by Connie Overlock
A new year brings lots of opportunities for reflection. How is my health, am I eating right, am I exercising, what changes do I need to make? How are my relationships, is my job a good fit, is there something I need to let go of? What bad habits do I need to work on, what good habits can I cultivate in their place? I was once told that it takes about 13 weeks for a new habit to stick. When we replace a bad habit with a good one, it's probably a lot easier than cutting out something cold turkey.
In the same way that we reflect on these things, the new year is also a good time to reflect on and evaluate our homeschools. How are things going? Are you having more good days than bad or vice versa?
If it feels like you are having more bad days, it is definitely a time to seek change. Are your children enjoying learning? If not, is it the curriculum, the time of day, or perhaps outside stress that is wreaking havoc on your days? What is one change you could make today that would help relieve stress and make learning more fun?
Perhaps you are simply trying to cover too much in one day. You don't have to cover all of the required subjects in a day, or even in a quarter. Have you tried alternating days for science and history? Perhaps you could focus on science/nature study in the summer and history during the winter months when the weather is more conducive to being inside and reading? Have you tried tying subjects together through unit study?
Sometimes, the illness of a family member can cause much added stress and make it difficult to homeschool. If this is the case, taking a break (or schooling fewer days a week) while caring for someone who is ailing is a great solution. There are so many ways to cover 175 days of school in a year. Most families should be able to fit that into their schedule. Did you know that if you only schooled on the weekends, you would already have 104 days of school covered for the year?
Remember that learning is a lifelong process. In order to raise lifelong learners, we need to give them the tools to enjoy learning. Sometimes that comes by way of nurturing their interests, and sometimes it comes by way of new experiences. Whatever your homeschool looks like, take time to evaluate the environment, the curriculum and the attitudes of children and teachers to see if there is something that needs to be changed.
If you are finding you need help, remember that HOME volunteers are just an email or phone call away. They are always eager to answer your questions and concerns.