Every January I like to look at and evaluate several aspects of our homeschool. Below are 5 questions that I ask myself to make the second half of our year dynamic!
- What programs/curriculum are working and what is NOT working for my family?
- What scheduling tricks seem to be the best and what needs to be tweaked?
- What should be added or taken away?
- Are there any negative attitudes that need to be dealt with?
- What part of the juggling act between mommy, wife, teacher, and everything else do you most struggle with?
1. Re-Evaluate Your Curriculum Choices
When I first started homeschooling I thought we had to finish everything we started. I would push through, even when it was painful. I didn't realize until much later that it was so unnecessary! One reason we homeschool is to give our children choices in their education.
Is a curriculum choice NOT working for you? Don't be afraid to change some things.
Some things to ask yourself:
- Is it truly the curriculum that is not a good fit?
- Could the problem be with the implementation of it, or even the way it is scheduled?
- Can you modify it to work for you?
If it truly is the curriculum, toss it! When looking for a replacement, look for something to fill the gap that the previous curriculum didn't fill. The last question to ask is whether or not you need to fill the gap. Is it necessary to your school year? If not, just wait until next year to pick up something new.
If you need some help with some ideas, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! I would love to help you find the right curriculum to meet your needs!
2. Take a Look at Your School Schedule
I have to have a schedule! I am so envious of moms who can do it without a schedule. I have tried going without so many times, but it never works! My sweet children always figure out how to get out of doing some of the work and I get way too stressed.
The thing I have learned about scheduling is that it constantly needs tweaking. Hold your schedule loosely. When you need to change it, do it. I call it Planning with Flexibility!
3. Be Willing to Change the Course Load
It is so easy to add too much to your plate because there are so many good options out there! Have you added too much this year? Are your children frustrated or overwhelmed with everything that needs to be completed? It may be a good time to take out the trimmers and trim a little off the edges.
It is also possible to expect too little of our angels. Many times, our children need more challenges. They can get board doing the same things over again. Do you need to spice up their learning experience with some different educational options? STEM projects like the ones in my post on Educational Gifts are fantastic add-ons to any curriculum!
4. Give Everyone an Attitude Check
Everyone needs an attitude check from time to time! Especially me. Is everyone's attitude in the right place? Think of one or 2 positive attributes to focus on for a few weeks.
If things have gotten a little more crazy than you want to admit, a family meeting may be in order. This can give you a chance to discuss the issues together and come up with new goals.
One of my favorite tools is from We Choose Virtues. Heather has come up with a fantastic way to teach your children 12 different virtues and actually have them stick! I have used this program on so many different occasions. Now there is even a program for pre-teens and teens!! It is definitely worth checking out!
5. Spend Some Time Evaluating YOU!
Here are some things to think about that will help you evaluate where you are and maybe give you a picture of what areas in your life can be improved.
- Do you have a time that you can regularly (or semi-regularly!) sit down with your creator and renew your spirit? I have always struggled with this! I have found that when I let this part of my life slip out of my grasp, the rest of my life starts to follow down the slippery slope as well! There are so many options available right now, even devotionals that encourage you to take 5-10 minutes. Keep your eyes open for a special challenge that I am starting sometime in January. I would love for you to join me!
- I saw a T-shirt recently that said, "I wanted to go jogging, but Proverbs 28:1 says, 'The wicked run when no one is chasing them.' So there's that..." I cannot tell you how true this is for me!!! I hate to run, and when I am having an auto-immune flare-up, my body hurts so much that it is almost impossible to exercise. I want to encourage you (and me) to try to spend 20 minutes each day or even 3-4 times a week exercising. I'd like to tell you that I have a challenge planned for this as well, but that motivation may be a little time in coming!
- What are the top few things in your life that get you the most worked up or the most depleted? If you can't think of anything, for the next few days jot things down that make you angry, frustrated, exhausted, or emotional. Do you see a pattern? What can you do to minimize some of those things, or make the process a little easier? My motto while living in a developing foreign country is Simplify!
- Just like we have to look at and evaluate our children's schedules, we need to do the same with our own. Is there anything in your day that is taking up more time than it should, or even wasting time? Is there something productive or even a hobby that can take the place of wasted time? Although I don't map out my entire day (mainly just the homeschooling time), I find that having a loose plan in place gives me a guide to follow and keeps me accountable to what needs to be done. It also takes away some of the pressure!