Homeschooling in the midst of turmoil
One of the many benefits of having a homeschool lifestyle is the flexibilty it allows. This year our family is going through a fair amount of change. With an impending job loss and relocation for a new job on the horizon, we have opted to uproot the family and relocate to Georgia during the transition.
This means most of our stuff is sitting in storage, we are living with significant space restrictions, and we have taken a few weeks off for packing, moving, and settling in.
I know that if we had Kyriandra enrolled in a traditional public or private school, there would be a significant amount of pressure to schedule our move when it worked best for the school system’s schedule, and there would have been a timer going to get her enrolled in the new school system shortly after moving.
In order to keep school moving forward, even in the midst of all the chaos, I have done several things:
1. Plan ahead
I know this may seem obvious, but keeping things running smoothly when everything else is chaotic and hectic really requires planning, planning, planning. We school year round, but I do sit down at the end of summer and plan out the new school year. I plan a 36-week schedule for the Fall and Spring, and we do a lighter load in the summer. When I sat down at the end of August, I knew our October move was going to disrupt school for a few weeks so I decided to prepare for the entire year.
I prepared six 6-week overviews, where I mapped out in broader terms what we would cover each week in each subject. For example, I went through our Saxon Math and planned out 36 weeks with two lessons per week. For History, I mapped out all the topics I wanted to cover over the course of the school year.
I also prepared our weekly lesson plan page and printed up enough copies for the entire year. Each week I can can refer to the 6-week overview and see what we are covering, and I plan out our lessons in more detail for each day.
Finally, I prepared 36 manila folders and labeled them weeks 1 through 36. I did all my printing in one marathon session and filled each folder with all the printed material for that particular week. So now when I am getting our Daily Folders read for the week I only need to pull out that week’s manila folder. I have our Saxon math pages, spelling pages, spelling test sheet, geography sheets, Bible Road Trip pages, and any art pages I have prepared. I distribute the pages among the Daily folders and we are ready for the week.
2. Schedule by Week and NOT by Date
When I planned out our school year, I purposely omitted listing actual dates. Instead, I planned by weeks. We managed to get through Week 4 of school work before our move. We took off three weeks of school for packing, moving and settling in. I then picked up our school schedule at Week 5 without stressing over the calendar date. I write in the actual dates on our weekly lesson sheet so that I know when we actually covered the work. Planning our schedule this way has done wonders for my stress level. Now I don’t get upset that we aren’t where I had “hoped” we would be by a certain date. I know we are up to a certain “week” and that works for me.
3. Be flexible and let things go
I’ll be the first to admit we fall behind in some subjects. I try to keep us on track with our core subjects of Math, Language Arts, Science and History, but sometimes we fall behind in other subjects. Our first year homeschooling, this would have really stressed me out! But I have come to realize that it all comes out in the wash. One of the reasons we school year round is that we have all year to cover things, if we fall a little behind in an area, we’ve got time to get caught up.
Additionally, we are always open to learning opportunities that aren’t “on the schedule” so while we may not be on schedule in one area, it is more than likely we have added some valuable learning experience so that it balances out. For example, we haven’t been keeping up with our Art plans as I had envisioned them back in September when writing out my schedule, but Kyri has started participating in the monthly Kid Clinics at Home Depot.
Finally, don’t discount the importance of independent study. I encourage Kyri to spend as much time as possible reading good books. If we aren’t quite keeping up, as far as our paper schedule is concerned, but Kyri has been reading about a variety of topics, then I certainly don’t consider that a bad thing.