So there I was. Off to a great, productive start with my homeschool planning. I had decided to use the Simply Charlotte Mason “Plan Your Charlotte Mason Year” book and dvd set, and it truly was making the planning process a BREEZE. Before I knew it, I was down to the point when I would start assigning subjects to days, and planning out our general weekly routine.
And then something happened.
It was like my eyes focused, my brain had a blip of really seeing what was down on paper. And I was BORED. I looked at these neatly filled out sheet of planning papers, and while I LOVED how easy the process had been up to that point, I had this brief moment of feeling completely unhappy.
I was bored just LOOKING at the plans. How had I gotten so caught up in following someone else’ sides of how to implement the CM method in our homeschool? And if I wasn’t feeling excited about these plans, how in Hades would I ever get my kids to be excited about it?
So I had to decide, keep on keeping on with the homeschool planning process, or stop and re-evaluate.
Why I Re-Evaluated My Homeschool Planning
Back in the spring, I was feeling really optimistic and energized about our upcoming school year. I had a good groove going on in our homeschool routine, I was excited about some fun topics we were going to cover, and most importantly, I felt free of the restraints that sometimes comes with Charlotte Mason homeschooling.
What I mean by that is that I finally felt confident and sure of myself in taking a method I really like, and making it MY own. But somewhere along the way, I let too many other voices in my head. By the time I sat down to do my homeschool planning, I had really gotten to a weird place where I was again trying to shove my awesome little family into someone else’s idea of what it meant to “do Charlotte Mason”.
And yet, here I was – staring at plans that basically looked like every other CM outline that was on the market. Where was our indivuality, where was our uniqueness that I love so much about my family? Where was the enthusiasm and relaxed optimism I had just a couple of months ago?
Our Offbeat CM Homeschool Year
So, yes. I quietly and calmly put aside the homeschool planning sheets I had so diligently worked on that day, and took a deep breath and decided to start over. I know what you’re thinking “Are you CRAZY?! You scrapped your whole planning?!” We homeschool Mamas know that pondering and planning is a long process that takes a lot of our time and energy.
But this was worth it.
So here’s where I’m at right now in my process. Since I really did enjoy using the SCM planning set, I will continue to use it as I fine tune our plans and create our routines for the year. What we will do differently however, is in the specific topics themselves. I do believe that we can take CM’s methodology and apply it in whatever ways suits our families. If you’ve read my posts before, you know that I’m a secular CM homeschoolers who doesn’t follow a curriculum [See more here: Charlotte Mason Curriculum (Do You Really Need One?) ]
At this time, this is generally what we’re planning for the upcoming year. It’s not a complete or detailed plan, but that will definitely be coming soon. In fact, what I ended up doing is sitting the kids down, at the suggestion of a friend of mine, and had them Freewrite about what their Perfect School Year would include. Just lists, nothing detailed or fancy. What they came up with was AMAZING! And I decided to roll in as MANY of their wish list items as I could. So, much of this comes from my kids’ interests.
The Current State of my Homeschool Planning:
- World history using Gombrich’s Little History of The World
- Canadian history starting with First Nations history
- Joy Hakim’s Story Of Science: Aristotle Leads The Way
- Various hands on activities as we feel inspired to do them, or however the bunny trails take us
- Nature Study focusing this year on birds, plants, and water
- Astronomy – it’s on my oldest’s list of things he wants to do this year so we’ll figure out a way to make this happen
- The kids and I will choose three composers of video game scores, and look at their work in the gaming industry as well as their other works.
- We are also going to look at songwriting with a focus on my daughter’s favourite punk and alt rock bands.
- Term 1 – complete the Van Gogh study we began last spring, Term 2 – graphic novel artists, Term 3 – selections from female artists
- Brave writer-focused year, using The Arrow for both kids as well as the Brave Writer Lifestyle elements (Poetry teatime, free writing, movie days, etc). You can read more about our love for BW products here: 3 Favourite Brave Writer Products)
- Write Shop Junior D – we will weave this into our year for some guided writing projects.
- Daily copywork and my oldest will begin written narrations as he feels confident to do so (I’ve written about his writing anxiety here: Writing Anxiety & Charlotte Mason )
Planning – a Constant Work In Progress
I still have some work to go in my homeschool planning, and will definitely update once I’ve got the finer details all mapped out. But since we’re still on summer break until after Labour Day – I’m not in a huge rush!
(Speaking of ‘the best laid plans…’, I’ll refer you to my post about “Homeschool Summer School” and then let you in on a little secret: we decided to take ALL summer off school altogether, and it’s been a BEAUTIFUL thing! So even though I’m setting down a ton of plans and ideas for next year, I always go into it knowing that our little homeschool ship can change course at any time – and that’s the beauty of this whole homeschool gig!)
I feel really good about our upcoming school year, and again am feeling excited to get these plans down and get the kinks worked out. I’m glad I am once again embracing my family’s ‘secular, quirky, modern, punk rock-loving, gaming-obsessed’ true nature. Instead of feeling like I have to change my family to adapt to some homeschool philosophy, I feel confident that I’m taking the methodology and using it in a way that honours who we are as a family, and who we all are as individuals.
After all, isn’t that the reason we do this homeschool thing to begin with?