with her husband, the youngest 2 of their 6 kids, and an assortment of barking, squeaking, and clucking critters. She writes at her homeschool/parenting blog The Momma Knows and her new chapter, Dawn Marie Perkins. You can also find her on Twitter @DawnMPerkins, , and Pinterest.

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  1. says

    We are expecting a baby in a month, so we started our year early to give us a cushion of time before we need to hit the books with a newborn. I also have saved back some of the less teacher intensive activities (like some art) and plan to spend time doing read alouds that I skipped on purpose, knowing we could go back and get them with a nursing baby, for easing us back into our routine.

    • says

      Those sound like very useful plans, Kristy. Saving the art and read alouds for when you don’t have the energy for more rigorous teaching is exactly what I am talking about. Besides, everyone’s going to be busy cuddling your new little one. Who has time for spelling? :)

  2. says

    Lots of great ideas, Dawn! In some ways, these kinds of things almost make us moms better organized than we normally would be. Working part-time keeps me on track much more than when I was home full-time and could get to a lot of things whenever I felt like it

    Here’s to hoping you get accepted into the program!

    Tammy ~@~

  3. says

    We’re also expecting a baby, in about 3 months, and I’m setting up our plans and family rhythm in such a way as to allow for plenty of nursing breaks and even setting myself up for an opportunity to nap daily. Another thing I’ve been working on is getting my kids (5 and almost 3) to help out with housework regularly (and doing it well/properly) so they are used to it when the baby comes and will be able to be more self-directed.
    Flexibility is key and I think that people forget sometimes that you can plan flexibility and interruptions into your daily rhythm :)


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