In homeschooling, I believe it is so important to constantly be evaluating how things are running. The first step to fixing any problem or issue is to admit that you even have one. Caleb, our eldest, is the reason that we started homeschooling in the first place. He is also are guinnie pig. I can name at least 7 different curriculums that we have tried before getting to where we are now. I am not going to lie, I was really dishearted when I began noticing things weren’t going “smoothly” with him the last month or so. I was really hoping we could be in our current groove a tad longer but that just isn’t the case. So what do you do when things start going off track?
1.) PRAY – I truly believe that God shows up in every circumstance including our everyday grinds. When you first feel that bump of unrest turn to Him. I know from experience that he can change our hearts and redirect minds.
2.) EXPRESS YOUR FRUSTRATIONS – You need to have someone other than yourself to be your backboard. For me it’s my husband, Justin. I was a person for a long time who would carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. In the end, I just hurt myself and the ones closest to me. I personally know now to be at my best I need to vent or unload on a daily basis. (Yes even the little stuff). Justin knows me well enough and is brutally honest to tell me when either I’m the one being the issue or we legitimately have something icky brewing in our schoolday. It really helps to have an outsider looking in. I’m in the trenches day in and day out with my boys, so there are times when binders start forming on my eyes. My husband needs to come in and show me the light, if you will.
3.) TALK TO YOUR KIDS – We are homeschooling for the sake our children. I would be foolish to say that I know them so well I can read there minds and understand exactly where they are coming from. My boys are there own individuals and alot of times I feel like we are standing on two different planets. If there is tension in your school, chances are your kids are feeling it too. Caleb is at the point that he can tell me what he likes or doesn’t like about his school day. He can even make suggestions to help improve it. I also think its important to talk openly with younger kids as well. Is Xander acting up because he doesn’t like how his playtime is currently being interrupted? Is Wesley crying more because he feels like he hasn’t had as much one-on-one time? Basically, get the kids involved no matter what age.
4.) PLAN THE ATTACK – You should be in some sort of agreement on your plan of attack AND set a deadline. If you are trying a new schedule, you may want to give it 2-4 weeks and then reevaluate. Same with a new curriculum. Other issues you may be able to see change in a day or two. Either way you should have a deadline of the latest you want to see improvement, otherwise you need to try something new.
Our issue has been with Caleb and how long it has been taking him to get through his language arts lesson. Currently, he is using Abeka 6th grade. Caleb and I both agree that we really do like this curriculum. It includes spelling, penmanship, language arts, and reading. Lately, it has been taking him a good 3- 4 hours to get through everything. He’s staring off into space and I’m badgering…we are both frustrated and unhappy. Last night we had a family meeting about it. Caleb opened up on how he really enjoys Abeka and feels like he is learning alot from it verses other curriculums we have tried. He is bored, however, with spelling and doesn’t feel challenged. Penmanship is his favorite and thinks language arts fun (except now because we are currently doing a research report). He finds reading really hard, though. He doesn’t like the small wording or the amount that is being asked of him. So between Caleb, my husband, and myself we decided to jump ahead to 7th grade spelling, take a step back to 5th grade reading, and keep plugging along in 6th grade for penmanship and language arts. Fortunately, we already have most of the books needed on hand to do this. We plan on giving this approach a try for the next two weeks and then see where we are at. I have to say this really is something that I do love about homeschooling. We knew something wasn’t working quite right, so we are fixing it. If that means my kiddo is now spread over 4 different grades in all subjects, so be it. That definately is one of the many blessings that we have in what we are doing.
Happy Learning Everyone!