Saturday, December 11, 2010

Feeling Behind?

We have now been homeschooling for many years and those first few years, I would feel so stressed during the fall/winter months because I felt like we were behind.  Things would go off of my "perfect" schedules.  We would be ahead in some areas and behind in others and I just didn't know if we would finish our materials "on time," early or if they would extend into the next year.

But over the past few years, I have made observations and changed things.  Here is what we have done:

I figured out my children's learning rhythms and adjusted the curriculum and our schedule accordingly.  I found that we did really well during certain times of the year and got stuck a lot during others.  So I start new curriculum during the times when they are avid learners and schedule "finishing up" and review work during those time when they get stuck.

Here is our yearly rhythm:

January--gearing up, great time to start new curriculum and subjects, eager to get started and try new things

February and March--working hard, avid learning and a lot of progress takes place

April--they are ready to slow things down

May--summer break, pretty weather and lots of free time to play

June, July, and August--working hard, lots of learning and progress made

September--starting to slow down but still making progress

October--finishing up curriculum and getting ready for another big break

November--review work, tieing up loose ends

December--winter break, holiday distractions and stressed about Christmas, they can't concentrate and so we drop school work and have fun with the holidays.

Once I figured out the rhythm and adjusted accordingly, we were able to keep on track, making the progress they need to make and things because less stressful. 

Every family is going to have a different rhythm.  Some families do a lot of learning in the fall or the spring or the summer or the winter. 

You have to observe what time of the year are most stressful and is it really worth scheduling heavy schoolwork during those times?  This may be a good time for fun projects.

Also, what times of the year are your children most productive?  That might be the perfect time to work on large projects and get a lot of work done.

If you are having trouble keeping on track or feeling guilty because you're family is not where you think they should be, I hope this helps you to take a look at the learning rhythms in your home and make changes for the better.


Robyn said...

Wow, thanks for this great insight! Only something an experienced mom can give! I feel like I'm just starting to get a handle on our weekly schedule (in our 3rd year of hsing). I'm now trying to get a handle on our yearly schedule. We are trying 6 weeks on 1 off this year and it's going well. We don't adhere to it strictly as things come up, but over all it seems to be working well. I really should start to document our "ups and downs" in learning. One thing I know for sure Oct. was a "down" month and you seem to have found that out too... thanks again for this great insight! No use in fighting the natural cycle!

Sally said...

I need to bookmark this very post and read it again and again. You have gone "against" the way folks I read typically do it, with the low period of work in the summer months and the more dedicated times in the fall. I am so glad you shared this, as an example that we must do what works for our families, even if that means it doesn't look "right" by Waldorf or CM or Suzy-whats-it's standards. I am so bad at this, trying to make things go just right, according to MY calendar, MY plans, which are all based on OTHERS' calendars and OTHERS' plans. Silly me!!!
How liberating this post was -- THANK YOU!!!
::bookmarking now::

DC Universe said...

I love this! This was our first year homeschooling and I'm starting to feel like the kids have similar ups and downs. We will also be trying the 6wk cycles this year. Seems to make a lot more sense.


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