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A Positive Plug for Planning
by Beverley Paine, Nov 2013
I know some people are not overt planners and just follow their nose, doing what comes next, meeting needs as they arise. I do that to some degree too, but I found that having an overall plan expressed somehow, often on paper, helps to guide me towards accomplishing my goals. It also helps to make sure they stay aligned to our values.
For a few years our family tried to establish a New Year's tradition of creating two posters, one for all the things we'd done that year and were grateful for and the other for all things we wish or want to happen in the coming year. Anything not achieved but still revelant was brought forward. It lasted about four years and in hindsight I realise that I probably should have started it when the kids were younger.
What the exercise taught me was that without overtly focusing on those goals or putting a lot of effort into achieving them, a lot of our listed goals, ambitions and wants were realised. Perhaps not that year, but in the following ones. Some were simply unrealistic (eg winning the lotto) but including them gave us the opportunity to mull over probable and possible, what was in control and what was not.
Towards the end of each year I'd read through our ment from our original home ed registration application. It began with a statement of our long term educational and developmental goals. Although when initially writing it I thought we'd have to tweak it as the children grew, because we'd put so much thought into what education meant to us personally and for our children, we found that it continued to remain relevant. And I found it comforting and reassuring, noting that we were on track, achieving our goals.
I believe that because we based our original plan around our values it stood the test of time we never had to update it.
I also noticed that each year a few of the short term goals (educational aspirations) that I recorded each year in our learning plan didn't happen, but reading through the list reminded me that although obviously not important enough to me for me to prioritize them week by week, they were things I really did want to cover sometime, before the kids became young adults. They hovered in the back of my mind and, little by little, most of those were achieved too.
I could have read interpreted those missed short term goals each year as failure: instead I chose to be reminded of what was important to me and why. Sometimes I would ditch objectives as irrelevant or unnecessary, if that had proven to be the case, but mostly I'd add them to next year's list.
One year, when my children were in their late teens, I found a list of my personal life goals from 1986 in a box of papers and saw that 90% of what I'd written down had happened. Sometimes I think it helps us to presence our thoughts and dreams in a concrete way. Perhaps recording our goals is a small but significant commitment to ourselves to work towards them, and that sits quietly in our memory somewhere, guiding our actions?
I encourage all new home educating parents to sit for a while and consider and record their thoughts about why they want or need to help their children learn without school, what it is they and their children want to experience, how they see themselves and their lives a year from now, ten years from now.
I see this as an essential aspect of homeschool or unschool life, one that celebrates who we are now, who we were and where we've been, what we're doing, have done and want to do and learn.
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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