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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: Plan to Be Flexible


Even after a gazillion years of home schooling there are times when our routine of the last 13 or so years isn't working.

Actually, that's kind of been the case with one of the kids for the last two years or so. He's super smart, he's talented, he's quick to learn new material, but he's disorganized, easily frustrated, disinterested, and very short-tempered. Getting him to accomplish anything - whether it's math or writing, textbook or online, short and quick or long and detailed - is like pulling teeth, very painful for both of us. At the end of the day I'm emotionally and mentally drained of energy and, frankly, it sucks.

I was recently offered an opportunity to read the 178 page e-book  Plan to be Flexible, Designing a Homeschool Rhythm and Curriculum Plan that Works for Your Family, by Alicia Kazsuk of Vibrant Homeschooling, and was very intrigued, based on my issues with my son.

Plan to be Flexible covers topics like creating an educational goal and plan for the entire school year, but doing so flexibly, as well as creating a core curriculum for your students that allows lots of wiggle room to adapt to the needs of the children. Alicia described, clearly, how her yearly schedule and core curriculum planning and implementation works, using real life examples to make it make sense.

The book also addresses adapting your homeschooling to your specific family, avoiding the idea that your family needs to school like a traditional school schools and/or school like anyone else you know. It also addresses issues like schedule interruptions, such as a new baby, move, etc, and quirky daily interruptions like illness, babies and toddlers at home, appointments, and activities. These things do, and will, happen every. single. day (at least it feels that way sometimes!). Some of the things that have come along and thrown a wrench in our home schooling days over the last few weeks are: Because I'm Me orders (yippee!), orthodontist appointments, a broken air conditioner, the children's father coming to visit, and working on an Eagle project (double yippee!).

I found Alicia's style to be very personable, real, intelligent, and professional. She's been homeschooling long enough, and with enough kids, to have some great background to work from. "Chatting over a cup of coffee" is how I'd sum up her writing style, she writes like a friend you can sit down and be real with, because you know she's being real with you, and who you can bounce ideas off of and leave the coffee table wiser for the visit.

This e-book is a great resource for a new homeschooler, full of real, practical advice to get you started. It's also nice for those of us who need a little reminder that we need to bend, and won't break doing so, and adapt to our kids learning styles and individual needs, that we just might need a few tweeks to our system.

Will this book solve my problems with my son and his challenges? I found it helpful, but he and I need to dig deeper to work through our issues, but we got some ideas to try to make our days a little less tense.

Plan to be Flexible can be found at Vibrant Homeschooling for just $8.99.

What are the unplanned things that require you to be flexible, whether home schooling or not?

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