Because of a potential international move, I made up long-term plans for my kids a few years ago. We were going to be living in a place with limited access to materials so I wanted to have several years worth of supplies on hand. As a result, I made up 3 year plans for all of my kids so I would know what I needed to bring with me. While we didn’t make the international move as planned, the long-term plans turned out to be quite valuable anyway.
Here are 3 reasons why long-term plans have helped us homeschool:
1. Long-term plans helped me see the big picture and plan more appropriately for the next school year.
While plans change and need adapting and kids change their interests, long-term plans have helped me get a better idea about where we are headed. Seeing the big picture really helped when it came down to planning the next school year.
2. Long-term planning helped me be more flexible
Some may think that planning long-term lends to more inflexibility, but personally I’ve found the opposite to be true. Looking long-term and knowing that we will cover the topic another time allows more flexibility in the present year.
3. Long-term planning required me to look at college options early on.
Knowing what colleges expect in applicants was a necessary part of preparing long-term high school plans. I needed to take time to research what skills my children needed most in order to transition to their desired fields of study. Because my children desire to go into a STEM field meant that we would spend more time on math, science, and logic than a subject like history. At the same time, I wanted to provide enough coverage to all subjects in case my children changed their minds.
How did I plan long-term?
I recently finished my second round of long-term plans. I did my first go around a couple of years ago. By the time we were two years into the plans, it was time to revise them because things change.
For an elementary-aged child, I made 3 years of plans. Things are so varied at that age so doing three years of plans was enough to give me a big picture without going too far into the future.
When my child was around 5th grade, I found it helpful to go through the end of 8th grade with plans and do a brief overview of the topics in high school. My oldest child is currently in 7th grade. When I revised his long-term plans this year, I planned all the way through high school. Things will change quite a bit, but I found it was necessary to look at high school to see what to cover in 8th grade.
Here are some examples of our long-term plans.
These plans are basically a list of resources that I plan to use in some way. As an eclectic homeschooler, sometimes I use a little of this and a little of that and mesh them together into something that works. It is also common to use a book or curriculum as a resource and not use it as intended. When I make long-term plans, I am just looking at the resources that I want to use. When I make the plans for the school year, I look at how I want to use those resources.
Check out more in our homeschool planning series: