The girls from here were talking about homeschooling styles as we were brainstorming. Charlotte Mason came up. Classical came up. Several versions came up, and I jokingly said, “I use fly by the seat of my pants homeschooling,” to which LaToya said, “I’d read that post, you need to write it.”
And it’s mostly true, half of my lessons I come up with on the fly. I’m not going to say this method works for everyone, but it works for the ADD, hyper-distracted person in me. So, let me take you through my planning process.
First I spend way too much time at the computer deciding on curriculum. For science my kids get to decide the topic from among the Apologia books we haven’t completed yet. Once that’s decided it all gets ordered.
Then I spend the next few weeks or days, or some period of time that usually is just until I lose interest breaking the lessons down into manageable parts. While I’m at it, I might consult the course lesson plans (if there are any) for any extras to add in. Occasionally I’ve gotten good ideas from there.
But my best ideas come from the blogs I read, pinterest, Netflix, and my library.
I curate everything. I obsess and have boards for lessons I’m not teaching for 3 more years. I look up books in my library that I could use, and I randomly check out books and remember them 3 years later.
Now, I’m sure you’re asking how is this flying by the seat of your pants?
Because I don’t usually use them. I spend hours planning it out, and I don’t use it.
Instead, I look at the lesson plan the morning of, and I don’t have the supplies for the craft or the project. I didn’t remember to go and check out the well-crafted book from the library.
So, we start reading the lesson. I get 2 paragraphs in and inspiration hits! Elephants are huge, let’s go measure them. So we read the rest of the short section and traipse outside with measuring tape, chalk, our science book, and start measuring.
Then we have to figure out how tall we are in comparison, so more measuring. And then we start talking about how they use their trunks. So I come up with an idea using straws to simulate trunks and tongs to simulate their proboscis.
Then we continue on to our history lesson, and it’s about the start of World War 2. Well, the text book is incredibly dry and boring. Very boring. It’s driving me nuts, so I almost literally throw the text book, and say “give me a minute, you run around while I get something ready.” I head off to my pinterest board, where I’ve saved a map-making website. I print off a giant map, and some smaller maps for them. We color the progress of Germany across Europe and the kids have a much better understanding of how things work.
Why does this work?
Remember the part at the beginning where I said I put in hours looking at books, websites, and other things? If I didn’t do that beginning search, and didn’t read voraciously, then I couldn’t throw my plans out the window. If I didn’t know my kids, and know my boys need to be involved in the lesson and doing something, I couldn’t throw my plans out the window. If I didn’t know my daughter wants to color while listening, then I couldn’t ditch the textbook and say, “Let’s listen to Adventures in Odyssey” episode instead.
So yes, my lessons are somewhat improv at times. Yes, I am a bit scatter-brained and ADD. But, it makes our lessons richer. At times, I feel a bit like the absent-minded professor in so many of the movies and TV shows, I have nothing relevant to contribute until suddenly “BAM!” There’s that genius idea everyone needed.
It’s probably not really like that, it’s just how I picture it in the movie of my life in my head.