Minimizing Planning Time – Maximizing Teaching Time
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In the early days of my homeschool journey, I spent hours days looking through curriculum catalogs and browsing websites to choose my curriculum for the year. One year I went through a 1000+ homeschool catalog page by page. I am not kidding. I read review after online review. I even read reviews of curriculum I had already used in the past. While I gained a great deal of knowledge about the existing choices on the homeschool market, I wasted many hours that could have been spent directly with my children. I was spending a lot of hours “homeschooling,” but my children weren’t getting most of them.

Somewhere along the way, my husband insisted that I get my curriculum purchased in the spring before the following school year. He made it sound like it was so we wouldn’t spend the allocated money, but then added “and then you’ll have all summer to get your materials ready.” I knew what really meant was “so you won’t spend all summer trying to decide.” It made such a difference in our homeschool that I stuck to that pattern for many years.

That was many years ago. Today’s young homeschooling mama is just as likely to spend many hours trying to find and organize “free” printables from the internet. The cost may be free, but you only have so much time. If you plan to homeschool all the way through, you have a lot of content to cover. It’s going to be very hard to become an expert on all of it to know that you’ve found enough free stuff to cover it all.

You need a plan. You need to know that whoever wrote your plan thought about what needs to be covered and when. If they thought about this, they probably published a scope and sequence. With a plan in place, you can deviate if you want. You can throw in a few “this looks fun” and substitute a few “I could cover this a different way.” That will be far easier than finding fun pages and interesting pages off the internet and trying to organize them into a plan.

A curriculum is a plan. You are not likely to find one that matches the way you want to do it exactly, so choose one that you likely to change the least.

When I finally tried BJU Press curriculum, I found my match. It is a solid curriculum that covers every grade with a Biblical worldview. We tease around our house that if the BJU Press items can find a way that a subject is tied to a Biblical worldview, it’s in there. When a new concept is taught, critical thinking is encouraged by the way it is taught. I didn’t want rote learning. I did want fun, cute activities. BJU Press had those too. It had a lot deeper learning, but it wasn’t harder for the student because it also showed you how to teach it.

When I reduced the time I spent shopping and planning, I had much more time to spend directly with my kids. I taught through the K4 curriculum with my four-year-old one year, even though I had four other children in school. It worked! I felt like the most fun mom on the planet, but all I was really doing was following a good plan. I also laid the foundation for a student who has an excellent understanding of math and a genuine love for reading.

My goal is to maximize time with my children. The time I spend helping them improve a paper, or improve their study habits, or to relate a story from my own experience is of far more value than lots of head knowledge about homeschool products.

What are some of your tips for minimizing time for planning so you can maximize time for teaching?

Meet the Author

Cynda Moore, HomeWorks by Precept Consultant & Homeschool Mom


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