Homeschooling is fulfilling and enriching. With the ability to hone in on each student’s strengths, specific goals, and passions, homeschooling can be a rewarding experience for students and families as a whole. Yet, it can pose challenges and make you feel defeated at times too. Frustrations such as; power struggles, the uncertainty of how to help a student master a skill, managing multiple students, curriculum decisions and planning, can make homeschooling challenging. So, it is important to remember that every homeschool family can get stuck in a rut at some point. Much like needing to click the “refresh” button on websites that are slow to get going, or that get stuck, there is also the need to hit the refresh button on homeschool.
7 Ways to REFRESH Your Homeschool
Reflect on what is and isn’t working. Since homeschooling is ultimately about the learner, it is best to think about and discuss these questions together with each of your children. Take a look at the various aspects of what makes up your homeschool: your philosophy, approach to teaching and learning, the curriculum choices, scheduling and field trips. Do you feel like what you are doing aligns with your children’s learning and personal goals? Is the teaching style and environment conducive to what you would like to be accomplished? Do you think that the curriculum is a good fit for the learning style, skills and topics you are teaching?
In addition, this may be a good moment to reflect on external factors that may affect homeschooling such as home or work life. Are we swamped with errands that are distracting us from completing the anticipated lessons? Are stress levels high with personal or family issues?
Reflection is a process that can be done daily, weekly, and monthly. It does not have to be formal. It can be just a quick note to jot down on the side of the lesson planner or a 5 minute chat with the child asking, “What did you like or not like about the lessons this week?” Goal setting is another great reflective method to decide how to move forward.
Energize. What powers you up? When you’re feeling stuck in a rut, do you need to go out for a morning walk with the family? Are afternoon naps needed prior to proceeding with the second half of your lessons? Try adding physical activities such as sports, exercise routines, or dance to liven up the energy level for those sluggish homeschool days.
Field trips. Taking an educational outing is a wonderful way to refresh your homeschool. You can learn so much from field trips by seeing and experiencing lessons in person. For example, if you’re studying about the solar system, having a trip to an observatory with so many hands-on exhibits is a great way to reinforce what is learned at home. Taking a nature walk or zoo to while studying an animal unit takes learning outside of the walls of home. The ideas are endless and vary depending on your area.
Rest. It is easy to burn out from homeschool, (or from anything for that matter), without enough rest. As a night owl, I confess to working late hours at night and waking up tired and cranky. It affects our homeschool day for sure. Ensuring sufficient sleep can make or break a day.
Rest can also be in the form of taking breaks during the day, the week, and school year. Make sure there are times for “recess” during the day for everyone in the household. Make sure everyone gets recess too; not just the kids. Parents need recess as well to have a time to just relax. Ensure your week has a rest day where there are no commitments, classes, or errands. During the school year, you can plan your own vacation times that work for your family. It is vital to rest and recharge, so you come back fresh and ready to go.
Enjoy Refresh your homeschool by making sure what you do brings joy to yourself and to the learner. For example, plan units of study the learner enjoys and is passionate about. Sign up for activities that interest him or her. The student may not find pleasure in all topics and subjects, and that is okay. Whatever it is that motivates them, embrace it, and find ways to delve deeper. That way they have something to look forward to in their homeschool day.
Remember to enjoy your time as well, and pursue your passions. It can be hard with all of the things that need to be done in the day. So make it a habit and schedule a slot of time for enjoyment in your day. It is vital that each individual nourishes his or her ambitions.
Switch it up Sometimes people can get in a monotonous motion. Although routine is comfortable and helpful for everyone, (especially children), sometimes changing things up a bit can refresh your homeschool. For the most part it is good to have set patterns of routines. People know what to expect and are not thrown off. With learning, things can get a little dry though doing the same thing over and over. Some days you need to switch subjects just to keep it more “exciting.”
There is no set formula for how to run your day. Every family is different. This is the beauty of homeschool. How you define “switching it up” is completely up to you. For example, my family and I had the set routine of breakfast, reading, Math, snack, Science or Social Studies, lunch, elective, and closing routine. I was finding that some days felt too rushed, while other times, I felt like I shortchanged the end of our day because our beginning took longer than expected. So some days we would flip flop our schedule to give the other subjects a fair amount of time. After reflecting, we also tried block scheduling, where every other day we would focus on Math and Language Arts, and the other off days are Social Studies and Science. We just realized that we needed to switch how we were expecting our days. Once we found what worked, we stuck with it for a while, until it felt like it did not work for us as much.
Help from others You can refresh your homeschool by seeking help from resources and/or other people. Read some inspirational homeschool books, blogs or listen to podcasts. These can be helpful because hearing relatable stories from other homeschooling parents can make you feel better knowing that you’re not alone. Help can also be in the form of connecting with other families to set up field trips, play dates, or lesson swapping. Homeschooling is a big job so connecting with others makes you a part of a bigger community of people with similar goals.
What helps you refresh your homeschool the best?
Work From Home Mommy of 3 bio:
Michele is a wife, mommy of 3, and educator. When she’s not homeschooling and chasing a baby around the house, she likes to bake, read, and blog. You can find her blogging adventures at Work From Home Mommy of 3.