You’ve bought all sorts of awesome curriculum. You are planning to use it all this fall, right? But when you look at the stack of resources, it can be completely overwhelming. What now? Now is when you need to goof-proof your homeschool plan! Be kind to yourself, and start your school year with sanity.
It’s tempting to look at your pile of excellent choices and conclude they must all be done the first week of school. However, it’s possible you brought home so many great books that you simply can’t do it all at one time. I would like to encourage you to take an extra step first, to avoid frustration. One little goof can frustrate you and your child right from the start, leaving a bad taste in your mouths.
Take a good hard look at the curriculum you’ve put together and plan for sanity instead of being over ambitious! Check out these tips for a goof-proof fall, before the first day of school.
Are there enough hours in the year to cover all the curriculum?
There are so many amazing curriculum choices; it’s easy to end up with way too much to actually complete. Sit down and look it over. How much time will it take each day to cover the material? You may find you’ve purchased two years worth of curriculum, but neither you nor your child want to do two years of homeschool work in one year! Believe me, I’ve tried! It was painful!
Will the chosen curriculum cause burnout?
Seriously consider your child’s ability level in each subject. If the curriculum you’ve chosen for a subject is above their ability level, it can easily cause burnout. Don’t gather too much curriculum for your child’s needs. Choosing a literature-based curriculum for a reluctant reader will likely be a poor fit. Be careful about assigning too much work for your child’s weak subject in particular, or they will become easily frustrated and can spiral into negative self-talk, feeling as if they’re not capable. Don’t set your child up to fail.
Does your child have the level of responsibility needed?
It’s beneficial to encourage your children to learn independently whenever possible, to prepare them for college and career. But responsibility and independence doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long process requiring training, modeling, and encouragement on your part. Be cautious about expecting your child to teach themselves completely if they’re not ready yet. Have patience and keep encouraging them to take increasingly more responsibility throughout the high school years.
Could you be expecting too much?
Don’t plan to homeschool longer than the average adult works at a job per day; that’s too much! Take a quick reality check! Think about what your child can realistically complete on a daily basis. Trim the excess and limit the work to a reasonable amount for each subject. Ensure you are covering those core subjects (math, English, and science) first; then add on the extras.
Are you over-estimating the mornings?
Sure, most of us aspire to be the early bird and get out of bed at 6:00 am to start our day, but is that practical for you or your child? If your homeschool plans depend on turning a night owl into an early bird, you are doomed to fail. Don’t over estimate the time you or your child can be functional each morning. Besides, studies have shown that teens do better at school when the school day starts later. So don’t be afraid to let your teen sleep in and start the day later.
Can your child concentrate that long?
Public and private schools offer 50 minute classes for a reason; studies show this is how long a typical teenager has the ability to concentrate. Make sure your plan doesn’t include focusing any longer than 50 minutes at a time on each subject. If some days absolutely require more than 50 minutes on a subject, mix things up a bit. Have your child step away from the work and do something else, either taking a break or moving on to another subject, to return to the work later. Don’t ask your child to work on a single subject for more than an hour at a time.
Could you concentrate that long as an adult?
Think about it for a moment. If you were told to sit still without moving, focusing a computer screen or textbook for eight hours straight, could you do it? Not likely! If you couldn’t or shouldn’t be sitting for that long as an adult, don’t expect your children to, either. Besides, colleges love to see well-rounded students with time to develop their own specialization. Make sure your child has that time to explore interests during the homeschool day.
You have a whole year to get this homeschool thing completed. You have four whole years to complete high school. It’s not possible to do it all in one month, or one year. You can homeschool successfully, as long as you maintain sanity.
Spend some time at home or at your local coffee shop preparing for a goof-proof fall. If you are having trouble with planning out your classes and curriculum for your high schooler, check out my Planning High School Courses (Online Training) class!