Blueprint Homeschooling: Parts Five & Six, Calendars and Making it Work
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Book found here: http://goo.gl/3ue3GF

I didn't forget, I didn't fall off track! Well, okay, actually I kind of fell off track. I finished reading, I started working, and then... holidays. And then my parents came to visit. I'm sure +Amy Knepper will understand. ;)

And, honestly? I got kind of caught up in the process and was super excited to be so into the process of planning out a curriculum. If I haven't stated it clearly enough before: I'm not typically a fan of planning. Really. I'm a pantser in my writing, so it flows out to other aspects of my life. Usually, I'd be noting down the milestones they're supposed to reach for the year, and going from there. We'd do a ton of supplementation thanks to A-Girl being so gifted and working so far ahead, but it's precisely because she's so gifted that we need an actual plan.

So! All that to say: I was intimidated, at first, when I got to the section about calendars. Again: pantser. Calendars, other than for jotting down plans after they're made, scare me. But I went with it and went with the process because, well, for the sake of a good review, I can't go skipping huge chunks of the book, right?

It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. And, honestly, what Amy has you do by blocking off dates you know will be busy already, and especially holidays^, it's much easier to then schedule around all of that and see where the schooling will take place.

^A note about holidays: We're Jewish. So it's not just like we have a holiday here and a holiday there. We. Have. Holidays. And when we have the major ones, there are several in succession (hello, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah) and usually revolving around a multi-day celebration, some of which we're allowed to work during and some we're not - it can get crazy. So having this already marked out actually gave me a huge sense of relief.

We've also got activities to consider, and while I may not know the baseball schedule right now, I can mark off when signups are, I can put a note on the month when the season starts. I can also mark off swim team season, weekly swim lessons, and piano lessons, and ... yeah, these kids? They're some busy kids.

I liked being handheld through the calendar process. I needed that, and Amy's conversational tone helped me not feel like a doofus for not having thought of this in the first place. I mean, we've been homeschooling for almost four years. So you'd think we'd have something in place by now. But, hey, it takes time to find the things that work for you, and I'm glad we're making progress now.

Because, as we transition into talking about Making it Work, even if the source texts change, even if we have to do a major overhaul, the blueprints (hehe) are still there. When you have a foundation built on values which hold up the structure created by goals, everything else can change - and easily. Given that we are a military family, we need to be open to that change.

However, we've gotten hold of a few source texts, and I can always share those in a separate post if anyone is that interested, but for now I'm talking about Amy's book, so stay with me, here. ;) Making it Work is all about the implementation.

Can I just say I really appreciate the "Reward Yourself" paragraph? Because, oh, yes, I need to remember to do that. This whole section before the final notes is full of great advice about how to put into action the work you've just done, as well as reminders for tracking progress and staying on track throughout the year.

We're not quite into Making it Work. I'm still planning a bit, but we're getting there. But I'm feeling a lot more confident than I was before, and even MarvMan is impressed with all the work I'm happily putting into this and not complaining about how hard it is or how overwhelming it is. Knowing what our direction was from the outset, having our values and goals in place beforehand, really helps to cut through the crap and helps me to zero in on what we need and sift that out of what we don't need. And now that we've got the calendar, I'm cross checking study plans, making updates and revising as necessary.

I'm moving ahead slowly - there are still some source texts we've yet to acquire, and that's alright. We also have plans for travel this year, so I'm keeping our supplies at a minimum, and I'm relying on Google Docs and notebooks to keep track of what we're going to cover so I don't have to lug textbooks to and fro. Which is a very nice thing about having the calendar - I've already discussed activities with the kids around their own plans (A-Girl, for example, wants to go to visit family for her birthday, and BreMonster wants to go camping and spend a weekend in OBX at some point), and can easily mark that off while planning, too. They're actually really, really excited for what we've got planned out, both activities and education. Which is awesome, because they were having some burnout, too, I think.

So what can I say, overall, about the book?

I'm going to be reading it again. And again. And again. Honestly, it's probably one of the first things I'll recommend to folks who are new to homeschooling, and I'd happily recommend it to anyone else, regardless of how long they've been homeschooling.

So go get it, already!
http://goo.gl/3ue3GF
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