Wednesday, April 19, 2017

5 Days of Knowing You Need Change in Your Homeschool: Day 3

Changes in our homeschool can seem like such a big deal, but they don't have to be when you know what to look for regarding changes in your school.  This week I am sharing our personal story of the changes we have made in our homeschool over the past year or so to make it much more successful.  I hope sharing our story helps you as we walk through piece by piece knowing when and what to change in your school.   Monday I shared about knowing when things need to change in your homeschool and some signs that I saw that led me to change things in our school.  You can read that post here.  Yesterday I shared about deciding what to change in your homeschool and you can read about that here.  Today I am going to follow that up with:
5 Days of Knowing You Need Change in Your Homeschool: Day 3, A Glimpse of Normal Blog
You've already recognized that you need changes in your school.  You went through the steps of deciding what needs to change.  How do you plan the changes for your homeschool?  That is exactly what we will be discussing today.  I would never want to encourage you to make changes to your school and then leave you on your own.  So today I want to walk through how I planned out the changes in our school so you can get some ideas.
  • Make Minor Adjustments Where Necessary - When we were super unhappy with the curriculum we were using, the attitudes we were getting, and every day seemed to be a battle, I looked at what minor adjustment(s) I could make to help.  I didn't want to do a major change mid-year and it wouldn't have worked because it would have been overwhelming.
  • Do the Research - When the idea of Unit Studies was given to me, I had an idea of how they worked, but I wanted to be more knowledgeable before I jumped in.  So I started researching what they looked like, what they required students to do, and how you went about finding materials for them.  It doesn't matter what curriculum you choose to use, just make sure you do the research to see if it will be a good fit for your family.  
  • Research Specific Companies - If you have a favorite company that you get your math books from (for example), research them.  They may offer curriculum in other subjects that are also a good fit for your family.  If they don't offer other curriculum, they may lead you to partner sites that do.
  • Pick a Start Date For Your Changes - We chose to start our new changes with the beginning of school last fall.  It seemed like a natural fit and we had already made minor adjustments the previous year and felt with these little tweaks we could make it until the next school year.  If you can't wait until the next school year, I suggest implementing the changes after a break or at the beginning of a new week unless you desperately need immediate change.
  • Talk Over the Changes With Your Students - We didn't always do this.  When the kids were little we just picked what we thought would work best.  Now that they are getting older and can really understand when and why we need to make changes, we do want their input.  It would be easy to be a school dictator, but that would just make my kids hate school and I don't want that.  We take their suggestions into account and weigh all the options to make sure the things we are choosing are a good fit for all of us. 
  • Plan Out Several Weeks of the Subject You are Changing - This will help you be prepared, but also give you a chance to make adjustments as you get going with the changes.  Think of it as baby steps and you just take a couple at a time.  If it is working, plan out more weeks.  If it isn't working, tweak the changes as you need to.
  • Gather Your Supplies - Get what you need to use for the changes you made.  This might require trips to the library, craft supplies, borrowing books from friends, and other ideas.  If you can get them in advance do so because it will make everything easier when you need to use those supplies.
  • Give the Changes Time and Grace - Try out the changes for a few weeks and then access if they were the right ones.  If they are not, don't beat yourself up or give up.  It doesn't mean you are a bad parent or a horrible teacher, it just means that specific plan didn't work.  Remember that each child learns differently and sometimes what we think will work, we end up having to throw out the door.  Other times the exact thing we don't think will work, is what works beautifully.  I think it keeps us on our toes.
  • Don't Forget to Pray - I prayed over our school before I made changes, when I was deciding what to change, and after we made changes.  God is an important part of our school and I do my best to put Him first in it. 
This is the exact process we went through when I switched Buddy to Unit Studies.  It is the process I plan to use this coming school year when I switch Little Miss to Unit Studies too.  Unit Studies just seem to be what works for our family.  It gives the kids some freedom to research topics they are interested in and it allows me to fit in the curriculum that works for us.  I make necessary changes as we go, but overall it works.  Little Miss is looking forward to changing up her curriculum and being able to do more hands-on activities.

Do the changes you want to make still seem overwhelming?  Walk through each of these steps and just take them one at a time.  You are not alone and you CAN keep homeschooling.  I had those days where it felt like it was all falling apart, but after I started making changes they are almost non-existent.  Don't give up on your dreams of homeschooling, take a breath, and pray.  Seek what you need to change and go for it.  As always I would love to encourage you on your journey.  Leave me a comment, reach out to me on my blog social media pages, or pop me an email.  You CAN do this!!!

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.
5 Days of Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

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