Homeschooling shouldn't be a struggle, but sometimes in your heart you know that if something doesn't give, it just isn't going to work. You see the signs and you know it is time for a change, but that thought just stops you dead in your tracks. I know, I have been there.
I saw all the signs that we had to change Buddy's school or he was going to hate school forever, but I was frozen. If I changed what we were doing then I had to take on planning again and did I really have time for that? Then God really pricked my heart and kept asking "Do you want your child to hate his school experience?" and the answer to that is NO! So I really started praying about what I should change and how to change it. I also had many, many conversations with my hubby because he totally supports our school and wants the best for our kids. He also has great ideas because he can see our school from a different perspective since he isn't the one teaching every day. I also started consulting friends, especially ones that had older students, to see what suggestions they might have. The answer I kept getting over and over was that I had to do what worked for us. So what did that mean? I had to look at the following areas to find out what we needed to change.
- What was the biggest struggle in our school? - I had to really access what our biggest challenge in school was. When it came right down to it the main issue Buddy had was the amount of time he spent reading each day. When he was spending 4+ hours reading, he wasn't getting anything from it. He had started to read to "just get it done" rather than reading to understand. Once we narrowed down the problem(s), we could figure out a solution to the problem.2
- What part of our school was working? - Buddy didn't hate everything we did for school, he was just burnt out on the reading portion. We read for 4-5 classes of our day and that was just too much. Some of our classes were working fine the way they were and didn't need to be changed. You know how the saying goes "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." There is no reason to change what does work, focus your time and energy on changing what is broke.
- Can your curriculum be modified? - I did modify our curriculum to finish out the difficult year, but modifying it every year would not make the curriculum we were using beneficial. It is a curriculum that I felt could be modified temporarily, but to adjust it every year would mean that a quarter to half of the curriculum would not be used and that was not cost effective. Since it didn't make financial sense to only use half of the curriculum each year, but have to pay for an entire curriculum, it didn't make sense to continue in that direction.
- Start Small - I knew I didn't need to change everything. There was really only a couple of subjects I needed to change up. I had already switched out our Language Arts thanks to a great product I found from the reviews I do. The only other change I needed to make was to History. I needed this to be more hands-on and more interactive since this is how he learns best.
- Commit to Making One Change - When I first decided to change up our History, I didn't know exactly what it would look like, but I was committed to finding what would work best for Buddy.
- Give Yourself Time to Change - If you can plan to make your change after a break, do it. This gives you prep time and time to figure out how it will work. If you need to make the changes immediately, that is okay, but give yourself and your student grace as you figure out the changes.
- Adjust and Tweak as Needed - Not every change you make will work perfectly, keep that in mind. Sometimes I have a plan in my head for our changes and it blows up when I implement it. It happens and then I go back to the drawing board. I adjust our plan as needed so that it keeps working.
Are you stuck in that spot where you know the changes need to be made? Ask yourself what is working, what isn't working, and what can be modified. Start small, commit to making one change, and then adjust from there. Don't let changes scare you. Find someone that you can bounce your ideas off of and just take it one step at a time. If you need someone to bounce ideas off of or someone to encourage you, email me or leave me a comment, send me a message on one of my social media pages, I would be happy to chat with you.
This week I am participating in an Annual Blog Hop with my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew. It is our goal this week to fill you with encouragement and we are all chatting about homeschooling. We each got to pick our own topic so I can't tell you how excited I am to read what everyone is blogging about this week. Click the link below the button to Hop on over to the next blog and read more encouragement. Don't forget to come right back here tomorrow for more.