As many of us begin a new year of teaching our children, the feeling of starting fresh can be exciting and motivating. But some time around the fifth or sixth week, this excitement can begin to wane. We realize we aren’t keeping the pace we set in the beginning of the year or a life event has happened that was unexpected.
Success isn’t necessarily defined by following our plan perfectly. Our “plan” doesn’t always take into account the unexpected or the discouragement that comes from real life homeschooling.
There are some things we can do to help us have a year of success that isn’t necessarily defined by our own strict standards of homeschooling. It’s defined by embracing life and includes learning in all parts of our days.
Tips for a successful year:
- Be flexible – When we write out lesson plans and have a schedule [which are important], it can be all too easy to remain bound by these rather than using them as tools. Keep your days flexible and allow for the natural flow of learning as it comes. If you have in your plans to read about birds and it leads to going outside and studying nests and trees, go for it! Our children are experts at leading us with questions. Explore while their curiosity is peaked.
- Relax your standards – While I think as mothers/teachers our standards for ourselves can be high, let’s keep the standards for our children at a reasonable level. There’s nothing wrong with expecting excellency from our children, but sometimes these standards can actually get in the way of achieving that simply because we become too focused on meeting it. Our children are going to make mistakes; they are going to fail. This gives us the opportunity to teach and guide them and watch them flourish as they grow. Don’t allow yourself to become frustrated over a standard that may not be realistic for the stage of your child. Relax!
- Let go of bad days – We all have them. It’s inevitably going to happen. But don’t dwell on them and don’t allow them to discourage you. Let them go. Sometimes even in the crux of a bad day, it’s OK to scrap the schedule, scrap the plans and do something out of the ordinary. Begin again tomorrow and let the bad day go. Having several bad days? Rearrange some things, or try a different method. Be mindful of your child’s sleep patterns and diet. Sometimes adjustments need to be made. But sometimes, kids have bad days, too.
- Have a plan – While being relaxed and flexible are good, and necessary at times, it’s really important to have a plan, a map of sorts, for where you want to head during the year. Even if the plan is a loose one, it really helps you to have some direction and focus on doing something intentional. For myself, I feel lost without some kind of idea of what I want to accomplish throughout the year, and even breaking that down into weekly bits.
- Have fun! – Teaching your children can be a fun and enjoyable time. While having authority and order are essential, coming along side your children and simply doing life together while learning are the best years of your lives together. Have fun and enjoy them! 🙂
Most likely none of us will ever live up to the standards we set. It is not bad to aim high. Not at all! But keep it in perspective. The secret of success isn’t reaching the standards, it’s reaching our children. Don’t let the standards get in the way of that.
What are some tips you can share for a successful year?
Christin is the mother of 5 children. She has adopted the Charlotte Mason style and couples it with Tapestry of Grace. She enjoys a hot cup of coffee and snuggling with her kids & a good book. You can find her penning out homeschool days at Joyful Homeschool and sharing discipleship inspiration at Joyful Mothering. You can also find her chatting it up on Twitter as @ChristinWrites.
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