Woo Hoo! WE SURVIVED OUR FIRST YEAR OF HOMESCHOOLING!!! Wow, talk about a steep learning curve. Perhaps my first year homeschooling felt tougher than it had to be because I was also juggling a newborn, but looking back it was all absolutely worth it. 🙂 I’ve shared with you some things I wish I had prepared BEFORE my first year, but now I’d like to take a look at some of the specifics that seemed to work for us, and those we’ll be ditching as we begin again in the fall.
Ideally I’d self evaluate things more often, but since I’m dissecting an entire school year at once, this is a great opportunity to try out this “series” idea I’ve seen so much in the blogging world 🙂 This is mostly an introductory post to both announce the series and organize my thoughts about it. I could say, “each week I’ll be posting…” but rather than rush to meet a self-imposed deadline, how about this : Here’s a list of the topics I’ll discuss, and as time allows, I’ll post the lessons I learned over the course of my first year of homeschooling. As I write up my thoughts, I’ll link to them below.
- Daily Schedule / Routine
- Socialization (because you know, that’s all anyone worries about when you announce that you will be homeschooling)
- Other Random Discoveries
As I invite you to reminisce with me about our first year, please keep in mind that this series is mostly intended to help me organize my thoughts as I prepare for next year. When I looked into homeschooling, I really appreciated other bloggers granting me a peek into how they ran their family and school, so I’m hoping this can likewise be of use to other families. This is how OUR journey unfolded, what worked for US, what didn’t work LAST YEAR, and how WE survived. I’m such a newbie at blogging, homeschooling, and really even parenting, so please take my opinions and ideas for what they are : One crazy lady’s thoughts to run with, tweak, or kick to the curb.
As I started actually writing the material for this series, I realized the information was so interconnected that I was having trouble diving into the individual topics listed, without first addressing the BIGGEST lesson I learned of the them all. Purpose.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!
Before you can really start planning for your next (or first yay!) year of homeschooling, you need to have a good idea of what general direction you want to take. You can’t really decide on curriculum, schedules, how you want organize everything or when you’ll factor in that UBER important element (can you feel the sarcasm?) of socialization if you don’t have a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish.
I mentioned in another post, about how creating a mission statement with my husband for our homeschool was an absolute game changer. With that mission in mind, for both our family, and our homeschool, I have a better lens with which to evaluate and set our next year’s goals.
I don’t think I’m alone in the second guessing my decisions department. Having clear goals for your homeschool is like shopping with a list…….. after you’ve inventoried your pantry…………AND set a budget ………AND made a meal plan for the month. You have laser focus, and anything outside your mission you can easily take full advantage of as an opportunity or deny the distraction with confidence!!
What are our goals for next year?
For our family, we love our homeschool, but we realize there is more to life than education alone. So, our goals incorporate not only each member of the family, but the WHOLE person. By that I mean, we set some family goals to grow our minds, bodies and spirit and then thought what that meant for each member.
For example, as a family we want to make bible reading, quiet time with the Lord, and scripture memory a priority. Personally, I’d like study the topic of prayer and faith as I work to further develop my own prayer life for my quiet time. For my husband, personal prayer isn’t an issue as much as initiating family prayer outside of meals and bedtime.
Mentally, we each have various goals to grow our minds. Other than preparing lessons, I will try to make time for this blog, as well as a mother’s book club. Lil’ Lizard of course has his homeschool goals, which for second grade in light of last years accomplishments, will focus mostly on reading, a better foundation in spelling, math facts, and the general ability to stretch his ability to focus.
As a family we also want to prioritize healthier habits in general such as drinking water, daily exercise, more attention to our dental care, and better food choices. For our household, relationships are another “goal” for this next year. It’s so easy to let the hectic schedules interrupt precious time with loved ones, and for us that means intentionally setting time aside for grandparents and close relatives. It’s not always easy, but we want to honor the blessing of family while we still have the opportunity to do so.
As if we didn’t already have enough goals, each family member is taking the rest of the summer to consider a skill for the sake of mastery. I might want to finally learn how to work my sewing machine….or crock pot for that matter! Or maybe I want to let this be the year I learn all about my car and how to do more than check and change the oil. For Lil’ Lizard, it might simply be practicing on my old keyboard to make the most of the piano lessons we’ve signed him up for. Whatever it is we choose, we’ll support and encourage one another in that endeavor.
So there you have it, goals for the household concerning the whole person (mind, body and spirit), cultivating relationships, and a personal mastery choice for enrichment and discipline’s sake. With these in mind, both as the writer and the amazing reader, we’ll have a better context for the upcoming posts 🙂
So yeah, I’m super excited to get this series rolling. Is there a topic in the list you’d like me to address first? Anything I missed that you are curious about? Maybe you’re an awesome seasoned home educating parent with some advice to share…Please feel free to speak up in the comments below!