If you’ve homeschooled for any length of time you know that your homeschool has different needs at different times. It’s important to recognize those changing times and address the needs you face at each step. I like to call these changing times your homeschool seasons.
Homeschool Seasons of Life
Every homeschool goes through a variety of seasons (and not just the mid-winter seasonal blues).
There’s a time when your house may be filled with little ones -- which has a marked effect on the way you homeschool and run your home. It's harder to keep up with the housework, for one thing!
Then you’ll find that your kids are getting older and able to work more independently, freeing up some of your time. You could start refocusing on your own hobbies, which is much more difficult to do when your children are smaller.
When the high school years roll around, your role changes again as you become more of a confidante and educational facilitator instead of a direct instructor.
These changes happen gradually and with a few bumps and bruises along the way; and they require you to reassess your schedule, commitments, and curriculum. Even your housekeeping schedule may need to change as you find there are more outside commitments when children enter the adolescent years.
It’s so important to take these shifting changes into consideration as you’re planning for a successful homeschooling year.
Related: Homeschooling Goals
Adjusting Your Schedule to Fit
The first thing to consider during each of these seasons is your schedule. Your schedule will change with each homeschool season - expect it!
When you have little ones it may feel like you have no time to keep up with all the housekeeping tasks. Or you may be so excited to homeschool that you try to cram in too much when your kids are small.
Step back and consider the current situation in your own home - you may need a more structured schedule (and fewer homeschool subjects) to make sure you fit in what’s most important.
Thankfully, as your kids get older they gain independence and can help keep the house clean. On the other hand, you may find that you are out of the house more often, taking kids to activities and events. Time for another schedule adjustment!
The important thing to remember is that when you start to feel like something is taking over your life (most often homeschooling!), it’s time to step back and reassess your schedule and expectations, adjusting things to fit the current season of your life.
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Choosing Curriculum for Your Homeschool Season
While we all dream of finding that perfect curriculum if that curriculum doesn’t fit your current homeschool season, it won’t feel so perfect after all!
It’s important to think about what season your homeschool is in when you’re selecting curriculum.
If you have a houseful of little ones, it may be difficult to fit in everything you have planned, especially if most of the curriculum you’re looking at is teacher-led. You may need to compromise and group your children together (Morning Time Meeting <-- that's an affiliate link is a great way to do this) or choose a few workbook-based, independent programs, freeing you up to focus on the most important things that will help you meet your goals.
Related: The Myth of the Perfect Curriculum
Don’t be Discouraged
Every homeschool mom goes through a season of feeling inadequate and unable to go on. Don’t give up!
Step back, look at the big picture - at all you’ve accomplished - and consider your homeschool season. If you’ve been trying to fit in too much or you’re expectations are too high, it’s time to reassess and extend a little grace.
Take a break, recharge your batteries, and be kind to yourself, homeschool mom. This homeschool gig is a full-time job. And each season requires new skills and expectations.
Related: Homeschool Planning
What season is your homeschool in?
Seasons come and go - even homeschool seasons - each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The key is to understand your current season and adjust your plans and expectations accordingly.
I’d love to hear from you. What homeschool season are you facing right now? Are you adjusting your homeschool expectations to fit this season of your life?