Well, we are at the end of our full week, full day year… my first with 4 of 5 kids involved and Emanuel’s first full on working year. This means I am already looking to the future, and the reality that I must now plan for FOUR instead of 3 and an intermittent. All this on the back of our first year in a new country with a new and less hands on (can I have my facilitator back now please?? oh and the funding??) system. It is hard to keep my confidence and even harder to gird the loins and plan ahead.
What more can I do than look to other sources for some suggestions and support? Once again Brave Writer comes through with her post: The Secret To Next Year’s Happiness! 3 tips to transform your homeschool this year! She just seems to know…
Years ago, when I was in between a June and an August, I realized that I wished I knew how I could plan a year that would end with smarter kids, and me—happy and relieved, not exhuasted and worried. Ever felt like that?
We all talk about how much we love homeschooling (really, most of us do!), but we also spend an equal amount of time:
- ditching one book for another,
- cycling back to the ditched program,
- ditching it again, and so on.
We go from:
- schedules to unschooling,
- plans to inspiration,
- child-led to parent-controlled,
- workbooks to unit studies,
- DVD instruction to co-ops,
looking for that perfect blend of instruction that leads to brighter kids, good feelings, and a clean kitchen to boot!
It’s true, homeschooling really is a life in flux. You are always striving for better. This year we went REALLY child led. I enjoyed that, but have come to the realization that not knowing a month in advance what is next has me scrambling to get those library books, find craft supplies and figure out the “how’s” to teaching that subject or concept.
BUT all is not lost, Brave Writer has some suggestions…
1. See the end from the beginning.
Ask yourself in August how you will know you’ve been successful when you get to June. Pretend you are looking back on the coming year, not looking forward. What is the measurement you use to evaluate your home education experience?
We don’t have to measure our progress all the same way… I know looking back at last year… how were we successful ??? Listen to the twins read!!! Watch Emanuel inhale dinosaur information and use words like herbivore and carnivore PROPERLY. Watch Trinity write out her letters and sound out a word or two… we may not have made huge leaps all round on all subjects but our foundation is becoming stronger and stronger.
And then there are the ones for me… I managed to learn things myself… I can take pride in our finished work which I also shared on the blog. I helped OTHERS to find interesting projects because I took the time to research and share my information.
And then there is the family success… we went out as a family and all enjoyed the learning process. The older kids helped the younger kids learn what they in turn had learned from me in years previous. We end our month with completion and joy…
Her second suggestion is to find a “Secret Need“…
- The need for order (if you feel you live in chaos).
- The need for support (friends, spouse, community, accountability).
- The need for happiness (no tears, laughter, energy around family activity).
- The need for balance (between project-y activities and daily predictable routine).
- The need for appreciation (someone else affirms what you do and gives you the praise you deserve).
- The need to have measurable accomplishments (when most days feel like you’re a hamster on a wheel and you can’t see progress).
- The need for fun (laughter, activities, surprises, family outings or games).
It is easy to forget that a homeschool needs more than a public school’s checklist of tests and papers. Homeschooling is a family event and a family has needs that bleed into the lessons. Which brings me to #3 on her helpful list…
3. Other people in your life have goals, agendas, and needs too.
You need to know two things: You can’t make everyone happy, particularly those outside your family. Conversely, it helps to listen to your family members and provide one or two ways for them to be happy, even if they want things you don’t typically want or find difficult to do.
The point is this: Don’t forget to plan how you will feel this year, not just what you will do.
We need to feel good about our year, about our choice and about our plan… but plans cannot be set in stone. So as I look to my next year I will look back to this year and say YES WE DID GOOD! We learned, we loved and we laughed and it was done together. The ups and downs have culminated in progress and that is something to be proud of. You can read ALL of this helpful blog entry on the Brave Writer page HERE.