With a new school year just beginning, are you beginning to feel a little apprehension? Are you wondering how you’re going survive a new school year juggling a bazillion activities without crashing and burning? Here’s one idea that may help you enjoy a smoother, calmer, school year.
Know your goals and stay on track.
There are a million wonderful ideas and resources available to homeschoolers, and it is really easy to try to do too many of them. I probably have enough books to put on a shelf I could label Fantastic ideas we never had time for. And, with many businesses trying to tap into the homeschool market, the classes and clubs available to us are almost overwhelming. Museums, art galleries, nature centers, science centers, ski lodges, gyms, dance studios… In many states, several of these places offer homeschool classes. With such a variety of beguiling choices before us, it is easy to make the mistake of cramming too much into our schedule at the expense of our time, energy, and sanity.
In order to avoid this mistake, set goals for each of your children, academically and personally. What skills and aptitudes do you want to focus on? What good habits and virtues do you want them to develop? If you’re not sure what your goals are, pray, brainstorm, and do a little research. Don’t forget to talk it over with your spouse. Dads often have great insights. When setting goals, know what’s realistic for you, your family, and your children. Do not strive for too many goals, or else you’ll probably give up on them. But do write your goals down and post them in a visible place. It is important to have concrete goals because then you know exactly what you’re aiming for.
Setting goals is the first important step in achieving success in an activity. It’s a reminder of what you are working towards. – Peter Vanderkaay, Olympic Gold Medalist
If there is anything superfluous that does not fit into your goals, save it for some other year. Then, stick to your curriculum (unless it’s a disaster) and save chasing butterflies for the summer. When you are tempted to run off on a tangent because the field trip, activity, club, craft, or book seems like such a great idea, ask yourself, “Is this essential to reaching our goals?” If it’s not essential, have the discipline to drop the idea. It is far better to do less well than to do much poorly.
Focus and essentialism will simplify your homeschool . Olympic runners don’t waste time and energy going off on rabbit trails. They focus on the goal, save their energy by pacing themselves, and run a great race. Let’s face it. Homeschooling is wonderful, but it’s not a walk in the park. For many of us, each school year is like a marathon, or better yet, a triathlon. Think Ironman, or rather, IronMom.
But not in the sense of being superwoman. A homeschool mom with a houseful of kids doesn’t need to be superwoman. Rather, she needs to be highly selective in order to reserve her strength and persevere. So know your goals, focus on them, and pace yourself. Save your time and energy for the stuff that really matters, and you will find your school year a lot less frenetic and much more enjoyable.