On Your Mark…Get Set…Homeschool!

We started our new school year on Wednesday, July 24. To some that may seem a little bit early, but we were actually supposed to return to school on Monday, July 8.

At this same time last year, we were entering our sixth year of homeschool. The only thing was that school had not really begun for our current year.

What happened, you ask? We had several false starts. One week, I did not have all of the schedules for their independent binders ready.

On your Mark

Problem: The children could not do their work if they had no idea what to do.

Solution: Postpone school until the following week when the binders would be done.

Another week, I could not decide which math curriculum to use for my oldest. Both options were good, but he could not do both.

Problem: I needed to decide on which program to use so that he could begin.

Solution: Postpone school until the following week, which would give me enough time to decide.

And then there was another week when one child was sick on Monday. Another one joined him on Tuesday. By Wednesday, the first one was almost better, while I could tell the second one’s condition would carry on into the next day.

Problem: Two of three children were sick. If I taught the child who was well, then he would be ahead of the children who were sick.

Solution: Postpone school until the following week and wait until everyone was better.

Before I knew it, October had rolled around and we had completed less than two weeks of school having started our school year in August.

I had to finally accept a fact: There is absolutely nothing perfect about homeschooling.

Children are going to get sick, but school must continue for those who are not. No schedule (even though I prefer them – I’m a planner) makes it more difficult to navigate through a day, but may open the door for a day of creativity. Finding the perfect curriculum may never happen, but at least you can find the right one. Sometimes you may have to try both to see what works best for your child.

All of my excuses for postponing the beginning of the school year were just excuses.

I decided to finally do the unspeakable and just dive into the first day. I was determined not to allow anything to stand in my way. I had no lesson plan. We started later in the morning than I wanted to, and we just studied the subjects for which we had mommy-approved curriculum.

You know what? Everything turned out fine. Even though it was not the perfect homeschool day, we made it through and school was officially open. The next day and the days after that, I did the same thing and before I knew it, one week was over. My rhythm kicked in and we carried on for the remainder of the school year.

Are excuses (or fear) putting a halt to the beginning of your school year? A few things that may help you are:

Choose just a few subjects to start with, and do only those subjects for about two to three weeks.
Choose the ones that you most enjoy teaching. Your excitement will rub off on your children and make it easier for when you have to begin teaching those less preferred subjects.

Have independent work scheduled for each of your children if you have more than one.
If one child is sick, then the one who is well will still be able to have a productive school day. When everyone is well, then any collective studies can pick up at that point.

Try a shorter school week.
Nowhere is it stated that you have to homeschool five days a week. The only requirement that many of us have to fulfill is ensuring that our children have 180 recorded (and productive) days of school. Try four days or even three days a week and see how that works for you and your child.

It is just like riding a bike. Once you get your balance and start rolling, it gets easier. So far, school is going very well in our home this year.

What about you? We would love to know if your homeschool year started as planned or had a rough start. But no matter how it began, you can do it! We’re here to support you!

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  1. Fear is a great procrastinator. I put off homeschooling for an entire school year. Then finally when realizing that my son was actually getting depressed at just 9 yrs old within his current school structure, I had to make a rash decision and even though both my husband and I worked outside the home, we had to make it work. Now after 90 days of homeschooling I wondered what took me so long.

    1. Nita,

      I agree with you. Once we finally got started, I wondered why I had put it off so long. Another good point that you made is your child’s state of being. I really do think they need regular structure, because the lack of it can affect their sense of motivation. My on again, off again way of conducting school was leading them to not value their education.

  2. Oh, how I can relate to this post! I finally had to let go of a lot of my ideas about what our homeschool experience SHOULD look alike and focus on what it actually WAS! So, like you, that meant letting go of trying to plan everything and starting slowly with a couple of subjects at a time. I realized my kids are learning all the time no matter what I do, they ask questions and try to figure things out on their own and that makes me so happy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, it’s so nice to know I’m not the only one who postponed because things weren’t “perfect”!

    1. Jennifer,

      It looks like our name isn’t the only thing that we have in common. Striving for perfection can really hold one back. I now love our school and all of its imperfections. It makes school a little bit more exciting.
      I also love that my children have continued to learn even when I am not officially teaching them.

  3. Sometimes our homeschool starts at 9am and sometimes it starts at 3pm. Sometimes we get everything done, and sometimes just history, or just math…I try not to dwell on it, and what do ya know. Munchkin comes up to me after dinner and asks if we can write a letter to Grandma, or bake brownies, or can I teach her about growing corn. Then we (almost) always read together before bed. Many times she will read me a book and then I will read her one. Looking back over the day I almost always can say that she learned more than she would have in public school…and our learning is not Monday through Friday. See more of our adventures at http://scrappybaglady.blogspot.com/.

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