Saturday, February 9, 2013

Why I love planning

It is no secret to those who know me well that I love to plan. I'm lucky enough to be a planner with flexibility, so when plans change, I'm cool with it. That just means I get to replan! Bonus! Plus, being married to a man who is basically the incarnation of chaos, planning can never be rigid, not in my world.

Homeschooling has given me innumerable ways to indulge my planning urges. There are SO many resources, ideas, books, and curricula options, it makes my head spin. With three kids to plan for, since next year I'll have a 3rd grader, a 1st grader and a little preschooler who really wants to "do school" with Mommy, I have to sort through the options, thinking about what has worked well for us, what hasn't, my kids' learning styles and preferences, and my goals for them, as well as my teaching style.

I love reading through homeschooling blogs, reviews, curricula descriptions, and booklists. I love sorting through the possibilities, taking notes, making lists and coming up with plans. It's like crack to me.

It occurred to me tonight, as I spend a wild and crazy Saturday pouring over ideas for next year, why that is - why I love planning so much.

Everything is perfect in the plan.

There is no whining in the plan. There are no interruptions, potty breaks, snacks, spilled cups of water, glue squirted all over the floor or newly potty trained 3-year-olds needing help with their panties in the plan. In my imagination, my ideas all work remarkably well; miraculously well, in fact. My plans flow smoothly, preparation isn't a problem and implementation is effortless. Ah, how lovely the planning stage is.

The reality is, naturally, quite different from my plans. And that's ok too. Reality is a lot messier, takes more time, definitely includes some whining, and basically doesn't turn out the way I want.

I know this, and I'm cool with it.

But I do need to keep in mind, as I plan, to keep things fluid and flexible enough to allow the plans to fall apart when they need to. I need to be ok with scrapping my plans and starting over when things aren't working. I tend to want to pour over every single possible option so I know I'm making the best choice possible (and I do this with so many things - you should see me shop for shoes). It's like I'm afraid I will find out later there was something better and regret my decision. But I can't always predict how things will work in our homeschool (or how the shoes will fit). Sometimes things work out the way I expect, but very often, they don't. That can be hard to deal with, when you've bought curricula, or purchased books or have a well laid out lesson plan that just isn't working. I've been there, and I'm still basically a newbie homeschooler.

I'll continue to research and plan like crazy, because what can I say, I can't help myself. My challenge is to keep reality in perspective as I do so, which will hopefully make my planning time more productive - or at least more likely to result in a good learning experience for all of us here in our little school.

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