How to File Paperwork if You Are Not a Planner {a.k.a. Unschooling}

That time is upon us once again….

Yep, filing paper work with the state education board. Fun. Fun.

This is my yearly quandary…

One of the huge advantages of homeschooling is following a MUCH more relaxed schedule. For us that contains a fair amount of unschooling…or child-led interests and rabbit trails. These really can’t be planned per say. But our state requires curriculum to be approved ahead of time. How do you balance spontaneity with a detailed plan to your state?

I do plan…in a general large-scale sorta way. We do history generally chronological. This year it will be modern history with an emphasis on the Great Depression, WWI and II, and the Industrial Revolution. But most of my planning comes in the form of strewing. I look for great living books to have on hand during chunks of learning time. I keep a running book list that I can use when purchasing on Amazon or at a library sale. We follow math and phonics in a somewhat sequential order but even these I hate to delegate to a “grade” because each of my children learn at different rates and sometimes we are still in the middle of a book when the school year “ends” and sometimes we are already in the middle of another book.

When I was trying to write out detailed plans to my state I was getting bogged down. What would we cover this year…when would we cover it…when would we be done? These questions my state would want to know and I would start sweating and becoming grumpy mommy as I desperately tried to put something on paper.

Don’t get me wrong…the planning part felt good. When I was done I felt this sense of accomplishment. Oh, of course that’s what we’ll study this year (i.e. science lessons all mapped out in great detai)! Happily I would start our year and miserably I would end it feeling like a failure because we were SO off track. Never mind that my kids were learning at a rapid pace. Never mind that they had filled their time with way more additional learning then I had written down. All I saw was those original lessons plans with a big red F across them!

Then I came up with a brilliant idea. Why not just write down a Scope and Sequence based on everything I had? I just started typing by category. Math? These were the books I owned (text and living). These were the manipulatives I owned. These were the games I owned. I put general grades after them. For instance, after listing Math U See I put K-5th Grade in parenthesis behind it. Suddenly I began to see a skeleton take shape. Eventually this is what I would teach to all my kids through all of their elementary school years and some beyond. Before I knew it I had an 8 page Elementary Scope & Sequence that MORE than covered any paltry state requirements.

I am free! This year all I had to do was pull up that file, delete and add a few things and in less than an hour I was finished. Print. Mail. Ahhhh….THAT felt good! The best part? Doesn’t matter that I’m homeschooling (officially) three children all at different grade levels. This one paper covers them all. Doesn’t matter where we are at the beginning of the year or the end. We have the freedom and leisure to learn any of this stuff at our own pace and our state has the peace of mind that we will be covering all the bases…eventually!

Here is a peek at my copy (your own will, obviously, vary) as well as a copy of my statement about using living books as that inventory list is WAY too long to send my state!

Elementary Scope & Sequence

Learning History Through Living Books

Feel free to download and steal these and modify for your own use!

Happy planning!!!

(P.S. please let me now if these links do not download right and I will try to fix! I tested them and so far so good.)

The Homeschool Mother's Journal 



7 thoughts on “How to File Paperwork if You Are Not a Planner {a.k.a. Unschooling}

  1. I love your Scope and Sequence! I think I plan TOO much! (Is that possible? LOL) I start our year with our portfolio binders already purchased with dividers and lists of curricula. And every 4-6 weeks I pulled out the kids best work in each subject from our “completed box”, place it in the portfolios and put the rest in a folder for JIC.

    I don’t own a Kindle. I borrowed my Mom’s while visiting and my daughter downloaded a book to read this past week while she continued to visit. I like it! But I think I’ll go with a Nook Color because I might want the option someday of magazines and some quality picture books for my youngest. (Since I bring a book everywhere having something to appeal to my youngest to pass a few minutes out-and-about is a plus!) I believe Kindle can do magazines, but I can’t imagine them being as appealing since Kindle doesn’t do pictures well or in color. My 2 cents! LOL

    Thanks for stopping in my blog!

  2. I am SO glad I don’t have to do that for our state! I can see how that would be overwhelming. Thanks so much for the Elementary Scope & Sequence
    Learning History Through Living Books documents. Very helpful:)

  3. I also live in a state where they have that detailed accountability, but we actually have a curriculum overview. I have to have listed my books and goals… it’s all new to me this minutia. Good ideas with the scoping!!

  4. That’s an impressive document! It’s way more detailed than I’ve ever done. Of course, I haven’t been doing this long and I don’t think California requires that sort of thing, just a private school affidavit. Still, it looks like it could come in handy. What I’ve done so far is mostly wing it. I sit down every few months and plan out what I’d like to try to cover and see what I can get on that. That sounds way calmer and more planned than it really is, btw. My oldest is 7, so I haven’t been doing this long. We’ll see how things are going when he’s 17, right? 😀

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