How to Over-Plan, Over-Schedule and Drive Yourself Crazy

Welcome!! Thank you for joining in as we kick off Day 1 of the “10 Days of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Homeschooling!”

Click to go to first post.

Today we begin with friend, first year homeschooler, and guest-poster Jeni from Peace and Carrots! Thank, you, Jeni!

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How to Over-plan, Over-schedule,

and Drive Yourself Crazy

When we started on our homeschooling journey roughly one year ago, I was eager and enthusiastic. I read books, blogs, articles, and anything else I could get my hands on, filling my mind with all kinds of options and approaches for what homeschooling would look like for our family. Knowing that one of my weakest areas is organization, I spent a lot of time researching different methods for organizing and planning schoolwork and supplies to make things run as smoothly as possible.

I decided to plan out our whole year in advance. (I can hear you veteran homeschoolers laughing.) I spent countless hours, weeks, even, writing up detailed daily lesson plans. I made lists of supplies, broken down by week. I made lists of books to put on hold at the library, scheduled for two weeks before we would need them -and of course I had to verify that the library did, in fact, have those titles. Then, after all of the plans were complete, I spent a few days “ripping.” I disassembled ALL of our workbooks and consumable materials, and filed them into neatly-labeled folders. When I was finished, it was truly a thing of beauty. Daily lesson plans for the entire year! Tidy files, labeled by week, ready to use! Lists! Supplies! Organization! The underused OCD part of myself was absolutely thrilled.

Then a few things happened. We “officially” started homeschooling, and I realized it was awfully difficult to get through all of my wonderful plans with my then-4 year old kindergartener. Her attention span wasn’t very long, and she was easily distracted. Throw in a 2 year old little brother, who wants to be involved in absolutely everything, and it’s no wonder the kindergartener had a hard time focusing. Some of our curriculum was a poor fit, and we dropped it. Then we got sick. Then we took some unscheduled time off.

By the time a month had passed, my beautiful plans, so carefully created and tended, were worthless. Those files of workbook pages were jumbled as we progressed in different areas at different rates. In short, it was an awful mess. I tried a few times to buckle down and get us back on track – after all, I couldn’t let all of my work go to waste! I finally realized that this particular method of planning and organizing was just not effective for us. I overplanned. I overscheduled. And I was driving us all crazy.

Here are a few things I learned:
1. Planning and organization is good. It’s what keeps a homeschool running smoothly.
2. Flexibility is essential, especially when dealing with young children, and especially with other even younger children in the home.
3. If I’ve given something an honest try and it still doesn’t work, it’s time to switch to something else.
4. Routine is good and healthy. Rigorous scheduling is not.

I’m looking forward to planning our schoolwork for next year. I’ll probably use some of the elements from this year, but I’ll definitely allow for more flexibility – after all, that’s one of the key things that has drawn me to homeschooling! I will plan out our lessons a few weeks at a time, so that we don’t have the stress of “getting behind.” Above all, I’ll commit our homeschool (and home life in general) to prayer and to God, and strive to do my best to lead my children to Him in all things.

Jeni Allen is a homeschooling mom of two, living the dream in middle Tennessee. She enjoys reading, knitting, gardening, and napping. Oh, and chocolate. Can’t forget the chocolate. She blogs (occasionally) at Peace & Carrots.

Image Credit: Image by Mashe, Purchased From Fotolia

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Thank you for following along on our journey through 10 Days of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Homeschooling!

Remember, as they go live, you can find links to all ten posts in my series on the Intro Post. Or, you can go straight to the next post in the series.

“The 10 Days” Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

To find  ALL the blogs participating in this run of “The 10 Days” Series, click the image below, a collage of photos for all 28 ladies participating. You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much, much more. Many thanks to iHomeschool Network for organizing this fun blog hop!

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bonny
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bonny

when i began homeschooling this past fall, with a 4 year old kindergartener, i was so exact in all of my teaching! HAVE to cover every detail of the prepackaged curriculum lessons…HAVE to use supplimentary library books, evry week! and now, as we near the end of year one, and with much encouragement from fellow (veteran!) homeschoolers, i am finally at peace with googling a topic, finding a web article, maybe a video, and then “winging it” for a two day unit study! ahh, the freedom of relaxed expectations…the realization that this is more about keeping the curiuosity for learning… Read more »

Amber
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Amber

Having to cover every page in a packaged curriculum/book is one of my hangups, too. “We can’t not finish it!” It took me a while to get to the point of being to skip a page if we didn’t need it, or cut out half of the math practice page sometimes, etc.

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Nicole Anderson
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Nicole Anderson

So true! I have been there before! I label myself an “organization addict” because I over, over organize ALL the time! It have been a good ministry partner for my husband for this very reason, but I, too, have had to learn to adjust my organization to fit the “surprise” patterns of homeschooling! Thanks for sharing! Sometime maybe I’ll blog on how I manage to “flexibly” organize 😉

Amber
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Amber

I would love to see you blog on flexibly organizing. =)

Dawn
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Dawn

Wonderful! You figured all that out in the first year. Good for you. We are in year 13 of homeschooling and I still struggle with over planning sometimes.
Blessings,
Dawn

Amber
Guest
Amber

Year 13!
My first thought was WOW! Then I realized that I started my oldest at 3 and she’s about to be 12 – I’m not that far behind you!
Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting and encouraging Jeni on her journey. Blessings ~

Katie
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Katie

I think most homeschool moms experience this! It took me a few years to figure out I was over planning, and am still trying to find that delicate balance between planning and being flexible. So thankful for God’s grace in walking this homeschooling road!!

Amber
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Amber

Balance! I believe you struck on a key word there. = )
I’m so thankful for his grace on this journey, too!!

Mary
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Mary

I can really relate!! As we approach year 4 I see just how much I have relaxed, and I know my children learn more, too.

Thanks for kicking off this series! Such a fun 10 Days topic!!

Amber
Guest
Amber

Only year 4? Sure does seem like I’ve known you on Twitter for so much longer. =) Blogosphere time is so distorted. =)

Rebecca
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Rebecca

Flexibility is so key!!!! It’s great to have goals and a general plan, but you need to build in time and the ability to change it when necessary!

Amber
Guest
Amber

^ What she said!!
But flexibility and changing has never been a difficult skill for me. 😉

Gena
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Gena

Great post! This is my 6th year of homeschooling, and I think I’m finally understanding and accepting (without getting so frustrated) the flexibility factor!
–Gena at ichoosejoy.org

Amber
Guest
Amber

Ah, frustration!
Sometimes I need to remind myself that cutting something out, adding something in, or postponing something WITH FRUSTRATION is not the same thing as doing it WITHOUT. =)

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.
Blessings~

Netta
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Netta

Wow.. I relate. We’re in our 8th year of schooling and I’m still struggling with wanting to have too much… thanks for sharing!

Amber
Guest
Amber

It’s a struggle! I want to be thorough and make sure we cover enough material but it can so easily be overwhelming and counterproductive!
Thanks, Netta, for stopping by and adding a word of encouragement.

Dawn @ The Momma Knows
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Dawn @ The Momma Knows

Wise words from a homeschooling newbie! It’s a good thing you figured out what doesn’t work right away! The planning/overplanning is something I think we can all struggle with from time to time.

Amber
Guest
Amber

You’re right, learning out early is good! And I think you’re also right, we all struggle with it at some point. =)

Mama Jenn
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Mama Jenn

Great, great advice!!! Planning and having a routine are great, but flexibility is a MUST!!!!

Amber
Guest
Amber

ROUTINE! A key word for me. I’m notsomuch a schedule person but we need a good routine because we’re easily on the flexible side. =)

Theresa
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Theresa

Very true! Flexibility is very important!

Amber
Guest
Amber

Okay, Okay.. let me be the first to admit that this was the first year I actually PLANNED it out in detail down to the lesson. I never thought I would!! But we actually needed a little more planning. And I said from the beginning that we would still be flexible, so if we got off track, we would just keep working on whatever lesson was next on the list. So I’ve never let it stress me out if we’re working on the wrong day.. but it has been a huge help to look and see where we “should” be,… Read more »