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5 Steps for Homeschool Reflection

5 Steps for Homeschool Reflection

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5 Steps for Homeschool Reflection

Written by Amber Marie | January 22, 2018

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commision if you click through and make a purchase.

It’s the time of year when our homeschool days can begin to drag or come to a complete stop. To help beat this mid-year slump, I propose spending time to reflect on the past few months of your homeschool. Reflecting on past experiences allows us to learn and gain an honest perspective, especially when related to identifying areas where we can improve. At the beginning of the year, I revealed to you my own reflection and today I’d like to share the 5 steps I take when reflecting on my homeschool.

For the rest of this post, join me over at Outmatched Mama where I have the privilege of guest posting for Day 7 of her Conquer the Homeschool Slump series.

Amber Marie

Welcome to my homeschooling blog. I’m a former educator turned homeschool mom. Homeschooling is a relatively new adventure for our family. Click my picture to learn more about my story and why I homeschool my family.

Follow Me On

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A New Year…Reflection of my Homeschool

A New Year…Reflection of my Homeschool

Don't Miss Out!

Sign-up to recieve updates on new posts along with special perks for Members. You will recieve exclusive access to the Member's Library where you will find a variety of freebies for every subject. Also, Members get a special monthly discount code for products in my store. Don't wait! Sign up today!

A New Year…Reflection of my Homeschool

Written by Amber Marie | January 1, 2018

It’s the time of year when we make New Year’s resolutions. With determination and discipline, we may follow through with our promises, but many will quickly fizzle. Rather, I propose a New Year’s reflection! We reflect on past experiences to learn and gain an honest perspective, similar to looking into a mirror. Reflection allows us to identify areas where we can improve. This past fall I began homeschooling my five-year-old son. As I reflect back to the creation of my homeschool, I aim to share some advice and learning points.

Too Much, Too Fast!

I’ve read it repeatedly, but for whatever reason, the advice, “Don’t do too much too fast” didn’t register. I was excited to begin homeschooling, and I became consumed with researching various curriculums and homeschool techniques. With all my new-found knowledge came an obsessive drive to apply everything. The following are two self-induced hurdles I dealt with (as if new homeschoolers don’t have enough to deal with already):

Added Stress

I was trying to keep up with the Joneses of the homeschool world (umm…maybe the new cliche is Kardashians?). I was trying to get all the best curriculums; trying to include every subject in every part of my son’s day; trying to be the perfect homeschool mom. Can I save you the stress that I experienced? There is no such thing as the perfect homeschool, curriculum, or schedule.

There is, however, a homeschool schedule that works with your life, a homeschool curriculum that works with your child, and a homeschool day that is the best you can provide. Homeschooling provides awesome flexibility. It’s unique to your family and your life. So, cut yourself some slack and start slow. Focus on one or two subjects, and slowly…and I mean slowly…introduce others. As you become more comfortable, you will become more efficient at tailoring your curriculum and schedule. When you become more comfortable and confident, you add more subjects.

Learning Wasn’t Fun

I took the fun out of learning! At some point, I allowed the excitement of starting a homeschool negatively affect the experience. I aimed for perfection in all things. I made sure to incorporate art supplies and manipulatives whenever possible. I would only use or create beautiful worksheets (as if my son was impressed or even cared). I ensured every piece of my lesson plan flowed and transitioned flawlessly.

You don’t have to be a homeschool parent to know, sometimes things go awry. When my lessons didn’t go to plan, I would become frustrated; if I planned too much material, my son would become overwhelmed and lose interest. After some reflection, I reset my homeschool style and became less consumed with perfection and more interested in creating an engaging and fun environment. My son responded affirmatively and learning became easier. My son became more engaged mentally and was better equipped to retain the material. As I mentioned, homeschooling provides flexibility, so roll with it, and don’t abstain from having fun during homeschool.

Socialization ≠ Packed Busy Weeks

Socialization…it’s a word that plagues homeschoolers. We are often asked by relatives, friends, and pediatricians how we socialize our kids, and this can cause unneeded pressure. This pressure can deceive us into thinking that if we don’t have our kids involved in several extracurriculars, our children are missing out on the socialization that traditional school allows for. These outside pressures can get out of hand.

I endured the same socialization pressures when I began homeschooling too. Intentions were pure; I wanted to ensure my son was getting quality interactions with other children so that he could learn the importance of collaboration, friendly play, and problem-solving. However, as many new homeschoolers do, I overbooked our schedule with social activities.

In four months, we joined a Classical Conversations community, where I provided weekly classroom instruction to other homeschoolers, twice-weekly soccer, and Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) that met twice per month. These events did not account for play dates, which occurred regularly. During some weeks, we had something scheduled every single day. Burnout is real, so learn from my mistakes and don’t overbook your schedule. All these extracurriculars added various stressors, to include, combatting DC traffic to arrive on-time with a gaggle of children in tow, planning and scheduling conflicts, preparing and fitting homeschool into the daily routine, and managing the home front.

Cut and Recalibrate!

This upcoming year, I plan to make some cuts and recalibrations to focus on the most important things for my homeschool.

Cuts

Although MOPS has been great for meeting other moms, I have found that it hasn’t added to my homeschool. I love the women I’ve met, but most were not homeschoolers, or they had kids in school, which made it difficult to build deep friendships. In addition, planning play dates around their school day, between my children and theirs, was usually inconvenient for either us or them.

Recalibrations

Classical Conversations (CC) is something I will be continuing but will make some changes to different aspects of our CC educational approach. This includes but is not limited to planning my instruction as a tutor and how we implement reviewing our CC memory work in our homeschool (posts coming soon).

I will also be recalibrating my relationships. Don’t misunderstand my intentions, I love relationships, especially with other homeschool moms. However, I feel there is a limit to the number of deep, meaningful relationships you can maintain. As a teacher, I would stress about getting to know other faculty members and building relationships with other teachers. My intentions were unrealistic and the people I came to know best were those on my team. It’s no different in the homeschool world within co-ops or communities. Rather than stressing about truly knowing everyone, I plan to focus on building close friendships with other homeschool moms I’ve connected with so far.

Having a support system in the homeschooling realm is invaluable. It provides a sounding board to bounce ideas, discuss challenges, and explore other best practices. If you aren’t connected with other homeschoolers, I would highly recommend seeking them out. As adults, we celebrate our differences; children share similar differences. Children have different personalities and learning styles that may promote or prevent learning. Your homeschool support system may offer insight/experience into reaching children with learning behaviors similar to yours.

Have a plan…but a flexible one!

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season ensures time will be of the essence. As the year concludes, I find myself slacking in terms of homeschool, and I remember the same tendencies while a public teacher. The excitement of Christmas and the endless seasonal festivities left children and teachers mentally drained. The holiday season always moves fast, so be flexible and understanding.

I found this past year that after Halloween, we followed a week on and a week off schedule for our homeschool. I feel this was mostly due to travel, holidays, and disruptions within our homeschool week (hello overscheduling…like mentioned above). Do I suggest following this same pattern…NO! Here’s why:

It breaks routine!

I found that this sporadic and sometimes unpredictable schedule would interrupt not only my routine but my son’s as well.  When we would have a week of school after skipping a week, he had a hard time focusing, and so did I.  I also felt anxiety and stress about the time wasted and how it put us behind in his progress. So how do you remedy this?  Plan breaks, but after several weeks of work.  I like the way Classical Conversations is broken up into 6 weeks increments.  As begin school this new year, I plan to follow a similar routine in my homeschool.

It prolongs our goals!

I have goals and so does my son (although he may not know it at this age).  When I had this sporadic schedule in the late fall/early winter, it pushed back the date of completion for some of these goals.  Some of the things I wanted to have done by the spring will now be pushed into summer because of the interruptions in our homeschool routine.  Looking back, I wish I had pushed myself to be more consistent while building in the breaks that made sense (Thanksgiving and Christmas especially).  As this new year begins, we will look at where we are on our goals and adjust our expectations.  All while making sure we stick to a consistent, non-sporadic schedule.

Whether this is your first year homeschooling or your last…I challenge you! Take a look at your fall/winter semester. What went well…what didn’t? How can you make your homeschool better while not adding extra stressors? What goals do you have for your child’s progress and how can you implement small steps to reach those goals? As you ring in the new year…I challenge you to think about your homeschool and how you can make it better for you and your children!

Amber Marie

Welcome to my homeschooling blog. I’m a former educator turned homeschool mom. Homeschooling is a relatively new adventure for our family. Click my picture to learn more about my story and why I homeschool my family.

Follow Me On

Recent and Related Posts

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Read More
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Read More
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Read More
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Read More
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Read More
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I get a lot of funny looks when I say I homeschool my son. However, those facial expressions change quickly to surprise when I mention I am a former elementary school teacher. So many people ask me “why I would want to homeschool my kids rather than send them to public school” among other questions. Normally, I give a quick run down of some brief reasons then go on my merry way. But as I sat down to think about it more, I was able to flesh out 5 things I LOVE about homeschooling that I (or my son) would never be able to get in a public school setting.
Read More
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Spring time is a time of new beginnings, healing and growth. From reading the 'The Secret Garden' it is clear to me that F.H. Burnett understood the significant positive value to a child's mental, physical and educational health, when it comes to spending time outdoors with nature. This book is a calling to all parents and educators to let our children loose amongst the miracles of Spring and allow nature to nurture them just like it did for the three little children in this story.
Read More

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Take some time and reflect on your past year.  What are some things you did well?  What areas can you improve on? Share below in the comments! 

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