During the end of our homeschool, last spring, as we were wrapping up our school year, I knew something had to change.
Our homeschool needed a revamp. At the time I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was that had to change but I knew I had the summer (or however long it took) to pray about it and seek the Lord’s counsel. Whew! Thank goodness it wasn’t up to me and I could rest and trust God to work out the details.
[box type=”bio”] James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.[/box]
We were often ending our school days at 3:30 or 4:30 which is absolutely ludicrous for the grades my boys are in. There was a lot of strife from me being frustrated that focus was being lost, and a general lack of interest from my kids which was obviously because they were overwhelmed and that is how they processed it. My daily feeling that there was too much on my plate and I didn’t know what to do about it ate at me. I also had a lot of mommy guilt about striving to do too much, being the drill sergeant (a loud one) and general lack of grace due to my angst about homeschool. It was bad all the way around.
Thankfully, by the middle of summer, through a wonderfully refreshing homeschool conference, seeking the Lord daily and getting wise counsel I felt the Lord impressing on me three things. A few that were hard to swallow for a type A personality like myself but I know I had to be obedient if I wanted our homeschool to change and I wanted to teach from rest.
1. I Dropped A Subject (Actually Two)
The first thing I realized I had to do was drop a subject. I said to myself, “No way! How can I drop this particular subject when we have already invested two years in it? He’ll forget everything!” I was not happy with this one but at the same time thinking about letting it go felt like a relief. I knew that we could come back to it someday if we wanted and felt like it fit but not this year. Since we have started this school year, I have actually dropped another smaller subject too. I do plan on adding that one back in but right now I can’t see it fit without starting to overflow again. There aren’t subject police who say I have to attain a certain number of subjects a year anyway. I just wanted to school with my own vision and push to accomplish and that never works out. In fact, it dries our children up. It zaps them of a zeal for learning and frankly exhausts mom trying to keep up with her own expectations. They should be challenged but not put into overdrive everyday.
The bigger subject we dropped we don’t even miss. It has been a breathe of fresh air to let go and not feel like I (or my children) have to “keep up.” It’s such a trap from the enemy and I am happy to say, by God’s grace, I am free of that trap. However, this will be one weakness I will fight against here and there because I am such a “doer” and like to learn a lot and get things done. God reminds me though that the relationships are more important than anything! After all look at Jesus’ response to Martha and Mary in the Bible.
2. I Made a New Schedule
I know that the word schedule is pretty contradictory to flexibility and change but what I created was a new kind of schedule to me. Before I just had everything we needed to get done on somewhat of a list and we had to get ALL of it done during that day. My poor kids! Our new schedule, written out for each hour, allowed me the freedom to say, at the end of the class hour, we are done with the subject even if we have not finished our work. The unfinished work can be picked up tomorrow. Our old schedule was so jam-packed that there was no room for picking up tomorrow. We either finished or died trying! Because I didn’t have a time limit we would literally spend hours upon hours upon some subjects. Yuck! Fun in school right?
Since our school hours shortened due to allotting certain hours for certain subjects, I was able to build in several other opportunities outside of academics. Why I call them opportunities is because we don’t have to do them but they are scheduled if we want to do them. These were things like walking our new puppy, solo time for leisure reading and playing, game time and family time. We also have friend time on Fridays because we have that day off school. That day off allows me to grocery shop during the week instead of the weekend too. Certainly, we can do these any time but again with the craziness of a homeschool week it often seems like these pleasurable things can fall by the wayside. For me to visually see it helps to remember an opportunity as well as be disciplined about getting outside, which I am not always so good at.
Lastly, and most important, I built into the schedule a Bible time in the mornings before school, with each of my kids individually. For now, we don’t do it all together because my fidgety one with a shorter attention span, being younger, really has a hard time listening and focusing on the things that my older one likes to learn in the Word. We have our prayer time together and then Bible time. I love this change a lot because my oldest was really struggling with motivation in devotion time on his own. It has really helped for me to come along side him and read the Word with him and talk it out and pray with him about things going on in his life.
*If you want a copy of our schedule, I will email you a copy free. Just contact me through the email button in my right sidebar. Put “New School Schedule” in the subject line*
3. I Now Teach Science One Semester and History the Next Semester
This truly was such an amazing solution from the Lord! Through some internet searching I came across homeschoolers who don’t do both history and science simultaneously all year long. Honestly, I had never even thought of that. At the point I discovered this idea, I knew the curriculum we wanted to use for each subject and I counted the weeks of each semester in our school year and the most exciting thing happened! Our science curriculum was 14 weeks if we did it four days a week, and our history curriculum was 21 weeks if we did it four days a week. Turned out in our school schedule we had exactly 14 weeks in the first semester and 21 weeks for the second semester! I was ecstatic how it matched up. I felt like God was making it as clear as day for me to teach these subjects in opposite semesters rather than together.
This has been on of the best changes for all of us. It has allowed us to fully absorb ourselves in science last fall, doing experiments, projects and lots of extra learning through videos and online. Doing history only this semester will allow for the same thing and we are already, just in the first week of the semester, reaping the benefits. Things don’t feel as rushed because we are taking one big subject at a time. I also don’t have as much to plan like I did before when I taught both subjects simultaneously. I am so thankful! This may not always logistically work but for this year it has truly de-stressed our homeschool.
[box type=”bio”] Proverbs 2:6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.[/box]
What are some things you have done to de-stress your homeschool? I always love to hear new ideas and how other people do it.