Well, we are just a few weeks away from finishing our first year of homeschooling. We are also a couple of months away from a big move to another state (there is another post in the works that will expound on that journey). At this time of conclusions, my mind begins to turn toward new beginnings. For many homeschooling parents, this is the time of year when planning for the next school year begins. The same is true for me. It is also a time of evaluation, self-assessment, and reflection.
As I began this process last month, I realized several things:
- We just might be in this for the long haul. When we first made the decision to homeschool, my husband and I said, “We are just going to give it a year, and see how it goes.” But now, as we have grown, deepened, and blossomed the thought of homeschooling through high school seems to be developing into a priority—even an excitement!
- Adjustments in my goals, vision, and mindset needed to take place. In February (yes, the dreaded homeschooling month of February), I was noticing more stress and anxiety in my heart and mind. I wasn’t being the gentle, nurturing guide to my girls. Instead, I was frantically trying to make sure all of our subjects were being covered. I was projecting out a plan for those areas in which we were falling behind. I was upset that Bible, art and poetry memorization were falling by the wayside each week. I knew something was awry.
- “What if we recognized that the quality of study matters far more than the mere quantity of learning? And what if we realized that curriculum actually isn’t something we buy?” Enter Sarah MacKenzie and her book Teaching from Rest. God knew exactly what I needed and He provided the perfect resource. I was measuring my success as a homeschooling teacher by checking off lists and completing the curriculum we purchased. “We must get through the book,” was my motto. If we are behind, I am failing. If my girls aren’t catching on to something quickly, I am failing. I was focusing on outcomes rather than the daily joy of learning. I found myself highlighting and underlining nearly every sentence in Sarah’s book. I quickly shared my inspiration with a couple of dear friends who are homeschooling moms. They were also invigorated and we began a little book club to meet and discuss this new philosophy. One friend said, “I wanted to dip the entire book in highlighter ink!” Exactly. Sarah Mackenzie had hit a nerve and I wanted to know more.
- The Rule of 6: I became a member of Sarah’s Read Aloud Revival and immediately began my continuing education (we need that by the way–we are teachers!) with one of her master classes/webinars entitled Focus & Align. It focused upon filtering your homeschooling day through 6 main goals. With this inspiration, I went onto Canva.com and created this infographic. I was inspired, renewed, and ready to make some changes in our homeschool! With the help of Sarah, and Pam Barnhill (her Your Morning Basket is excellent) we re-vamped our morning time symposium, worked in a loop for our content area subjects, and filtered our day through our Rule of 6. If it didn’t fall into one of those 6 categories, we didn’t do it. So what was the outcome? The girls LOVED it! It was very satisfying to watch them connect with and respond positively to our pursuit of truth and beauty each day. All of a sudden, we not only had time to dig into our Bible Road Trip curriculum, but each time we read a passage, Rosebud came alive with questions and discussion points. The spark was lit again!
- “The work is ours. The result is not.” Pam Barnhill made this statement in a recent Facebook webinar on planning your school year. Truly believing and acting upon this statement is revolutionary. Interestingly enough, I found that much of what she says aligns with our goal setting philosophy in Shaklee. I should have been applying my Shaklee methods to my homeschool! Duh!
- “Goals should be specific and measurable.”
- “Goals should focus upon behaviors, not outcomes.”
- “Goals focus on learning and not completing.”
I am so grateful to have found this information before I seriously began to plan our curriculum for next year. It has made all the difference in finishing THIS school year the best way possible.
Now we will just see if I can maintain REST while showing our house and packing boxes!
“One day at a time..”
That’s all for now. More on our move from Iowa to Texas coming very soon!