Can you feel the new year nipping at your heels? The alarm clock has sounded, the holidays are over. It is time to take on a brand new year and get back to the grind. Some look forward to getting back to a routine while others wish for an extended holiday. Yet, all of us have no choice in the matter because the new year has begun! So, it is time to roll up our sleeves and evaluate last year’s homeschool in order to make improvements on this year’s homeschool. Are you excited? Some of you may be refusing to wake up from sugar plum dreams, so if you are the one hiding behind the tinsel on the tree, I have good news for you. It is not too late to switch homeschool gears.
If my decade and half of homeschooling has taught me anything, it has taught me that I am the one running the ship. I don’t take a backseat to a curriculum, a homeschool method, a schedule or whining children. I was not hired by a system; I am the system. If that so-called miracle schedule that works for 9 out of 10 moms finds me as the exception, I don’t fret thinking I am the problem. If there is a problem, it is me trying to mold myself into a schedule that doesn’t fit. If my child is not thriving using a beloved, award winning, curriculum, then I ditch it even with half the lessons done. If I wake one day and decide that my homeschool method is causing more harm than good, I change it. If you don’t fire the things causing chaos in your homeschool then you will be on fire. You know what happens next, right? Burnout.
So, if you are burned out already or on the verge of running off to the nearest island with only your flip flops and a prayer, hang on one more minute. You are not required to do anything in your homeschool that does not flow with your family’s natural schedule or learning style. Now, let me wait here a minute while you read that again. You can’t put a price on sanity or peace so ditch the curriculum that is causing nothing but tears from you and your child. You may not be a Charlotte Mason kind of gal, so send her on her way.
I know this sounds drastic but once you put yourself at the helm of your homeschool obeying only God and trusting your instincts while being guided by wise counsel, you will not fret over books, timing, or where your child stands academically. You will hit your stride and know that whatever comes your way, it will not consume you. You will have the confidence that you are equipped to put up a detour sign and pave a new road for your children. It is not too late in the year to make changes – in any aspect, no matter how big or small, in your homeschool.
So, this is what you are going to do. Ready? First step, sit down and have a teacher conference with yourself. Go to a coffee shop, send the kids to grandma’s, or have a few documentary days for the kids, while you evaluate your homeschool. Grab your curriculum, a calendar, pens, highlighters, and a big cup of coffee. Now, it is time to ask yourself some questions about your current homeschool year.
Questions About Your Current Homeschool Curriculum
- What do you love about it?
- What do you dislike about it?
- What areas have caused issues and what would make it better?
- Can you make changes to it or supplement it without tossing it out?
- Is it time to move up a level or go back and review something?
Questions About Your Current Homeschool Schedule
- Does your current schedule follow the natural flow of your family?
- Did you allow enough time or too much time to get it all done?
- Did you ensure your schedule is firm yet flexible for unpredictable times?
- Are you comfortable that sick days and vacation days won’t disrupt your schooling?
During your teacher conference your goal is to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t and then build your homeschool around your evaluation. Give yourself six weeks to try out the changes you make and if you need to readjust then just do it! It is important to keep in mind that you may have to evaluate a few times before finding what works for your family and that just because it works this year doesn’t mean it will next year!
What changes are you looking to make in your homeschool this year?
Richele is a writer, speaker, and graphic designer. Her background in educational psychology never prepared her for balancing laundry baskets and grading math assignments. You can visit her blog Under the Golden Apple Tree or check out her portfolio Ruby Ink Design.