All right ladies, let’s do this.
It’s that time of year again: the beginning of a new homeschool year. (Well, for most of us. You year-rounders and early birds…hat’s off to you!)
So as we begin this journey once again, it is time to prepare our minds and hearts for the race set before us. We’ve got nine whole months ahead of lessons, planning and teaching, and yes – even tears, tantrums and ultimatums.
We’ll be busy with dance or soccer, softball or Robotics, and finding time to meal plan, attack Mt. Washmore and eventually – eventually shave those legs…if we’re lucky.
It’s a whirlwind; us veterans know. So, now is a “sacred” time of quiet, meditation and peace. It’s a wonderful time really. (Kind of like those beautiful and blissful months of pregnancy when you forgot how bad it feels when you are passing a live human. Yeaaaaaah…you remember.)
So let’s take advantage of the calm and get our mindset straight for this race!
5 Things We Can Do For A Smooth(er) & Happy Homeschool Year
1. Get that mission down on paper
If you’ve read my posts before then you know how I feel about having a mission statement.
It’s a must. It’s what keeps you focused and going the direction you should. With different homeschooling methods and styles plus a smorgasbord of curricula available, it is all too easy to get sidetracked or become insecure over your chosen plans.
Knowing exactly why you are doing what you are doing gives you a measure of security; a feeling of “sureness”. It will also help when it comes time to choices.
Bad days are bound to happen as well. Having a written mission close by and available can prove to be invaluable on those difficult days. We need to always keep in mind our goals and work toward that end result, come what may.
Here is a post I wrote that outlines how I wrote my own mission statement. You may or may not choose to do yours that way, but it can point you in the right direction and give you food for thought.
2. Decide how you are going to lesson plan.
When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
This is so true. I’ve learned the hard way.
When it comes to lesson planning you MUST figure out how it works best for you.
Would you benefit from having the whole year planned out? Do you take it week by week, or put together a unit over a few months?
It really doesn’t matter but what does matter, and what can possibly completely bomb your school year, is if you are inconsistent or unprepared.
Here is a link to how I planned my homeschool year last year. There are other ways as well.
3. Allow for inconsistencies, days off, etc.
Nothing takes the fun out of living and learning like rigidity. If you find that you are on too much of a time constraint, or overwhelmed by anything, something has to give.
It’s always worth it to simplify and/or scale down. Before the school year starts is good time to really think about this. I have plenty of things I’d like to do this year but when I write it all down I immediately see that it isn’t all going to fit. And “time and unforeseen occurrences” happen, so I need to consider that as well. One hour lessons don’t always take a hour. Art projects can sometimes be drawn out because – hey – they are so much fun!
So it’s really worth it to give yourself room for margin or you might be having a lot more melt downs than is any good.
4. Reflect on what you can improve from last year.
Lessons learned. Literally. What lesson did YOU learn Mom? This is your ultimate defense: experience.
It’s worth it to do a honest review of what went well last year and what didn’t go so well. Sometimes that means cutting something out we really hate to, but hey – it didn’t work! So why waste another year trying to make it work when it most likely won’t?
I speak from experience. I tried to come up with my own plans and lessons when I’ve realized for the third year in a row that it just works best when it’s all organized and planned out for us. Yes, I had let go of ideas I was holding onto. But, in the end, you have to consider what works.
5. Get out the house!!
Okay, we know it’s called homeschooling but seriously…Get out the house! Face it: staying home all the time can be maddening and worse yet, it can leave us in a rut. It’s frustrating for the kids as well.
Getting out the house can be refreshing, renewing, and give you the mental and physical boost you need to come back and attack your studies and home life.
It doesn’t need to cost money. Something as simple as getting outside for a weekly walk or hike to observe nature is both educational and rejuvenating. But actual field trips are exciting too. Check your local museums for free days.
Gettig outside can also be as simple as “getting outside”. Take the books out in the yard, or pack a picnic and eat at a park. What our bodies and minds do in nature is healthy and necessary for our mental survival.
Plan now different ways you can get outside weekly. Come up with a list of field trips, parks, or nature hikes you can do.
Preparation is key for a successful year.
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We’ve discussed 5 simple ways you can have a more successful, happy school year but really there is so much more to it. But, if you incorporate these five ideas you’ll find that the bulk of the year will be smoother and more memorable for all involved.
Which suggestion did you like best?
What would you add?
Let the discussion begin! Let’s encourage one another, not just today but all year long!
Join our Rock Your Homeschool Facebook group to have a happy, ROCKIN’ homeschool year.