Twenty Homeschool Resolutions for 2020
The New Year is here. A New Year provides us with a clean slate, per se. We use the New Year as an opportunity to change and to grow. We make resolutions about everything from our health to our finances. This year, I am making resolutions about our family’s homeschool. Actually, I am making twenty of them because we all know that the thing about resolutions is that we usually make it two weeks and we are back to our old ways. Maybe by making twenty resolutions one of them will stick.
- Let go of the mom guilt.
We all have it. We question our choices as parents. We look at our children, and we wonder if we are making the right ones. I feel guilty if I lose my patience, and I feel guilty about a million things every day.
- Learn to let things go.
I over plan. There are days when I am not feeling it. I am tired from not sleeping. I don’t feel well; however, I push to get through the lessons. Why? Because it is in my lesson planner and I can’t stand to leave things unfinished. However, when I am tired and impatient, we rush through the lessons. Their learning isn’t as explicit as it could be. I need to learn to let things go to another day when our learning experience is anything less than what they deserve.
- Protect our time.
There are distractions every day. The phone rings a hundred times. Instead of stopping the lesson, I try to push through the distraction. My teaching is distracted and so is their learning. I need to stop multitasking. There are some calls that I will always need to take, but the non-essentials can wait.
- Take more brain breaks.
In those moments that our learning is interrupted or they are out-of-sorts, I need to have pre-selected activities ready. Playing an educational game, creating an art project, a playlist of songs that let them move, word puzzles to complete. All of these are learning opportunities that don’t require my attention but provide them with the ability to take a “break.”
- Stop trying to prove our success.
I second guess my choices and sometimes that includes homeschool. Not because it isn’t working, because it is, but because I feel as if others think my children aren’t learning. Sometimes I will question them about concepts we learn, just to prove to others that we are doing our part. I am setting them, and myself, up for failure. If they get the question correct, nobody is impressed. I don’t get an award or accolade for their success, yet if they get it wrong, then someone will take notice.
- Trust my instincts.
When I started homeschooling my children, they were in 5th, 4th, and 3rd. Having been a public-school teacher for 12 years, I knew that there were specific subjects that weren’t taught as in-depth as they should be. We started those subjects at a third-grade level, and all three of my children completed the same work. In one and a half years, we have completed three grade levels. My youngest is two years ahead of his grade level. My oldest is caught up with her grade level, and they all have a more solid foundation on which to build. If I hadn’t trusted my instincts, this would not be the case.
- Count those enhanced learning opportunities.
We have been to the zoo four times since September 1st. We went to an arboretum. We go to co-op classes, yet if you look in our attendance logs and lesson plans, none of these activities are listed. My children learn so much from these experiences, yet because it doesn’t come from a book, it doesn’t hold value to me.
- Provide more real-life opportunities for learning.
My children have learned how to mail letters. They have learned about writing thank-you notes. They know how to navigate a library like nobody’s business. I want my children to be fully functional adults when they are older. I want to teach them about budgets, sewing, meal planning, and so many other things. This will come through intentional real-life opportunities.
- Don’t rush their learning.
This piggybacks off number two. The first few subjects of the day, we are all fresh and eager to learn. By the time we get to the last two subjects, we are tired. I speed up my reading; my patience is thin. I get irritated by distractions, including their genuine questions. I try to get through everything so that we can move on to other aspects of our day. I try to rush them so I can get the house straightened or get some to-do list items checked off.
- Reward their accomplishments.
This is a big one for me. When my children were in public school, our refrigerator was littered with their work. Since homeschooling, I have posted one. I file them away as proof of our learning. I need to display their accomplishments. I need to celebrate them for their learning.
- Incorporate the arts consistently.
I have reviewed some amazing products focusing on the arts. During the review period, we use them consistently, and then when the review period is done, they fall to the wayside. I need to carve out time each week to allow my children the ability to expand upon their learning and talents.
- Pray more.
When I am feeling overwhelmed, tired, frustrated and insecure, I will take the time to stop and pray. I will pray for clarity and strength, compassion and tolerance.
- Keep a journal.
There have been some truly hilarious moments in our homeschool endeavors. My children make me laugh every day. They also astound me with their insights. I want to record all of these moments.
- Answer their questions.
In my haste to finish lessons, I tend to overlook their curiosities. My goal this year it to foster those questions. I want to write down their questions, and then we can spend time searching for the answers.
- Put it all away.
Our homeschool room is always cluttered, much to my OCD dismay. Even though I tell my children to make sure they clean their stuff up, sometimes it doesn’t happen. Sometimes I am working on lesson planning, and I leave my stuff laying to work on later. At the end of our school day, I am going to put it all away and ensure that my children have done the same.
- Stop comparing my children.
I am so guilty of this, especially since 5 of their 7 subjects are the same. If one of my children score higher on an assignment, then I assume that they understand the content better. I will generalize that one is better at science than another. I have always said that my youngest is better at math, although not in front of the other two. However, by having this mindset, it determines the way I treat him. I become more impatient with my son during math if he seems to struggle because in my mind, he has a better understanding.
I do this in spelling. I give my children a choice on what they want to do each day, in addition to their mandated activity. They have two choices of word work to complete. This helps them take ownership of their learning. My goal this year is to give them more options. When reading a book, I want to give them options for the end of the book project. Instead of completing a worksheet that labels parts of a cell, I can let them create a model.
- Challenge my children more.
I see children who know all the presidents in order. I see children who know minor details from the Bible. I tend to think that my children cannot do things like this. It’s not that I don’t think they are capable because I know they are. I think this because I know it is a lot of work on my behalf. Someone has to work with them, and we already have so many other things to do. Right before we stopped for winter break, I started working with my kids on learning the Preamble to the Constitution. It was a task I dreaded. Every couple of days, I added a new line to our board. I would quiz them periodically, and they were rewarded for every line they knew. They became self-motivated because of this. This year, we are going to tackle more things like this.
- Take some me-time.
I am with my children 99% of our awake time. By the end of the day, I am frazzled and begging for adult conversation. When my husband gets home, I desperately want to spend time with him, but I also crave some me-time. Time to read or just be alone. I am torn between the two and feel guilty if I don’t spend time with him and the kids. However, he needs that time with them. So, after dinner is finished and the house is in order, I am going to start giving myself 30 minutes to do the things I want to do.
- Love the experience
I love being with my children. They are funny, compassionate children Sometimes though, I feel like homeschooling is a job. I think I still have the public-school teacher mentality. I measure success by grades, and I feel like I must get through the entire curriculum. I want homeschooling to help me fall in love with teaching again. I want to do the projects and have fun with the process.
There they are. Twenty Homeschooling Resolutions for 2020. I may be ambitious by trying to do all of these, and I am not saying that I will start them all on the first day we start back, but I would like to incorporate them all at some point in the year. I want them to become routine. Truth be told, if only a fraction of them stick then our homeschool experience will be better for it.
Joanna Yates – I am a 36 year old mom of 3 beautiful children. My husband and I adopted our 3 children from foster care. We live in Kentucky, but live to vacation anywhere with a beach. I taught public school for 12 years before stopping to homeschool my children. I am a Christian.