I’m sure I mentioned that our family just moved about three months ago in another post. With that move came a large shift in our homeschooling routine. In fact, for the past few months we haven’t had much of a routine at all. In double fact, my homeschooling days have been far from perfect.
Up until recently, most days I would fumble around wondering where the crayons have been packed away or when I will ever locate that important reference book we needed for history. That is, unless getting a simple breakfast meal on the table takes precedence over school one morning- in which case, I’d have to locate my favorite pots, pans, and silverware. Also packed away in the garage.
If it weren’t for my oldest daughter’s online school enrollment this semester I don’t think she would have gotten much out of me. Thankfully, my youngest enjoyed her weeks of free time, and seemed to jump right in to the idea of unschooling. Although, I don’t even know that I can call it unschooling. Although I know she must have learned something, there was definitely nothing education-enhanced or “learning-enrichment focused” during the first six weeks of our move, with the exception of few haphazard coloring sheets, and an occasional attempt at a workbook page for math. Coming from a mom who loves to plan and be organized, this was really hard for me to swallow.
During these past few weeks and months I’ve gone through the phases of being rushed, excited, exhausted, crazed, and hopelessly lost. The whirlwind of moving also sent my homeschooling plans for a loop.
Do you want to know something crazy? I almost put homeschooling on the shelf this semester. Don’t judge- but the public school two blocks away from my house seemed like just the reprieve I needed to unpack and get settled in while my kids got something-anything- in the form of lessons.
Needless to say, I resisted the urge (thanks to some strong encouragement from a close friend of mine), but I came mighty close! I’ve had my share of weak moments in the past, but these past two weeks have been, by far, the weakest as I seriously considered opting out of homeschooling altogether. I have my reasons, and although valid they may be, I am so, so glad that I have purposed to stick this out and continue with homeschooling my children – at least for this year.
My confidence arose as I made up my mind to pursue homeschooling from a different angle.
In my ebook, “Avoiding Homeschool Burnout” (which you can get for free by signing up for my newsletter, by the way), I shared some ways to ensure that we don’t crash and burn with homeschooling when we have a major life crisis or change in lifestyle.
There are a few ways to handle change. I learned a valuable lesson about how to handle those not-so-perfect homeschooling days. Two of those ways are: scale back or take it up a notch.
If you scale back, you’re simply streamlining your plans for the year. If you’re a heavy hitter, a true organization freak, Type A planner like myself, scaling back might help you! What that means is, you take out all the activities and goals that are not necessary for a productive school year. You whittle down your kids’ learning schedule so that your routine is not overwhelming. You hit the basics and you try not to worry so much about the extras, even though you probably still will. But at least you’re making progress toward scaling back.
Taking It Up A Notch.
Taking things up a notch is quite the opposite. If you are driven by goal-setting, maybe your passion for homeschooling will be reignited once you set a few brand new, shiny goals for yourself and your kids. Bring the kids on board and gather their ideas for the school year. Catch their vision and excitement (if they have any left, that is! LOL!) At any rate, with this method you’ll need to come at homeschooling from an entirely different angle. If what you did before wasn’t working, now’s the time to find a brand new way of doing things.
What I did:
I used a combination of both methods to get me through this hurdle. While scaling back on non-essential activities (I had planned a host of field trips now that we live in the middle of the city), I added in a layer of new goal-setting for my 1st grader and determined to be a more active support system for my 7th grader’s virtual studies. I wrote down a simple weekly plan for my youngest daughter’s subject areas and I purposed to wake up each morning around the same time and devote myself to fulfilling my role as a mentor/teacher/learning coach. Nothing else. No writing or blogging, no cleaning the house, and super quick breakfasts. For 2 ½ hours straight. I follow the new routine I’ve outlined for my 7 year old, and with my plans laid out before me-notebook style- suddenly homeschooling seems simplified. It became easier. I check in on my middle schooler on occasion, and make a note of tasks she needs help with for her upcoming research paper.
I made it- so far.
I made it through the crazy transition of moving to another city and I decided not to enroll my kids in a local public or private school- no matter how good the schools might be. Will this decision remain concrete until graduation? Who knows? I’m taking it one year at a time. But for now, I feel a tremendous peace about our decision to continue homeschooling.
Homeschooling has become easier and lighter now that I have a plan in place. How about you? How do you handle your not-so-perfect homeschooling days?