I Gave Up My Homeschool Plans for the Year
I was so excited for our “new school year”.
I had developed a great curriculum. It was exactly as I had wanted it. It worked off of a main geography/history topic. I linked all of the subjects to this area. Our reading would tie in, as would dictation and narrations. Science studies melded seamlessly with our topic. I even tied music and art in a way that made them stand out while being relevant to the core subject. I found resources. Many, many resources, which I reduced to the most informative and engaging. Topics reflected subjects my kids had asked to learn more about. I worked long and hard to make it as easy as possible to implement for the upcoming year. I set it up as a routine, so we’d even be available to follow those “rabbit trails” or take needed breaks. This was the year where everything would work as planned!
Do you hear it? That sense of doom looming in the distance?
It entered as a simple request from my son. He had been involved in an on-line summer camp, and he enjoyed it. So much did he enjoy it that I talked to him about live on-line classes that were available for the fall. He loved the idea!
My son chose two classes that would begin in the fall. I was excited for him, and not at all concerned about it interfering with “my plan”. The classes would run for an hour each with some work to complete off-line. No problem.
And here it comes.
He had chosen as one of his classes, a course on ancient history. He loves history. The books arrived, and they were pretty dense textbooks. There was more work than either of us had anticipated. Still, I was sure it would be fine. I hadn’t planned to start our main study at the beginning of fall anyway.
I was introducing other topics and methods to the kids for the first month, all to ensure the fun and success of our year-long study.
Once we got the hang of Ancient History, it was a really fun class. It was also time consuming.
I kept putting off the start of my awesome plan. I supplemented our studies with other relevant things as we went along.
But I didn’t want to give up the plan.
I finally began implementing it, but at this point, it felt forced. It wasn’t enjoyable. I no longer had the excitement for implementing it because I was coming from the point of feeling it had to be done now. I gave it a couple of starts. I tried tweaking it. It wasn’t working.
A few weeks later, I took that all-important step back. I looked at all that the kids were learning and how they were learning. My son loved supplementing our lessons with the on-line discussions and challenges of the programs. He was thriving with his choice of learning.
High school is not that far off. I chose to recognize that he had made a step toward taking the lead in his education. Actually, it was a pretty sizable leap. He chose a method of learning, a topic, and he stuck with it. He thrived. That’s really the main goal of our homeschool; to foster a love of learning and to teach them how to learn, so that they can use those skills throughout their lives.
My daughter wasn’t left out of this revelation either. She was choosing to do work independently. We’d work together through tougher topics and introductions to new topics. But she loved working on something, and coming to me afterwards to discuss what she had done. Honestly, another win!
I still had hopes of beginning my great plan once my son’s courses ended. I’m stubborn.
Then we started discussing “next year”.
He was eager to sign up for the next session of history. The topic happens to be one my daughter had asked to learn more about. It seems like this will guide our studies next. I’m stubborn, but I’m capable of learning from my mistakes!
And suddenly, I came across an easy curriculum based on the Harry Potter books. We’ve been reading and rereading these books all year. They love the books, movies and games. I took a look. I thought it looked too simple for us, and then I reflected on that.
- It covered many different topics.
- I realized that I had items that would tie in with this new curriculum. Items we’d never gotten to and that they’d be free to explore without feeling rushed.
- Plus, the new history class would be starting up in fall.
- This might give us that opportunity to explore more of these topics as we are inspired to do so, rather than feeling like it’s required.
Including My Children in the Decision
So, I asked. I told my kids what I had found. I asked if they’d like to try it. Would they like to start next month (giving me time to gather all the materials and prep a bit) or later?
I was met with eager wishes to begin next month.
I’m feeling really good about this decision. That stress of needing to begin that other curriculum I made, is gone. Honestly, that study will likely fit better in a couple of years, and it will be there waiting for us, resources and all.
And now, we’ll be involved in studies on something we’re all excited about. I won’t be laboring for months in creating perfect topics of study for this year. I’m going to work off of what’s there and trust it will be enough. And if it’s not, then I will find a way to fix that if it happens.
It took me about a year to get to this point. And that’s okay. It was a good learning year for all of us. We all learned to reflect on what works best for learning. And though what and how we learned this year didn’t match up with my original plan, looking back, it has been a great year.
So, I’m not wasting any time. I’m gathering the materials, and we’re going to jump in. We’re schooling year-round now, and I think this is a great way to implement that as well.
What discoveries did you make about your homeschool this year?