Regardless of if you are a new or seasoned homeschooler, the first few weeks of a new homeschool year can be unpredictable. Perhaps you are adding new students or curriculum, but even if you aren’t, your kids are getting older so you are teaching a grade you haven’t taught before! This can cause homeschooling parents to become discouraged and frustrated with homeschooling and some to even assume right away it wasn’t the right decision.
Hopefully knowing that it is common makes you feel a little better about it, but I wanted to share a few extra tips as well for getting through that first month or so.
- Don’t give up right away! It takes time to work out kinks and find your groove – whether with homeschool in general or even a certain resource. Don’t decide something doesn’t work on the first day or after a week. Give yourself and your children time to settle in and see if the resource improves.
- Don’t be afraid to let something go. That being said, I want to make sure you know you have full permission to stop doing something that isn’t serving your family well. I have absolutely quit using resources after a month or a few months or even half a year. Once I know that something isn’t playing a positive role in our learning, I stop. I am not bound to a plan or any certain resource. For instance, I am not about busy work. I would rather the kids spend their non – educational time playing with each other. There have been programs over the years I have felt were too much busy work so after trying them for a while I just let them go. I want everything in our school time to be purposeful and useful to our development and growth.
- Hold your plan loosely. This, isn’t specific to curriculum, it’s anything that relates to your school day. Maybe you planned to morning school but everyone is too groggy in the mornings; then don’t! Move your plans to do school when fits for you. If you planned to accomplish x amount of work today but your kids are playing together so nicely and you don’t want to interrupt, move some things until tomorrow! In the past couple years I have always had an awesome idea in my mind for how I wanted to document our school year and it has never panned out how I imagined. To be honest, I have already made some adjustments this year! I started the year with a Monday – Friday homeschool week like I have always done and a few weeks in I decided to switch to Monday – Thursday. I would not be doing anyone any favours by sticking to my orginal plan just to stick to it; we all benefit so much more when I am willing to adapt to what works best of us. Remember the beauty and freedom of homeschool and how it allows you to make it work best for your family.
- Get outside. If all else fails, go outside! Throw some snacks in a bag, grab a blanket and bring your work to your yard or a local park or beach. Or don’t bring the work and just go explore and enjoy! It is hard to stay down and discouraged with fresh air and sunshine. We have done this a few times already this year and it seems to renew everyone’s excitement. You don’t want to homeschool from a place of resentment or dread. Homeschooling allows us the benefit of finding ways to learn to enjoy learning and that is how lifelong learners are created.
Three weeks into our school year and I’ve already had many kinks to work out! This is my first year with both girls officially in school. During our first week it was a gong show as they both wanted my full help and attention on all their work. Of course, my daughter in kindergarten does need my help as she is brand new to school and can’t read. My daughter in grade 2 can read fluently and her work was review, but she didn’t want to miss out on that time and connection with me. The pull left me a bit frazzled but by week 2 we worked it out. I have them work on something independently like their printing book and their keyboarding without tears lesson while I help the other. As mentioned above, I also have already changed from a 5 day school week to a 4 day school week, and who knows, I might change it back again at some point! I hold these things very loosely.
Remember, YOU are the author of your homeschool. Do not hesitate to make it work for you and to make changes as you go.
Please reach out to me if I can help you are all with your homeschool planning or execution. I am here and happy to help!