Welcome to a brand new homeschooling year. Starting a new homeschool year can be both exciting and overwhelming. You sit down and plan out an amazing school year. If you are like me, you buy the supplies and have this beautiful image of what the school year will look like. Then you hit the first week… Real life sets in and you are left wondering what to do when the homeschool plan fails. I have a few great tips for you as well as a little encouragement. You can do this and you don’t have to do it alone.
When the Homeschool Plan Fails
It can be easy to plan out the perfect homeschool year. You can sit down and write out the schedule for every moment of every single day. Then life sets in. The glue takes too long to dry on the paper mache. The kids are not interested in doing Math today or forever. Your child isn’t as ready for a certain concept as you planned. It just all goes wrong. On those days it can be easy to call it quits and just pack it all in. You don’t have to though. There are some things you can do to make it work.
Ditch the strict schedule
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to schedule every moment of your homeschool day. You don’t even have to have a minute by minute play by play of everything children have to do. Instead, add a little flexibility to the schedule. I really like scheduling blocks of time for things. If something runs long, it’s not a worry. If they finish early, they have extra time for other things. Give yourself a break and add in some flexibility.
Not every concept is going to come easily. Don’t let this stop you in your tracks. You are not a failure because your child doesn’t learn something the first time you teach it. Learning is a process. Sometimes your child is not developmentally ready to learn a concept. Other times, they are just not motivated to learn. Do not put the weight of their education on yourself. There is also the possibility of learning difficulties such as dyslexia to consider. When you homeschool, expect struggles and have a game plan to move past them.
Adjust your expectations
Whether you are new to homeschooling or have been homeschooling for years, it can be easy to bring over-inflated expectations to the table. If you feel like your homeschool plan has failed it may be time to adjust your expectations. This does not mean dropping the standard. You can hold your child to a high standard without expecting things of them that aren’t realistic. This will mean looking at their strengths and weaknesses and teaching based on those instead of what others are teaching. Your child may not look like someone else’s child but they will thrive if you focus on their strengths and weaknesses.
Schedule in Pencil
There is nothing more liberating than a schedule written in pencil. If you schedule in pencil, you can erase things and move them around based on what is needed. We use a large dry erase board in the kitchen to keep up with our schedule. It makes it easy to shift things when needed. Another great thing about scheduling in pencil is that you can completely erase something if it needs to be tabled for the day.
Don’t be afraid to drop a subject or lesson
When you plan your school year you may start it with the intention of teaching 27 different subjects and doing a zillion unit studies. As the year continues this may quickly overwhelm you. It is completely ok to drop a subject you added in or a lesson that doesn’t fit. It doesn’t mean that you can’t add it later but it will give you the freedom to focus on the things you decide are most necessary.
You are not failing!
The most important thing I can tell you is that you are not failing. It may seem like it but you are not failing. Instead, you are learning ways not to do it. Your homeschool will change from year to year and sometimes from day to day. Don’t be afraid of that. Just roll with it and you will do ok.
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