I have a kid entering their senior year, and a kid entering Kindergarten. Life is a trip sometimes! I’m trying very hard to let this be a learning opportunity; to look back on what I would do differently if I could homeschool again, because I can!
To be succinct for my own sake, I wanted to come up with the top 5 things I would do differently if I could homeschool all over again. Since Kindergarten is just weeks away, the time had come to put this together.
1. Plan in batches
As much as I want to plan each week on Sunday so I can have our plans be tailored to the week, I just don’t work that way. The only chore I can do that religiously is meal planning, and that’s just because it’s how I feed myself and these hungry kids in the house.
What was most successful was when I would plan somewhere between 6 weeks, or even a full semester, at a time. Using the online homeschool planner by Homeschool Planet, if we missed a day of something, all the assignments adjusted along with it, so if a really cool field trip came up, I didn’t have to break out the white out and manually change pages of assignments.
With Kindergarten, our planning will be very loose, more of an unschool-ish style, but when we get into higher grades, and more kids, I’ve learned that I need to plan fairly far ahead to keep ahead of my motivation curve.
2. Get out!
When Kira was in 4th and 5th grade, we missed a lot of fun field trips and activities because we felt tied to the virtual school assignments. We felt we just didn’t have the time to go out and do the cool things that we looked forward to when we thought about homeschooling. In later years, I filled up our schedule with co-ops, preschool classes for her younger sisters, and fencing practice, so we really didn’t have any time to spare, again.
I wish I would have taken the slower road and spent more time in fun activities with her rather than always focusing on the next scheduled enrichment. After enrichment becomes overscheduled, it doesn’t seem enriching anymore.
3. Meet your own expectations
A lot of what makes me question our homeschooling path is what other people think, and I’m learning to let that go. One big difference this time around is that I do not have to homeschool with an ex in the picture, so there is a lot more freedom in that regard. Additionally, I’ve learned I don’t need to prove to other people that my kid is on track with their expectations.
4. Build a network
In order to foster a strong Islamic identity in my kids, I need them to have strong Muslim friends, and feel comfortable using the resources within our community to build their own network. I want to give this a bigger role in our homeschool this time around, which does mean additional driving to activities for us, but in sha Allah it’ll be worth it in the long run.
5. Stop glorifying being busy
I believe I modeled the glorification of being busy when we started homeschooling for several reasons. I was not yet used to not working outside the home, and felt I needed to justify my work at home by having outside pursuits. I still want to model having outside interests and continued learning, but instead of always having someplace to be other than home, I want them to see me content in my pursuits with them, and outside interests are secondary in this season of my life.