A few weeks ago, I talked to you about my fall into the dreaded burn out. I want to assure you that it was not a quick fall, but one that took a few years and a lot of lack of self-confidence. One of the hard things about being a homeschooling parent is you can, at times, feel like you are alone in this gig. It can be scary to talk about failures you may feel you are going through. We look around and see other people’s homeschool and think, why can’t mine be like that?
So as I am moving into planning mode I am trying to be wary of looking too much at what others are doing and trying to assemble the things that will work for us. I have often played with the idea of putting together my own curriculum, taking from what I love about different styles and plans.
You see, a few weeks ago I had decided that I would follow another curriculum to the letter in this next year. But as time has passed and my burn out has lessened, I am seeing that I was setting myself up for failure once again.
So when you are in planning mode, try and sit back and look objectively at what works for you and for your kids. Try not to give in to the temptation to just follow something else blindly or be too inspired by others.
Try something new, but have a back-up plan and make it as inexpensive as possible. Don’t be afraid to mix Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, and Classical. In fact, throw the labels in the trash and don’t let any curriculum make you feel that you have to be a “purest” for it to work. If I have learned anything in the last 13 plus years of homeschooling, it is that you should never sell yourself to an ideal. Take what works and enjoy the journey.
My last piece of advice on planning is probably going to be unpopular. I have seen nearly everywhere lately that we should all not worry so much. Let things go. Homeschooling can be a party every day! There is always tomorrow, so let them play all day!!
Take all that with a very large grain of salt. Yes, play is important. Yes, don’t worry too much. Homeschooling, however, is not a party every day. And, yes, you should worry a little. I don’t like the word worry, after all God tells us not to (Matthew 6:25-34). But you really need to realize that tomorrow comes a lot faster than you think. Trust me, my oldest is 23. You don’t want your 18 year old cramming 12 years worth of learning into 1 year. There are expectations your child’s future employers will have, whether they go to college or trade school. Don't put off till tomorrow what can be done today. Discipline is important for our kids and for us. Make sure there is time for play every day, but also make sure that there is time for learning and chores, too. These are also very important.
Being too relaxed will lead to burn out faster than you think. Trust me. I spent all last year thinking, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.” Did you know the number one regret of most veteran homeschooling parents is lack of consistency? And if anyone tells you that their homeschool is fun every day, they are a big liar. Life is not fun every day. Sorry to poop on your party, but there will be hard times. But, I promise, there will be good times (great times, amazing times!!) as well. Try and have fun but don’t stress yourself to death because their learning isn’t always a party. Work fun in but don’t expect to teach every subject like it is a thrill a minute roller coaster ride.
As I am moving into planning mode I am hoping to share more of this journey with you. My hopes are to get started in a few things by mid-July. The goal is to take all December off and be done by May, since May is most often my worst month for burn out. So stay tuned for more.
Homeschooling is a journey. I know, very cliché of me, but it is true. Even if you start on a path and find out it was the wrong one, it is ok to go back. Try not to change your path too often and spend a lot of time in prayer about it. Consistency, love, and discipline are keys to success in homeschooling.