It’s almost back to school time! We are homeschoolers and are pretty free as to when we are able to begin the school year. I normally like to begin in early August. This gives us plenty of time to take as many days (weeks…) off as we need to and still finish at a decent time in the spring/summer. This year, however, we moved again and have needed August to get settled.
As a homeschooler the biggest part of going back to school really isn’t sending your kids back to school. It’s getting yourself ready. I remember the first year I taught Reagan. Back then I was much more anal and I planned and organized and planned some more and created a bulletin board and fretted and lost sleep. She was so young that it didn’t really matter if she learned anything that year or not. Still, I wanted the beginning of school to go well. I won’t get into how horrible I was as a teacher forcing a three and a half year old to complete worksheets when all she wanted to do was color and play with play dough. Wow.
Since then I have relaxed a little (with worrying) and don’t fret as much as before. Reagan is now at the age where she actually needs to be learning and comprehending things. By the grace of God this happens. And I can honestly say it is not me. What would I say now to someone who is just getting started on the homeschool path?
My best advice, what I have to continually tell myself, is to take it one day at a time. One bad day is not going to blow the whole school year (thankfully!). There will be really good days where everything clicked, everyone paid attention, and everything was understood. Then there will be really bad days where nothing clicked, attention spans were next to nothing, and Mommy yelled a little too much. Ahem. Most of the days will range somewhere in between. The great thing is you get to start over and try again the next day.
Which leads to another great piece of advice: stay flexible. One of the great things about homeschooling is the ability to teach what you want, when you want, where you want, how you want, using whatever you want. And what works one week might not work the next. Use that built in flexibility to try new options. It keeps school fresh as well.
The first couple of days are always a little awkward to me. Fumbling around with notebooks and computer programs and sometimes papers flying everywhere, the first day of homeschool isn’t a study in grace or composure. It’s so nice to get those first few days under the belt; then the days begin to groove, or at least you don’t feel so awkward switching from one subject to the next.
I’m looking forward to getting this year started. We live in the Colonial/Revolutionary beltway it seems. We studied those periods last year, but are going to redo them since we’re living in the middle of it all now. I think I’m more excited than Reagan to be able to visit key places and stand where our Forefathers stood. Not to mention we’ll be learning how to sew and cook this year along with doing lots of experiments and reading and writing. I think it’s going to be a great year. Now I just have to make it past those first couple of days.