It’s that time again. Most of us are starting or have already begun our 2019-2020 school year. For those who have never homeschooled before, there may be some anxiety coming into this new venture. You may feel confused or overwhelmed. For you pros, you probably already have your system in place and are ready to go. Wherever you see yourself WELCOME! This will be a year of big undertakings and major accomplishments. You can and will do great things! Starting a new school year (or new anything for that matter) can be demanding and requires planning and preparation, but it also requires peace and clarity. Don’t walk into this season so stressed that you destroy your chances for a positive, successful school year.
First, know that everything won’t be perfect and that’s ok. Things happen. That’s life right? Although we make our plans, some things are bound to happen. We found out four months before our first “official” year homeschooling that we were expecting baby number eight, and she was due right in the middle of the school year (December 29). It was not the best time for anything much less a new little person. We went six day weeks sometimes. We did homeschool on appointment days. We did unit studies and review after the baby was born instead of traditional lessons. For me, it was so all over the place. But, we made it through. And our kindergartner learned to read after only the first 90 days! It wasn’t perfect at all. I would have loved to follow a set schedule, with weekly lessons, Fridays off, etc. But that’s not what took place and that’s ok. The end result was everything I wanted from the start: a child that was educated.
Second, make it your own. Just like your home and your car are yours. So is this homeschool! Make it what you want. It doesn’t have to look or flow like anyone else’s. I have a friend who homeschools and our styles are completely different. She teaches her children through lots of reading and experiences on their farm. I like to teach through content specific lessons, reading, and multimedia. Is her homeschool better than mine or vice versa? No. They just work best for our unique families and our personalities. And yours will too. Your homeschool will work just right for you. So don’t be afraid to take the parts you can use from several different sources. Then put them together to create your own unique homeschool experience.
Third, forget about it! You fail you learn. Pick yourself back up and keep going. You will find many things that are great for someone else, but will be horrible for you and your family. You may try a curriculum, schedule, or activity and find it just doesn’t work for you. Although it worked perfectly in that YouTube video, it was a big flop for your household. It’s alright. There’s always something to learn from any situation. Take those lessons and use them to get better. Take a minute, regroup, and keep it moving. You may find a solution right away or it may take awhile. Either way keep going! Just because the first or second attempt doesn’t work it does not mean the third or fourth way won’t be a success. So let go of those failures, learn your lessons, and continue moving forward.
Lastly, don’t measure time, measure learning and experiences. It’s so easy to want to check things off your list of daily tasks just to feel you’ve accomplished everything. You will never do everything you want to in one school year. So, don’t beat yourself up when your to-do list never gets done. Don’t get discouraged if your child doesn’t get it the first time and you need to take an extra week or two to get a concept down. It’s ok. You may be off your schedule by a week, but what your child will gain intrinsically will be priceless. A child’s education is more about the quality of the education and less about the number of worksheets completed.
So in the midst of planning and beginning this academic season, be sure to breath, don’t sweat the failures, and enjoy your children and homeschool this season.