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Overcoming a Rocky Start to the School Year
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In our 8th year of homeschooling, I should have started the new school year down by now right? That transition back to the school year after lazy summer days should be smooth. My back to school picture should show how perfectly excited we are all to be back in the swing of things.

Let me paint you a much more realistic picture of what’s happening in my home. We are just starting this week. By now, we are usually 3 weeks in with several subjects. Every subject and all materials are usually sorted and organized weeks in advance. Instead, I had to finish a few things up this morning, and we are waiting on our science lab kits to arrive since I did not order them when I was supposed to. We usually celebrate the first day of school with a back to school picture and a special lunch. We haven’t done the picture yet or lunch because our oldest son is still having pre-season sports workouts from 8-12. Yes, this feels like a rocky start to the school year to me.

However, I know that we will overcome this bumpy start and succeed this year. How do I know that? Every year we have had a few things to tweak and shift and every year we have been blessed by the Lord. I expect the same mercies and blessings this year in our homeschool journey. And I’ve been open to the Lord’s lessons for me in flexibility and letting go of control.

In the past, we have experienced schedule changes, delayed supplies or curriculum, technology issues, non-excitement and attitudes (even mine at times), and learning curves to new curriculum.

Allow me to share how we have addressed these issues.

Schedule Changes

I love a schedule. I love a schedule, even more, when we are on target and not behind! Enter life and that can throw things off. Through the years, I’ve learned that our homeschool schedule is a ballpark of where I want to be, but sometimes we have to adjust it. Whether it is adjusted because a child needed more time to understand a concept, because of health issues, or because I didn’t plan for interruptions, I have to be willing to tweak it throughout the year. I find doing monthly check-ins on our progress keeps us focused and keeps me less stressed.

Delayed Supplies or Curriculum

This year is a perfect example of delayed supplies that’s totally my fault. Science will begin a few weeks later while we wait for the materials we will need for science experiments. Rather than stress about it, we just have adapted our schedule to begin that subject a few weeks later. I’ve given my children the options of doubling up on another subject in the interim, adding in some Saturdays if they want to finish science earlier, or just begin that subject when the lab kits arrive. Giving them choices in how they want to proceed with their curriculum helps to allow them to take ownership in their own learning.

Technology Issues

In our home, we use some BJU Press Distance Learning curriculum. One year, the sound card in our son’s laptop quit working. He couldn’t hear the videos so we knew we had to do something. He schooled on our living room television until we were able to replace the laptop. He is my child that likes solitude and limited distractions so this set up wasn’t ideal, but he made it work short-term. Again, being flexible is key.

Non-Excitement and Attitudes

Since the beginning of July, our 5th grade daughter has been exclaiming how excited she is for school to start. I’d love to tell you that always has happened and has been across the board for all children. Sadly, I cannot. Regardless, we start with school and expect positive attitudes when it comes to schooling. To be honest, some days we encounter attitudes that do not always lead to successful school days. We address them immediately and move forward. And, yes, sometimes I really don’t want to school either and I have to adjust my attitude and lead by example.

Curriculum Learning Curves

Sometimes the learning curve we've encountered with a new curriculum has contributed to the rockiness at the beginning of the school year. When we switched to using Distance Learning with BJU Press, my children and I all had to learn a new way of organizing, learning and working. I always tell new homeschool families to give yourself 4-6 weeks, regardless of which curriculum you use/choose, to find your stride. As my family returns to school this week, we have to readjust and find our stride again this year. That’s a normal part of homeschooling.

As you begin your school year, know that you may encounter a rocky start or a few obstacles along the way. Pray for God’s provision and guidance in your journey. As you are raising up young men and women who love the Lord, I firmly believe He can and will bless your homeschooling journey.

As a dear friend reminded me the other day as I was lamenting about my lack of the first day of school picture, “You can take it next week. They won’t have changed that much.” She’s right and again it’s an opportunity to practice flexibility.

Meet the Author

Debra Schroeder - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


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