This post was originally published as the introduction to an issue of TheHomeSchoolMom newsletter.
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The flexibility of homeschooling is one of its biggest benefits. If all or parts of your homeschooling plans for this year are not working the way you had planned, this is a good time to make changes that can turn things around.
☑️ Assess Your Situation
Autumn has arrived for the Northern Hemisphere, and families who homeschool alongside a traditional school calendar are a month or two into their semester. If that is you, ask yourself:
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
Make a quick list, jotting responses to answer each of those questions.
That wasn’t too hard, right?
Now you get to do the challenging part: embrace the flexibility of homeschooling to make things better. That sounds like a huge overhaul, almost as big as those first questions you had about curriculum and socialization. Let me help you narrow it down.
Consider changing the amount of “structure” you bring to:
🏠 Adjust the Structure of Your Space
Did you set up a designer homeschool room with school desks your kids now resist using? Or did you decide to forego “all that” for a “homeschool anywhere” approach, but now no one can find a pencil?
Consider relaxing your expectations around your homeschool space, or (depending on who you are!) consider investing time in creating a more convenient and inviting space for homeschooling. Maybe a version of learning centers at home will work best for your multi-age kids. Maybe letting kids learn all over the place will actually work better.
🕑 Adjust the Structure of Your Time
Is that ambitious schedule working for you, with the kids ready to change subjects every forty minutes and your school day matching the bells in the school down the road? Or are you frustrated that your laid back sense of time means you get through days in a row without even reading aloud?
Consider investigating other ways you could schedule your days and organize your week so you end up structuring time in a way that feels productive but not stressful.
📚 Adjust the Structure of Your Materials
Are you “behind” in using your curriculum and stressed out by trying to make your child “get through”? Or are you finding your decision not to use curriculum is leaving you with too few resources to introduce to your kids?
Is your curriculum too dry and shallow? Are the resources you intended to use so difficult to find that they aren’t actually in your home?
Do your kids prefer hands-on learning when you have them using workbooks?
Consider changing your expectations around the structure of learning materials. In many families, kids learn just fine jumping from topic to topic based on interests, and parents find more learning and less stress by lowering the amount of pre-planned “structure.” Other families find adding outside structure of a curriculum or resource lowers the chaos or plain ol’ gives kids things to do!
Imagine three slider switches, one each for increasing and decreasing the amount of structure of your time, space, and materials. Now is the time to start playing with those sliders, adjusting the levels.
Customizing for your family is one of the benefits of homeschooling, and the first weeks and months of homeschooling have provided responses from you and your kids—that’s information you can act on.
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