Countdown: 1 day left to this series.
Day 30: Looking Back to Stretch Forward
Day 31: Ready Set Go!
Reflecting on what you have accomplished your first year and even on your first day of school will keep you planning forward. Looking back is key to being able to plot your course the next year or even the next day.
Making mistakes is part of homeschooling, learning from them is key to making homeschool fit your family. Though I want you to take many points away from this boot camp, one point that is especially important to remember is to adjust your expectations to survival mode the first year. Goals kick start your journey and you want to see them as guide posts for the E N T I R E journey and not to be accomplish all in your first year. If you have taken time to learn homeschool lingo, track your week, practice dividing out a book into manageable lesson plans each day and determine what home education will mean for your family, you will have accomplished more than the average new homeschooler who starts her school year only thinking about nothing else but curriculum choices.
Now is the time to figure out where you will have time for yourself in the day, what kind of support you want from your husband and when you will take time for physical refreshment and spiritual nourishment.
Don’t start school and then just “plug in” everything else wherever. Plan your day by “zones” in bigger chunks. For example, mark 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. on your calendar as school. That means no phone calls answered, no door answering and no cleaning. As your children get older, they can do some school by themselves at the table or school room while you sneak away for 10 minutes to change out the wash. Many times now my morning is very free because my sons grow more and more independent.
Look at your progress as a journey, measuring year to year and not day to day. For example, if one year you got caught up on science, then use the next year to bring history to the front burner and cover less science. One year you may add another family member to your family and feel you are behind. You are not, it is just life. Catch up the next year.
Measure progress by longer periods is key to being successful. If I could have this next point bleed through the pages of this post, I would. I have been called dramatic on a few occasions, but here is my pleading point: Do not measure progress by THIS year only. It takes almost a year or more to finally pull away from the public school mentality.
Explaining this point, one remark I consistently get each year among my new homeschooling parents is: “I’ll give this a year”. Wow. What pressure a family has just put on itself. Each family member feels pressure to perform successfully for the first year. An example I like to use to illustrate how short sighted this statement could be is comparing it to your first year as a new parent of your first born.
(Mr. Senior 2013. Yes, then I was less “round” than I am today, but more exhausted.)
I know that over parenting was involved with me and hubby. We use to say that one small baby can wear out two parents and two sets of grandparents. If I had judged having more children on what I did that first year of parenting by over rocking, over coddling and over worrying, I may not have had any more children. The truth of it is that sleepless nights, extra reading about how to care for newborns and asking questions of veteran parents enabled me to join the ranks of millions of other capable parents. Your first year homeschooling will be your certification to joining the thousands of successful homeschool parents.
Looking back to see what you did your first year will help you to look forward and to not measure success by only your first year. Homeschooling truly begins when you stretch forward.