As the school year wraps up, we homeschooling parents have the wonderfully type-A tendency to hop right into planning mode for the next year. I get it! Cracking the spine of that new homeschool catalog and planning the “to order” list is so much fun! I’ve been on the brink of cracking it open, too.
But something keeps holding me back. Something that I feel like is way more important than hurrying to get the next school year planned and ready.
See, this was not our best homeschool year ever. It was our ninth year, so I do know by now that not every year is a homeschool dream come true, and that is ok. You win some; you lose some. Such is life.
But I think the mistake in all this would be skimming over the fact that it was not a great year and hopping into planning mode for the next one. Because I believe that there is no losing in life, just winning and learning.
And I want to learn from this year.
My most important task this summer
I want to assess my commitment to homeschooling.
To learn from this year – be it a good year or a not-so-good one, I want to evaluate and ask myself some honest questions. Here are ten that I’ve been asking myself lately.
- What’s working and what isn’t?
- Are my kids all happy at home?
- Is the curriculum that I love really the best thing for my kids?
- Who’s struggling and in which areas?
- Does someone need more “outside the home” time?
- Do I need more “mama time” away from the kids to refuel?
- Does our homeschool space still work for us, or do we need to rearrange?
- What areas am I struggling in right now, and what can I do to improve them? (Because improving them will, in turn, enhance our homeschool life.)
- Do I need help in certain areas and I’m too prideful to ask for it? (i.e., cooking, cleaning, tutoring, etc.)
- Do my kids (or myself) enjoy homeschooling or are we forcing this?
These answers might not be the easiest to hear. But when we stop asking them, our homeschool begins to grow stagnant.
Refusing to change means refusing to grow.
Finding the answers to tough questions and what to do with the answers
I’ve forever been a journaler. I love writing in my journal and looking back months or years later to see how troubles have become sorted out and circumstances have changed. It’s a good reminder to know that hard situations seldom stay that way. So to chronicle these tough questions I want to start with my journal.
Answering them might take several days, but it will definitely require some quiet and alone time.
When I’ve taken a real and honest look at my list of answers, that’s when the homeschool planning can begin. I’ve assessed my school year and pinpointed the weak points.
And by weak points, I seldom mean academically. There’s so much more to homeschooling than just books.
This time I can try to plan our school year with our shortcomings from the last year in mind. I can do what I can to make this next year a little bit better than before. Sure, new problems will arise. Each year presents itself with a new set of challenges, but being aware of them is the first step to getting better.
I have found homeschooling parents to be some of the most parental-ly conscientious people I know. Just asking these questions means you care so much! This can only create room for improvement.
It’s planning season, homeschool friends! Our favorite! Ask the hard questions, plan with the answers in mind, and make this next year your best one yet!
What have been some of your areas of challenge this homeschool year?