It's your first year of homeschooling.
It's gonna be awesome. Or is it? Are you already overwhelmed and freaking out?
Do you feel like you don't have everything you need or want? Nothing is set up just right. You couldn't get that one curriculum you really had your eye on. You're budget is used all up. You aren't sure how in the world you're going to teach 3 different kids' math on 3 different levels in the same hour.
I wanted to share this with y'all.
I'm not gonna blow sunshine up your bum and tell you that I've got it all together.
I have plans, I have my expectations, and I have my list of dreams. Everything won't go perfectly every day. I have a tendency to want to do everything right now. I don't like baby steps. I want to do it all and I want to do it all now.
It's not conducive to a peaceful life.
You might not need it right now, but you probably will at some point this year. Unless you have it all together all the time. If so, then go ... go to wherever perfect people hang out.
I have this list of reminders next to my computer at my desk to help bring me back to reality and to do it calmly.
#1 Baby Steps
Don't try to do it all at once! Introduce one new thing a day/a week/a month/a semester/a year. Don't add more until you are comfortable with what you've got. If you add it and it's too much, pull back again.
#2 Make a Plan
You've gotta have a plan. Plan your year, but do it in pencil. Fill out your schedule/routine, and again, do it in pencil. Don't be a slave to your schedule. Make your schedule and plan work for you and help you.
Streamline your routines. Have a routine, have multiple routines. I recently made a month of lunches, breakfasts, and snacks. They're in my freezer ready to go. Now I've eliminated a daily chore that sucks up time and energy. The kids can now pop out their meals on their own. Time saver!!
Tell Your Time is a wonderful wonderful tool to help you take control and ensure that you're spending your time on exactly what you want to be doing. I'm reading it right now and will do a full review for y'all soon! So far? Love it!
#3 Make do With What You Have On Hand
Don't have a curriculum you want? What can you do to the one you do have to make it more like that one? Don't buy every little thing you think you need. Search for what you have right there.
Don't have it? Get creative and make something else work. You may find you like it better.
Borrow, borrow, borrow!
#4 There's No Such Thing as the Perfect Curriculum
You need to say this to yourself again.
[Tweet "There's no such thing as the perfect curriculum. #homeschool"]
Honest. It may be lacking in some small way, but does that mean you ditch it? Not unless it's REALLY not working for you. Otherwise, you can supplement as needed. Pinterest, my friends!
Most of the time you won't need to do this. You just need to stop looking for "the magic beans" that'll bring your children to genius levels and make golden eggs at the same time. Be satisfied.
#5 Don't Try to Do it All
This is me being a hypocrite.
Not purposefully: this is something I'm working on.
You see some family doing daily nature walks with a journal. You see another doing Geo caching, another writing daily, another lap booking, another note booking, another memorizing, copy working, and on and on and on. You cannot do every method, every curriculum, every amazing idea.
You cannot do it all. Nor should you.
This reminds me of one day I signed up for 3 webinars. I didn't realize they were all at the same time. I tried to listen to all 3 at the same time because I couldn't pick which one I wanted to be in the most.
At the end of the hour I was exhausted and I didn't learn anything from any of them because I couldn't listen to all 3 at the same time!
Don't try to do this with your homeschool. Pick what you REALLY want to do, what appeals to your children, and what they need at that moment. Do that. Nothing more. Then NEXT semester/year/summer try something new as an extra.
#6 Recruit Help
I am terrible at asking for help. I have to really really really need help in order to ask.
When I had glass in my foot and couldn't walk or drive for a month I still didn't ask for help. There I was crawling around (pregnant) getting my food, doing everything for myself. We didn't go anywhere unless Mr Barlow was taking us/the kids.
Ask for help! Get hubs to read at night, teach a certain class. Get Grandma or Grandpa to help you out.
You know your situation better than I do. Find someone that can help you in some small way. Even if it's just to watch the kids while you do some planning or pick up supplies.
#7 Take Breaks to Avoid Burnout
You have got to take breaks every week. Even every day.
Schedule short breaks during school hours.
Schedule a nightly break for yourself. Don't do anything except something that will recharge you.
Take a weekly break away from the house and kids. Just get out and breathe.
I go to Target, Barnes and Noble, antique shops, or Ashland.
If there's an afternoon or day or week that you and the kids are just done take a breather. Play some games together. Take naps. Work on a fun project. Heck, watch mindless TV for a bit. Just chill. Then come back and you'll be so glad you took that break.
#8 Don't Expect Perfection: From Yourself or Your Kids
Be realistic. You can't be ON all the time. You're going to have tough days, so are they. See #7.
#9 Don't Compare
Someone always comes out loser and someone winner. But at what cost? Don't do it, don't do it. No one is ever happy when comparing.
#10 Remember Your Priorities and Goals
You have those handy? No? Well, get them out, put them where you can get to them easily. If an activity doesn't fall under a priority or something to further your goal ditch it. Ditch it fast without guilt.
#11 Enjoy Yourself!
Have fun! Homeschooling is hard work, but it's the best kind of hard work!! Have fun, enjoy the process, and smile. Cheesy, I know, but oh so true.
Keep these tips in mind
Keep them in mind throughout the year and you'll avoid some traps that can keep you from enjoying your homeschool year.
It's gonna be a fabulous year!
Let's be here for each other and have a huge overflowing amount of fun!