Podcast: Bingo! Planned Spontaneity in Homeschooling

Brave Writer Podcast

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Do you wish you were more spontaneous? Or do you think you should “stick to a schedule”?

On today’s Brave Writer podcast, I share an experience I had learning the hard way that planning works best when our kids are included in the process, as well as a novel solution for bridging the gap between planning and spontaneity.

Show Notes

The original Tea with Julie notes can be found HERE.

Including Your Kids in the Plan

A lot of times we assume that our kids don’t think they need math, science, history, writing or reading. But deep down, they do know that they need those things. They also know that their lives are happier when they can look forward to something on the schedule. When every day isn’t just drudgery created by a parent.

When we include our kids then, we’re not only asking them what they want to do. We can also ask them what they feel they need to work on, what aspects of education are lacking for them. What would they like to improve? That’s one way to frame it. Because if you just ask them what are the things you want to do, you may only end up with a list of their passions. And of course, we do feel responsible to help them grow in mathematics in an understanding of history, fluency in reading and writing. These matter.

The Bingo Card Method

One way to help you get used to this idea of flexibility — if you’re not quite ready to let go of the schedule — is to introduce something I call the bingo card. Now, we have a template for this available inside our membership community called the Brave Learner Home. But I’m going to include a link to it here in the show notes so that you can use it right now.

This bingo card looks something like a calendar month template, but it doesn’t have days of the week and it doesn’t have any calendar dates. It is just a set of empty boxes. And what you can do with your kids is sit down and collaborate on all the things they’d like to do over the next month or two, and all the things they feel they need to work on.

Items you might see on this bingo card that your kids might contribute would be:

  • having a poetry tea time,
  • gaming on the computer,
  • playing with dolls,
  • learning to sew,
  • taking nature walks,
  • watching birds at the bird feeder and tracking them,
  • learning how to do computer programming or coding.

But it could also include things like:

  • mastering the multiplication tables,
  • learning cursive,
  • reading aloud to a parent twice a week.

In other words, whatever you feel and your kids feel should go on this bingo card, just stick it on there.

Hang the bingo card where it can be looked at every day, a bulletin board, a magnet on the refrigerator, and on those days where you’re bored or you need a change in routine. Or your kids simply have a desire, look at the card and pick something to do. Maybe it’s a visit to the zoo, maybe it is dissecting a flower, maybe it’s finally breaking out the microscope you purchased six months ago and learning how to use it.

The bingo card acts as both a planning tool and a tool for spontaneity. It ensures what Liam was worried about that the things he loves wouldn’t get overlooked because we forget about them. And it also helps your kids notice and visibly see that you are doing a lot of activities that they enjoy as well as activities related to education.

As your kids check off these activities, if you get a bingo, that’s a time for a celebration. Maybe you all make smoothies to celebrate. Maybe that afternoon you play a board game. Maybe that’s a day you decide to just watch your favorite Disney movie instead of doing your usual routine.

Give yourself permission to both plan and honor spontaneity. The Bingo card is a way to plan for spontaneity if you need that little support in learning how to do both.


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