Today's topic is:
I think one of the biggest questions we have as homeschool parents is how do we know when it is time to make changes in our homeschool. I know for years I wrestled with this question because I was afraid that I would try something and it wouldn't work and just end up being a waste of our money. As I started becoming more confident in my homeschooling ability (yes, homeschool moms struggle with our homeschool confidence), it got easier for me to see that I needed to change our school to make it more successful for both the kids and I.
Years ago when I first started homeschooling, I pieced together our curriculum and it worked okay. It took a lot of time to plan out lessons and grade everything, but those were the early years and I was homeschooling just one child. As Buddy got older and around third grade, the curriculum that I pieced together didn't always have books for that grade. I found out that they switched what they did for third grade and up and it really made a headache for me. It would have been tons of piecing curriculum together and just wasn't worth it in my book. We also had a little one in the house at this point and I didn't have the time to be spending hours and hours putting everything together each week. About that time, a friend introduced me to a boxed curriculum (everything comes in one big box) and it had worked great for her so we jumped on board. We used this boxed curriculum for Buddy for 4th-7th grade. I have also used this same boxed curriculum company for Little Miss for K-3rd grade. This boxed curriculum is from a great company that I really do love, but in the past couple of years it just hasn't been working for us. It isn't because the material isn't great, it is truly a great curriculum. It just didn't work because of the time it was taking to complete school each day with each child. School was starting to take us over 8 hours each day and really weigh us down. Long before I realized how long school was taking us each day I started noticing other small signs that we need to make a change.
The things I noticed that made me realize that I needed to make a change were:
- Attitude Changes - everything about school was a big deal in our house. Attitudes and emotions were all over the place because of school. The project that was okay last week was end of the world this week. The book that was horrible yesterday was today's favorite. You get the idea.
- Inconsistent Schoolwork - grades were all over the place, even when my kids had a full understanding of the subject matter.
- Boredom - doing the same routine every day was producing boredom when it came to school which led to poor focus, poor grades, and poor attitude.
- Time - School really did start taking 8+ hours every day. Buddy would spend 4-5 hours reading and then I read with him for another hour or so in addition to reading to and with Little Miss which meant between the 2 kids over 8 hours of school each day.
- Dread - I noticed that Buddy who used to not mind school and was happy to tell everyone he had favorite subjects really started dreading each school day. It was long and tedious to him and he felt like there was no end in site to the day, to the work, and to the reading.
- Lack of Enthusiasm - If I dreaded something every day, I wouldn't be enthusiastic about it either. The thing that bothered me about the lack of enthusiasm was that it was rubbing off on his sister and making her say she didn't like subjects before she even had time to really dig in them. It was contagious and nothing was exciting anymore for either student.
- Daily Battles - Not everything became a daily battle when it came to school but it was truly starting to feel like it. It felt like every little thing in school was a battle. When one child was complying the other was complaining and vice versa. It just wasn't working.
Is this where you are right now? Are you struggling through every day of school thinking something has to give? Do you feel like there are more bad days than good days? Stick around this week, because I am going to continue telling our story tomorrow. Come back tomorrow to read about deciding what changes to make.
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.