My summertime provides an opportunity to reflect back over our past school year and prepare for the upcoming one. New school beginnings hold the excitement, hope, and promise of significant accomplishments for each member of our household. Often, though, this promise will not come to fruition unless specific goals and direction are set for the year.
Planning with Steve for the next school year is a highlight of my summer. The two of us block out time together where we can set goals and the course of our school year. This past summer we went to the conference room at Steve’s work with a nice table, chairs, and a big whiteboard. Being away where there were no interruptions had obvious advantages. One year, though, we spent Saturday morning at home working on this with nothing else scheduled “to do” and encouraged the children to play in their rooms or outside as much as possible. After our planning time we try to have a “date” with dinner out.
To prepare for our planning time, I put together some background information for Steve to review before we meet. He takes what I give him, looks at it, and prays about it for several days before we have our meeting. I start by giving him our plan or goals from the previous summer and a schedule of what we actually did during the school year. I also write out areas in which I felt we did not do what we had wanted, including difficulties with attitudes, schedules, specific schoolwork, our not keeping the children accountable or their not doing what we had wanted. I give him a list of subjects that I think we may want each child to study or work in and the number of hours we do school each day. I may write out some character concerns that specifically affect schoolwork.
When we have our planning sessions we start with prayer, since Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” First, we go over last year’s plan to see what we achieved, what we deleted, and what did not work. Next, if we want to write out goals, we start with that. Then we look at our list of what each child could spend his school time on, and prioritize it. The big white board was great for this. We listed each child’s name on the board and then underneath placed the school subjects we wanted them to pursue with a number beside it for its priority. From there, we work with the specific amount of time to spend per day or week on a particular subject. We also write down ideas on how to make sure the character deficiencies are being addressed and followed up on.
I am very grateful that Steve is willing to sit down with me and make what we consider very important decisions regarding our school direction. Although I usually put together the specifics after this major meeting, I know where we as a team are heading. If I run into further snags, Steve and I set aside more time to address the new items that come up.
I hope it is possible for each of you as couples to make time to be together and focus on your school planning for the next year. Perhaps it will be something that you can look forward to as I do to my conference with my wonderful husband.