It’s a brand new year, which for the homeschool parent means it’s time for an overhaul. It’s also verging on burnout season; that time of year when many homeschoolers feel ready to throw in the towel and give up. But before you give in to homeschool burnout, consider these tips to revitalizing your homeschool.
1. Reevaluate Your Routine
Chances are good that your daily grind has gotten a little stale. This is a great time to work out those kinks that are keeping you from having the homeschool of your dreams. Maybe you realize that your child is a morning person, even if you are a night owl, and you need to begin your day earlier. Or possibly you are finding that your day gets stalled out when your child does math.
Look over your routine and see where things can get moved around to better accommodate your family. When we were having issues with our day, I realized that math had to be done first thing in the morning when my children are the most awake. Doing math in the afternoon was a recipe for disaster. They were tired from a busy morning, and their math lessons just seemed to drag on and on. So now we save the afternoon for less taxing assignments, like silent reading and working on projects. Maybe you are finding that you are out of the house too often during the week and you are realizing you need to cut down on out-of-the-house activities. Whatever your problem areas might be, make it a priority to remodel your daily routine.
If you set up a system back in September and it’s gotten a bit untidy, or maybe you need to do a complete overhaul. This is a great time to look over your learning spaces and see what needs updating and what just needs to go. I know in my homeschool we tend to have a paper problem. Whether it is drawings by my 6 year old or essays from my older children that need grading, we seem to have papers everywhere! One of my goals this year is to get the paper monster under control. This is a great time to take control of your learning spaces and make them work for you.
3. Reevaluate Your Curriculum
Someone once told me that the best curriculum is the one that gets done. If you find that there are certain things you are just not getting to during your day, then it’s time figure out why. Perhaps you bought a really amazing spelling program or a fancy art curriculum, but it’s just been collecting dust on your shelf. Think about why. Is it not getting done because you really don’t need it? Or because you need to adjust your routine to make space for it? Maybe the math program that you thought sounded perfect when you bought it is turning out to be a disaster for your child. This is a great time to look back on the fall and see what needs to change. I know it can feel like you have to struggle through because you paid good money for it, but if that math program is not working for your child, then you need to chuck it and find something that does.
4. Set a Realistic Goal
Homeschool moms may get stuck in the Pinterest mindset: we want everything to be perfect and amazing all the time, just like the pretty, perfect pinned pictures. This is a recipe for burnout. Remember those amazing projects and perfect homeschool rooms are only a glimpse, we’re not seeing the messy kitchen or the tantrum that happened mid-project. So rather than try to do everything all at once, set a realistic goal for the rest of the school year. It can be as simple as getting your 6 year old reading. Older children can give some input on what they’d like to accomplish, maybe they want to learn a new skill or try out a new activity. Maybe you need to set a goal for yourself, such as getting up an hour earlier in the morning or taking a daily walk. Choose something that you know you can actually implement and then make it happen.
5. Plan Something Fun
Think back to when you first began homeschooling. I’m sure you imagined that your children would find learning fun and exciting all of the time. The reality is that some days are hard, and homeschooling isn’t always fun. When I realized that we were all trudging through our day, I realized we needed a change. So I’m making it my goal that this year we would do one fun thing a week. I know my own limits and I know that I can’t make everything fun all of the time. But we can do one fun thing every week – it could be an art project, a field trip, a board game, or maybe just watching a movie together. That one fun activity a week can go a long way to revitalizing the whole school year. So add a splash of fun to your homeschool.
2016 is a brand new year laid out before us with no mistakes in it yet. So let’s refresh and revitalize our homeschools and make 2016 an amazing year!
Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-8 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 13 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also makes incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest