Planning: Setting priorities

Before we get down to the brass tacks of planning, we’re going to do some thinking, and then go to the pencil-and-paper work.

If you’re continuing with me from our previous discussion, you’ve been thinking about your target, your aim, the kind of adults you want your children to be when they’re grown and released into the world.

Keeping that target in mind will be a great help in this next exercise.

I must credit Susan Bradrick and her workshop, “24 Hours is All You Get” for this idea.

You probably have a good idea of all you’re planning to do when the school year starts. Our family, for example, is signed up for a homeschool science class, a Gileskirk history and literature co-op, and a FirstClass Friday school. (Doing this much would not have been my first choice, but the three fit our family’s priorities and dh’s wishes, and so we will make it work. I must admit to multitasking, as I will be teaching “Pride and Prejudice” at both co-ops, meaning I prepare once and teach twice.) I can already see that this is as much as we can handle, and I can’t add anything else to the schedule, much as I would like.

First, pray. Ask the Lord for His help, wisdom, and guidance. Dedicate this coming year to His glory, and He’ll bless your efforts.

Get out pencil (or, if you’re bold, pen!) and paper. Write down everything your family will be doing during the school year. This might include sports, church, Bible study or quiet time, chores (every family needs food and clean laundry, at a minimum), music lessons, AWANA, hobbies, play dates, 4H, co-op… oh, yes, and academics.

Brainstorm! Ask for suggestions! Make an exhaustive list, every thing you can think of.

(Do you tend to cram your schedule full, and then when something unexpected comes along, you try to squeeze it in? Been there, done that. Learned my lesson, I hope.)

Is your list done? Great!

Now comes the hard part. Being brutally honest, label each item on your list with A, B, C, or D.

A’s are the must-do’s, the things that are absolutely essential for life. (Think eternity here, as well as sustaining life in the body.) Reading the Bible and praying would come in here. Probably eating physical food would be as well!

B’s are very important things, like keeping the health department at bay, having clean underwear, learning to read and write and cipher, as they used to call arithmetic.

C’s are nice-to-do’s.

D’s are not really essential but they’re on your schedule anyhow.

Are “good things” threatening to crowd out what’s “best” for your family?

(I remember the first time I made up a schedule as suggested by Teri Maxwell of I made up the list of all I had to do, estimated the time each task would take, and ended up with a 28-hour day… or was it 32? It added up to a lot more hours than a day, that much I can tell you.)

Consider the cost, and look at each item on your list in terms of the target you’re aiming for. What fits? What doesn’t?

Remember, too, that you are home schooling. That means that some of the time you really need to be home, and not just to sleep, either.

Give it some thought, and we’ll get back to planning next time.


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