Let’s face it. That beginning-of-year excitement doesn’t last very long. Despite all of our best intentions, despite the new books and materials, several weeks into it and we begin to lose our momentum.
That’s because it’s human nature.
Remez Sasson, founder of SuccessConsciousness.com, cites overwhelm and stress as two common reasons for lack of motivation. Homeschoolers can easily fall into these two categories.
However, there are concrete things you can do to keep that pendulum swinging.
This post isn’t about what healthy food to eat, how to exercise, nor what to pray. Hopefully, you are doing all of those things already as they certainly do help with motivation levels. Instead, this post shares three strategies to encourage you to maintain staying power in your homeschool.
3 Ways to Maintain Beginning-of Year Stamina throughout the Homeschool Year
1- Plan in chunks. If you think of homeschool in terms of an entire year, it’s too overwhelming to manage. Instead, break the year into quarters (3-month periods) and then into months. Smaller chunks make it more feasible and more motivating for parents as you work toward the greater goals of the full year. On your calendar, block in time to plan 3-month increments, and also a set time when you’ll sit to plan for the month. When those items are scheduled, you’ll know they’re coming, and you’ll be more likely to follow-through.
2- Schedule quarterly assessments. Even if you’ll have an external evaluator, be sure to block in assessment weeks on your calendar that you’ll do yourself. I like to block in a week. That doesn’t mean I give exams on that week. It’s just a reminder for me to assess what we’ve been working on and what developmental level my little guy is at based on the skills we exercised during that quarter.
There are several benefits to blocking in those assessment weeks:
- It permits you to be in the moment with your child on a daily basis, rather than continuously testing and evaluating. Because you know there is a designated week at the end of three months to assess progress, you can focus on teaching, guiding, and exploring instead. Record observations on a daily/ weekly basis, but don’t provide judgement until that assessment week.
- When assessment week comes around, you can interpret observations and adjust your goals based on your child’s body of work, in addition to your observations from that quarter.
Charting progress helps you stay focused to keep going because you’ll have strides you’ll want to celebrate!
3- Schedule homeschooling breaks. Everyone needs a break. Block them into your yearly calendar. Be sure to have several days in a row each quarter. If you can, make it a week. Don’t feel like you are wasting time. Remember that homeschoolers have more hours than public-schoolers, so, you can afford it! A mental break refreshes parents and children alike. Besides, a solid, scheduled-in break allows you to be more productive both before and after the break. According to Rebecca Berreca, Ph.D. in Psychology Today, “dividing yourself from routine, you learn new habits.”
Here’s to longevity in your homeschool year!
What do you do maintain endurance throughout the homeschool year?
If you would like help with planning the homeschool year, I have a new planning eWorkshop specifically for parents of children with special needs. You’ll learn how to break the year into quarters while planning for an entire year. You can find out more here (+ instantly download the first module FREE).