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5 Worries to Let Go This School Year


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Written by Alicia Hutchinson of Learning Well Community.

It’s back-to-school season, and many of us homeschool parents are master worriers. I’m not downplaying those worries at at all. We do have a lot on our shoulders. Educating our children is a big deal and should be treated as such.

As our children get older and their academia becomes more intense, the worry pool may expand even though our experience has grown as well. I get it. Homeschooling is a trigger for many of us to worry.

5 Worries to Let Go This School Year

But here are a few worries you can let go of today. I give you permission.

1. My child isn’t reading well.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned on this homeschooling journey, it’s that reading age varies drastically. I’ve taught three kids to read. All three of them learned at different ages grades levels. Don’t exhaust the subject of reading. They will learn it!

Make sure you’re using a solid phonics curriculum. (We love Hooked on Phonics.)  Read to your child a lot and start small. Just because a book says that it’s 2nd-grade level, doesn’t mean your child should be able to pick it up and read it.  Give them books they can figure out without getting frustrated. (Bob Books are fantastic!) Work on reading a little each day. They will get it.

Save your brain’s worry-cells for something else. Now, if your child is a 6th grader and still not reading, you should probably explore some other avenues of help. (Lexercise is a fantastic resource.) But even then, your child will learn. They will feed off your anxiety, so chill out!  Your kids will, too.

homeschool field trips

2. We’re not involved in a co-op.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being a part of a homeschool co-op. There are many benefits, such as your kids finding other homeschooled friends and you being around other homeschool mamas. But sometimes life calls for a simpler schedule.

One year, I found that we were going to enrichment classes all day Tuesday, doing gymnastics Thursday afternoons, Boy Scouts on Tuesday nights, church on Wednesday nights, and usually a couple other random field trips or outings with our group throughout the month. That didn’t leave a whole lot of time home to do, well, school.

To homeschool, you have to be home, at least for a little bit of it. Some seasons call for a more relaxed schedule, like a schedule with nothing at all. We took a year off of our co-op. It was a refreshing break.

Don’t worry if you just moved and you’re not involved yet. Don’t worry if you just had a baby and you don’t want extra pressure to run around. Just don’t worry about the co-op thing. Your kids will be okay.

Maybe you’re not involved because you don’t have a co-op in your community. If it’s something you feel is missing from your homeschool life, start your own even if it’s just one other family. Keep it regular, but not rigid. Meet a couple of times a month.

If you’re new to an area and there’s not a co-op available to you, be patient. I’ve been the community newbie. Sometimes it feels like you don’t know any of the homeschool in’s and out’s. It will come.

It’s okay to lay low this school year. Explore your new community, love on your kids, and enjoy the freer schedule. Don’t worry about co-op this year.

3. Our routine isn’t working.

The funny thing about routines is that they fluctuate with the season we’re in. Sometimes I find I’m forcing a routine that worked when all my kids were smaller. If your routine isn’t working, there’s no use worrying about it. Change it!

Or maybe you need to tweak it. Observe where you find yourself regularly getting off track. Is it right away in the morning? Perhaps you need to adjust something in your evening routine to make the morning go smoother.

Are you starting later with school than you’d like? Check out your expectations. Are they way more ambitious than your family can handle? Is the toddler disrupting every single school day? Maybe naptime would be a better time to do school.

Don’t throw your routines out the window, but don’t worry about them. Re-evaluate, tweak, and proceed.

homeschool worries

4. Our {insert subject here} curriculum isn’t working.

One huge reason I’m thankful for homeschooling is that we can choose the curriculum! This freedom is such a huge blessing because not every kid is cut out for Saxon, Abeka, or Spelling Power.

Choices can be a headache when trying to choose curriculum at the beginning of the year, but it can also be a major plus! If your curriculum isn’t working, don’t worry about it. Change it!

I suggest using curriculum for a good, solid month or two to make sure it’s not just user error or something that will work itself out. Sometimes I’ve gotten overwhelmed with new curriculum because I wasn’t familiar with it, but it ended up being great. On the other hand, sometimes a specific curriculum just isn’t a good fit.

Before changing, try tweaking your homeschool curriculumIf it’s still not working, try these tips:

  • Look over a friend’s copy of curriculum you’re considering
  • Read reviews
  • Evaluate why the current curriculum isn’t working
  • Try selling your unwanted curriculum online (Recouping some of your money makes the switch a little less painful.)

There’s a whole sea of curriculum out there. Don’t worry about it. Just change it.

homeschooling

5. We don’t have a designated school room.

We have done school in an extra bedroom, a corner of our family room, the dining room, and a room in our basement. All have worked. My kids learned in each place. I love it when we are in a space where we can have a dedicated homeschool room. I like everything in its own area, but there are times where that just doesn’t work.

Be creative when you’re deciding where to do school. A garage space, a corner of a large living room, or a den could all work for a school room. Think about creating multipurpose areas such as a guest room/school room or a laundry room/school room.

5 Worries to Let Go This School Year

We don’t live in a large home, so I understand the struggle. Often I’ve found that when my house feels too cluttered, we have too much stuff. Evaluate what needs you have for your school space, be creative in deciding where to set it up, and clear the clutter.

Check out IKEA’s current catalog for organizing and space-saving ideas. There are many multifunctional pieces of furniture you can incorporate into your space to save room and brain worry-cells.

Remember, homeschooling your kids is awesome. Don’t let worry steal your awesome.

What worries are you learning to let go this homeschool year?

updated from an article originally published August 24, 2015

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11 Comments

  1. Such a helpful post Alicia, I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve let go of a whole lot of worries myself. One of the major benefits of homeschooling is freedom, so to tie yourself up in worries about whether you are doing everything exactly right or how everyone else is doing it is pointless and defeats the whole purpose of homeschooling.

    We are free to experiment to figure out what works best for our own particular family and that I think is the key to getting a sense of joy and accomplishment from homeschooling.

  2. Oh, it’s definitely the reading one that gets me the most right now! I know my son will get it eventually but it’s so painfully slow right now and I do worry that he won’t “get” it! Luckily I know he loves listening to stories and tells me all the time he’s going to read so much once he knows how.

  3. I love what you wrote about curriculum. I’m using the same math book with #2 that #1 absolutely loved…but they are such different learners that I’m worried it isn’t going to work out for him…and it’s only our first day! But I’m going to make sure we have more manipulatives on hand when we whip out the old math book and I’m hoping that he’ll be more engaged.

  4. Many of your great points are applicable to public schoolers, too. I have friends whose first graders come home stressed because they are having trouble reading. No little kid should be stressed by school!

  5. I totally hear you on #3 – change your routine with the seasons. I have discovered that with how fast kids grow and change, I literally have to make tweaks and changes to our routine EVERY SEASON. Summer is look the same as winter. Spring is not the same as fall. And this winter is not going to be the same as last winter. It certainly keeps me on my toes and is not easy at all, but I do look at it as one of the benefits of homeschooling – we can flow with the seasons and the kids’ development patterns. They’re not locked into “sit at a desk for X-hours and do prescribed assignments” for 13 years straight.

  6. Thank you for posting this! I’ve been in a needed frenzy getting everything ready for the school year. This helped balance the frenzy out this morning. THANK YOU!

  7. Thanks for the tips Alicia! Just wondering what resources that you personally use to gather curriculum reviews? As you said there’s a sea of info out there, and I think that’s part of the problem. There’s too much out there and it’s easy to get information overload. I have seen the Cathy Duffy site, while it’s a good resource I wish I could find some more user-centric review sites like Amazon has. For example, what types of learners something worked for, or didn’t work for.

    Keep up the great posts!

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