It isn’t even summer yet, and homeschoolers are busy planning next school year. Take these ten steps to have your best year yet.
Go through all of your homeschooling curriculum, books, and supplies before you do anything else. Why? So you don’t buy something you already have and also because you will get a very clear indication of what worked and what didn’t.
As you review each item that you’re not currently using, put it into one of four piles: 1) Using in the fall; 2) Using another year; 3) Sell/Give away; 4) Not sure. I like to store everything I am using in the current year in plain sight and everything else out of sight. This is the time of year to sell your unwanted items at used curriculum sales or online. Put “maybe” items in a separate box and review it when your school year is over.
Make a list of what worked well for you this school year–even if it only worked well for a while. What was it that made it successful? Newness, time of year, your energy? These are things you want to keep, return to, or build upon.
Make a list of anything that did not work for you this school year. What was it that caused the problem? Can it be fixed or does the curriculum or activity have to go?
Discuss your plans with your homeschooling friends. Maybe you can create a co-op, share curriculum, or share driving responsibilities. Perhaps your friends know a curriculum that would work better for you and your children.
Talk about your impressions of the year with your children. They may have a different perspective on why something didn’t work or may be willing to give up other activities in order to keep a favorite. Discuss your thoughts with your spouse, even if your spouse isn’t that involved in these decisions. Often, talking it out will give you a fresh perspective. Budgetary issues should be addressed during this time.
Prayer can and should be a part of the entire process for believers. I sold a curriculum book for a tiny fraction of its retail value at a used sale last year, only to have a woman tell me she had prayed that she would be able to afford that very book. Our Lord wants to be involved in the smallest details of our planning and when we invite Him to be, we are blessed.
One of the most common mistakes new homeschoolers (and even veterans like me) make is assuming they can handle more than they can. You will not have time to teach every subject, or even most of them every day. If you are running several days a week, you will not be able to do justice to the core subjects at home. Creating a detailed schedule will help you determine what you can reasonably accomplish.
Once you know you need a new approach or a new curriculum, start doing your research. Read the reviews and do your price comparisons, looking at used outlets. My favorite sites are Rainbow Resource, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, Homeschool Reviews, Cathy Duffy Reviews, Ebay, and Homeschool Classifieds.
After completing steps 1-9, you’ll be ready to make your purchase, whether you are online, at a bookstore, used sale, or a homeschooling conference. As the wife of a book salesman, please accept my encouragement to buy from someone you have a relationship with or a family business if the price is at all comparable.
One final bonus tip: start enjoying your new materials now! Why slog through the end of the year with the same-old, same-old when you have inspiring new stuff to delve into?
Are you planning next school year right now? Anything you’re struggling with or particularly excited about?
I’m in my 13th year of homeschooling and for the 13th time, I have spring fever. Fortunately, I know the right prescription for my chronic ailment: a homeschool conference. I attended a local homeschool conference last week and left with excitement to spare. Of course, that excitement doesn’t last. That’s why I like to buy recordings of seminars that I can listen to when my motivation begins to wane once again.
A couple of years ago, I discovered an online homeschool expo. It’s a year’s prescription of homeschool motivation. While there are live speakers (I will be speaking on “Help for the Unmotivated Homeschooler on April 24th at 1:00 p.m.), you can be inspired by quality recordings while you travel, workout, or do housework. The opportunity to peruse books, curriculum, and great gifts for the kids at a local expo is always rewarding. You’ll have the same opportunity at the Ultimate Homeschool Expo. The tickets are a bargain when you consider the cost of a local expo and even one CD ($6).
Do yourself and your kids a favor: get your ticket to the Ultimate Homeschool Expo today! For more information, click the EXPO tab and scroll down. I hope to talk with you live on the 24th!
Any advice for homeschoolers attending an EXPO for the first time?
This week, our friend Gari sent out this great list that he lives by. Not only does Gari live it, but he inspires others to live likewise. He challenged his friends to do 3000 pushups this month (100 a day for 30 days). My husband in turn challenged our kids to participate, offering a financial incentive so good that I had to take the bait, too. Last night when I was finishing my last 20 pushups of 100 for the day very late at night, I was cursing him (sorry, Gari!), but I admire Gari’s attitude and commitment so much. Even if you’re more into faith than fitness, I think you’ll find that these habits translate very well.
1. They don’t think of their fitness as work, but rather a way of life.
It’s kind of like taking a shower; you don’t need one, but you just don’t feel right the rest of the day.
2. They don’t skip workouts.
They take training days as serious as a Dr’s appointment. Appointments and meetings get scheduled around their workout time, not the other way around.
3. They take their rest as seriously as their workouts.
They know that in order to perform at their best and to get the most out of their bodies, they have to give it a rest. Rest days and sleep are as essential as the workouts themselves.
4 They eat to fuel their goals.
Everything they eat serves a purpose. Protein for muscles, carbs for energy, and produce for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Treats are done, but never over-done.
5 They tune everything out when they workout.
Focus. They know that anything you give your undivided attention to works out better. Being in tune with your body allows them to make tweaks, and know which tweaks to make.
6 They push through frustration.
If you think it’s easy for the super fit to get fit,and stay fit, you’re wrong. They’re highly competitive and always striving to hit new goals. They struggle like everyone else with busy lives. Stress, plateaus, fatigue, and frustration. But there isn’t a thought of giving up, it’s just a matter of finding their answer.
7 They prepare their food in advance.
They know what they’ll be eating the whole day. If they don’t bring their food, they know what they can order off menus and what they can find at a grocery store. Drive-thrus don’t exist in their world.
8 They use their flaws as motivators, not a reason to give up.
They see their flaws (even if you don’t) and despise them like everyone else. But rather then letting their flaws bring them down,,they use them to motivate themselves.
9 They envision the win-goal-finish line every day.
The goal is crystal clear in their mind. The thought of the sculpted body or winning the race always keeps them motivated. Regardless of life’s pressures, they race towards the winner’s tape.
10 Persistence, persistence, persistence.
Yes… they are persistent!
11 There are no excuses.
They learn early that excuses are time-suckers and don’t get you anywhere near your goals. Better to get it done than whine about why you didn’t.
12 There is no giving up.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us – Hebrews 12:1
Which of these habits do you struggle with the most?