Jul 31, 2015

Getting Ready For Another Homeschool Year

What I'm changing to make our year great!


We're rapidly approaching another school year and for many of us that means another year of homeschooling through our own chronic illness or that of our child's.

How do you eagerly approach a year that you know is going to bring a lot of hard work, stress and possibly conflict? For some, it brings about increased symptoms from our illness.

I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that none of us would look forward to that kind of year. 

So, as homeschool Moms who are either working through a chronic illness or helping to care for a chronically ill child, there are some important things you could do before school starts.

Here's what I've been doing this summer as time and health allow.

1.  I'm Changing My Attitude
Our homeschool is greatly influenced by our attitude. One of my very favorite authors is the late Zig Ziglar. His famous quote, "Quit Your Stinkin' Thinkin" is also one of my favorites. I'm not naturally a positive person and have to say this to myself often.

We may find ourselves approaching our homeschool with dread, telling ourselves that it will be hard and miserable, listing all the reasons we're messing up our children. 

A better approach would be to enter in with a positive attitude and gratefulness that we have the awesome privilege of teaching and learning right along with our children, knowing that we have God's help.

I love how my friend approaches her day in the morning, she happily greets her boys with, "Good morning, we get to homeschool today!"  Now I'm usually not quite that chipper in the morning but I'm determined to greet our mornings with the best smile I can and a cheerful "good morning!"

2.  I'm Changing My Environment
I'm a book and a paper-a-holic and I tend to be surrounded with books and articles that I want to read, am currently reading or those that I want my children to read.  That can get pretty messy if I'm not careful.

This summer I've been working on clearing out and cleaning up my school bookshelves, my desk, my piles and my files.  

I've been tossing things that can no longer be used, putting up for sale things that hopefully someone else wants and giving away things that are still usable but not worthy of selling.

I'm also working on the areas of our home that have collected clutter and areas that require a lot of my attention.  

I'm trying to get as organized as possible before school starts so that I can focus on school and not the clutter.

When I was at my sickest, this sometimes meant putting a pile of stuff in a box and hiding it somewhere until I could get to it. Don't stress, just do what you can and enlist the help of your family or a good friend.

3.  I'm Changing My Plan
As I plan for school this year, I'm thinking about the things that worked in the past and the things that brought about the most melt-downs. I have 15 years of experience with four children but I'm always open to changing and looking for ways to make our days run more smoothly.

If this is your first year homeschooling, don't worry if you have growing pains, that's completely normal. You'll be learning to work with your children, identifying their learning styles and setting boundaries.  

They will have a learning period as well, besides their schoolwork, they may need to learn to deschool if they've been in the public or private school setting. This can take the whole year but don't throw in the towel.  

Work on building your relationship and setting up a good system that works for your family.

If you've been homeschooling for awhile, be flexible and willing to change what doesn't work. Think about what caused your homeschool to be stressed or what just didn't work well and come up with a few solutions. You may have to do this periodically throughout your school year.

A vital part of my plan are the schedules I've put in place for how our day will run, when we'll have group studies and a flexible chore schedule.  

Having structure, even when we may be having a bad health day is so important and helps our family stay on course.

4.  I'm Changing Controls
It doesn't matter how long I've walked with the Lord, it seems to be a constant exercise for me to give up control and put it back where it belongs, in God's hands.

He has called me to homeschool and He promises to help and be there every step of the way.  

I have quite a history with the Lord and I know, but often forget, that when He has control over my homeschool it works much better. Does that mean my days will be rosy and my children will do all their chores without my asking and never argue? Not a chance. We all have free will.

What it does mean, is that I don't have to stress over what I'm doing each day or worried about the 10th sick day in a row or how in the world will we ever finish school.  

I don't even have to worry that I don't know how to teach a topic or that my child's not getting it. When I stop during those times and seek the Lord through prayer He always leads and guides me and provides the help I need.

Despite my older girls missing chunks of their academic years in Middle and High School, they both did very well and successfully graduated. How did that happen you say?

We learned to skip the fluff and focus on the material that was most needed and required.

Learning will continue for the rest of their lives. My goal is to teach my children how to learn, how to think, how to find out anything that they want to know and most importantly to love learning.

So, now that you've seen a few of the steps I'm taking to make this year great, what steps will you take to ensure that your upcoming year will please the Lord and be successful?  I'd love to hear your ideas.



2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I'm struggling with my planning. I don't even feel well enough to plan right now. Hopefully I'll have some good days soon so I can get some planning done and be ready to start in September. This is when I need to trust that God has it all under control. May God bless your upcoming school year.

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    1. You're welcome! When I was my sickest we bought curriculum that didn't need any planning or teaching from me. I just needed to make sure the kids did their work, help when needed and graded. It was really helpful though it's not my preferred method of homeschooling. Sometimes God's plan for us is different than we think it should be. Definitely trust and seek God and you'll do fine. God bless your year as well.

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