The Stuff I Didn’t Plan

We live our lives by routines.
When we put the children to bed we read them a story, then we ask them how many hugs and kisses they want (they aren’t usually allowed more than a hundred, because it takes too long), then we ask if they want a song, then we say the Lord’s Prayer. We do these things, in this order, every night.
The boys like to eat bread for breakfast, not toast, except at the weekend, when they have cereal. They do not want cereal during the week and they do not want toast at the weekend.
I buy the paper on a Saturday, every Saturday. If we forget or go away, I feel strange all week. I read the main section on Saturday, the Family section on Sunday, the Review section during the week, the magazine goes in the bathroom and I read it during my baths, because I don’t like getting real books wet.
So, yeah, we like our routines in this house.
I use timetables for homeschooling, and I work through planned lessons, carefully coveting the National Curriculum.
But, sometimes, stuff happens. Sometimes we have a visitor, or someone throws a major strop, or something important gets broken. Then we can’t stick to the plan.
Sometimes that’s a great thing!
This week, my mum brought the boys some plastic cubes when she came by. And they made beautiful patterns:

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This week, I left our wellington boots at a friend’s house by mistake. So, instead of our planned walk in the woods, we popped into a garden centre. The boys were really excited to choose seeds and plant them at home.
This week was half term and we got a call to ask if we’d like to spend a day with a friend and her children. We ignored our schedule for the day and went to the zoo.

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Schedules are great and – most of the time – they keep us sane. But some of the best fun, and some of the most wonderful learning, comes when the schedule gets messed up and stuff just happens.

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9 thoughts on “The Stuff I Didn’t Plan

  1. And isn’t that one of the great things about home-ed? That you can just adapt to life and change plans at the drop of a hat. I love the fluidity and freedom our home-ed lifestyle affords us. We have weekly goals but if we don’t manage to hit them we don’t cry about it because most of the time we have simply veered off on another learning tangent that week. For example this morning (even on a Saturday) we were planning to get up and do an experiment however we ended up watching ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ because my eldest is fascinated by Greek mythology. He wants to carry on with his project about Ancient Greece this afternoon which was never in our plan for this week or next week – but if he is engaged, if he is excited to learn then the plan can be abandoned, well at least for the weekend:)
    Thanks so much for linking up to #homeedlinkup this week .

    • I think you’re quite right, freedom is one of the great benefits about home ed. Though, having all this freedom has made me confront my own desire for routines.

  2. I agree. A schedule keeps me sane and means that I don’t have to constantly plan because the plan is already made. It means we do sometime on grey days in February. My children like the security of knowing what is likely to happen next but the schedule is a servant and sometimes isn’t needed. On the day a swarm of bees landed in our garden or when a new set of writing paper led to a letter writing session, the schedule was left and we learnt from life.

  3. When we were home educating, I loved the times we went off piste and let him run with an idea. They were always the most productive! And it was fun for us, as educators, to try to shoe-horn subjects into what he was doing. Playing with cubes? That would be numeracy, science, PE… A visit to the zoo? Science, social studies, geography, speaking and listening skills, literacy… With a little imagination, you could cover a whole days curriculum in one session!!!

  4. Great to find your blog! I agree with you about the unplanned stuff. I usually start with a schedule for the week, but one of the advantages is being able to change it at short notice. One of the first things I realised was how silly it was to persist in, for example, teaching the properties of materials because it’s on the timetable, when your son has just discovered a woodlouse in his room and is busily finding out about woodlice on the web. It seems crazy not to let him pursue his interest when he’s so motivated.
    Just one of the many advantages of home ed.

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