It’s getting to be about that time again — the season when many of us get the itch to start planning our next school year. Here are five things to keep in mind whether you are in the midst of planning or just trying to finish out this year.
- Include more than just books.
A Charlotte Mason education is one that uses both books and things. It includes hands-on activities like nature study, handicrafts, music, and art. Yet it seems like those activities are the items that most easily get pushed to the side. If you’ve found that “things” have slipped off your schedule, don’t give up. Put them back in your plan with a new resolve to enjoy the change of pace and enrichment they will bring.
- Start with the big picture and narrow things from there, one step at a time.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Planning season is a good time to step back and take a look at the big picture. Make sure you know what your goals are and how you want to get there. Then working from that perspective, you can put together a plan for your upcoming year, then divide that year into Terms, then plan your week, and then your day.
Taking the task step by step will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and will give you the confidence that you’ve thought everything through. This series of posts on planning walks you through the five steps and gives practical tips for each. You might also like our Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education book and DVD set to guide you through the process step by step.
- Each family is different.
Do you know another family who has children exactly like yours, a house exactly like yours, a schedule or challenges exactly like yours? No. Then don’t expect someone else’s plan to fit your family exactly. Education is not a one-size-fits-all undertaking. Don’t feel guilty if your plan is different from your friend’s plan. It should be.
- Make the curriculum your servant, not your master.
And while we’re talking about the differences between families, remember that the person who wrote XYZ curriculum doesn’t know your family either. So keep in mind that any curriculum guide is just that — a guide. We offer suggestions on our free SCM Curriculum Guide, and we give ideas in our daily lesson plan handbooks, but they are only suggestions and ideas. Please use any curriculum in a way that best fits your family.
- You have freedom to adjust your plans.
We all know that we have freedom to make changes and adjust as needed. But sometimes it helps to be reminded. Life happens. Seasons change. You have permission to adjust with them.
Remember that a Charlotte Mason education involves the atmosphere of your home, the discipline of good habits, and the life-sustaining ideas that come from great books and beautiful things. You will find great freedom in keeping your perspective that broad during life’s ebb and flow.