Last year was my family’s eighth year homeschooling. It was also, at least toward the end, one of our worst.
What went wrong? I spread myself too thin. The kids’ activities were okay – no overload going on there. It was just me. I made too many commitments for myself and, by March, we were just trying to get through. Doing “the basics” is okay for awhile, for a season, but too long and it’s just plain boring and usually the perfect recipe for burn-out.
It’s taken me most of the summer to recover and get my excitement for school back, but – finally – the excitement is there. And, I don’t want to lose it this year, so there are three things that I’m going to make certain this school year is full of:
Friends. All too often, we homeschooling moms let ourselves get hyper-focused on academics. Yes, academics are important and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but relationships are equally – if not more – important. This year I’m going to make certain that we’re taking time to foster and savor friendships – for both me and my kids.
Fun. There can be a fine line here. My kids aren’t those “love of learning” types that I hear so much about, despite my best efforts, many aspects of school are not fun (can you say “math”?) for them and that’s just the way it is. I’m not going to wear myself out trying to make sure every aspect of our school day is fun, but when you’re doing “just the basics,” you can pretty much rest assured that the school day isn’t going to be a lot of fun.
My kids and I like hands-on activities. This year, I want to make sure that the science experiments, history crafts, and learning games don’t fall by the wayside like they did last year. For me, that’s going to mean leaving lots of room in our afternoons at least two or three days a week and planning two to three weeks in advance.
Field trips. We used to go on tons of field trips. As the kids got older, I quit planning them like I used to. Last year, we didn’t go on a single field trip, that I can recall. It wasn’t intentional; we just got busy. Even though my kids are now 8, 10, and 15, I still think there’s as much educational value in a well-planned field trip as there ever was, maybe even more so now that they’re old enough to pay attention (hopefully!) and listen to the field trip guides.
I also want to be mindful of the fact that my youngest is just a year older than my oldest was when we began homeschooling — I don’t want her to miss out on some of the fun field trips my oldest enjoyed just because I’ve already been there and done that.
Have you spent time reflecting on what worked and what didn’t in your homeschool last year? What positive changes will you make in the upcoming year?
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