Last summer I spent two solid weeks - and I mean solid - planning out our current academic year. I took over the family room, spent hours pouring over catalogs, homeschool books, and the internet. I pestered my friends and family for advice. I created spreadsheets, checklists, notecards, etc., etc., etc., to try to organize my thoughts. Eventually I came up with a forty-week plan for each of my girls, put it on a spreadsheet, made photocopies of everything we'd need, created weekly assignment sheets, put together a weekly assignment binder for each kid, and lastly, I placed all materials into a file box. Each girl has a section broken into four quarters, each quarter has 10 weeks and into each folder for every single week I put any materials we would need according to the plan. Oh - and I also went through the art, science and history books and shopped for any materials we would need for projects so we would be prepared.
Phew - just typing that makes me tired. It was a TON of work. I was so exhausted from the planning that I wasn't sure I had it in me to actually homeschool. Now, this may seem insane, but I have tried to be less organized in the past and I ended up fizzling out and getting so behind where I wanted to be, having lots of resources that I'd purchased go to waste because I hadn't planned out how to fit them in, etc.
This year is actually going incredibly well. We are sticking to the plan and it's been relatively smooth sailing. Naturally, the plan is just a guideline and there have been things I've changed or tweaked. We haven't hit all the art projects I wanted to do, but I think we'll have a fun art week or something and do those. They are incredibly fun and the girls would love it. We're one composer "behind" (if we're looking at the plan) in our music appreciation work. And I have a hard time keeping up with my read-aloud schedule. I do the reading, it just doesn't happen like the plan, which is what I expected. I just added the books to the plan so I'd have something to shoot for.
So the question is - can I handle another year like this? Can I go through the pain of making a plan for next year? After the sweat, blood and agony of last August, I swore up and down that I would plan ahead the next time. I was thinking that since I actually have a plan, I could be like those other homeschool moms I read on various message boards that start planning in the spring and by June 1st are all set for the next year. I was relishing the thought of not "thinking homeschool" over the summer. But now I don't know. I don't know that I want to spend so much time planning. I get torn between unschooling completely or a boxed curriculum (notice the common thread there - no planning). I've been doing a (loose) classical approach from the get-go (except the very first year when I did Five in A Row). I'm feeling restless with it now. It's been five years. But I feel overwhelmed just thinking about next year, especially when it comes to making changes in my approach. And I have to admit that at this point in the year (Week 26) I get the itchy, scratchy feeling of boredom. Though if I'm honest, this isn't just in the realm of homeschool. It affects all aspects of my life. I dream of making big changes, moving to a new country, starting a new business, etc., etc., etc. So maybe the urge to make drastic homeschool philosophy changes is simply a sign of the time of year, my brain responding to all the newness bursting out of the earth and a desire to emulate it in my own human way.
So that's where I'm at - contemplating the Pain, er, I mean Plan, for next year. What to do, what to do? I know what will happen - I'll end up doing what I do every year and do nothing until we've finished off this year. And then I'll do nothing for several weeks more because I'll need the mental break. And then at some point in August, I'll post another entry like this wondering what I should do...