Back to School Blues

It is that time of year again.  Some of you have already started school, some are wishing you could as soon as all of your stuff comes in and some are simply dreading it.  I'm sorry for those of you who are dreading it -I have been there.  Let's find out why you may have the "back to school blues".

First, let's consider how you school. 

Now this is a topic that I could spend endless hours talking about as I have done much research on the different types of curriculum available. I do not claim to be a professional curriculum critique, but I have learned a lot and have tried quite a bit. In the near future I will post my thoughts on the different choices out there, but for today let me ask you this: are you and your kids happy with what you use? If so, then by all means do not change what is not broken! But if you or one of your children are struggling, it is ok to step out of the box. It is not always easy, but it is ok!

Would you rather teach all of your kids at the same time? Then try unit studies. 

Would you rather not be the primary teacher, but just supervise their learning? Then a DVD or online approach would be good for you. 

Or do you like more of a challenge and want your kids to learn like George Washington and other great leaders like him? Then the classical style with Latin as the base might be what you are looking for. 

Do you have one curriculum for all subjects and are getting bored with it? Try changing one subject until you find what you like. 

I will warn you that if you have a larger family it is very difficult to have too many different curricula going at the same time. If you'd like to make some changes, but don't know where to start, I have a suggestion. Start with math. We use Math-U-See and it is our favorite! After trying four other kinds of math and hating them all we came across MUS and it made a huge difference in our family.  I'll tell more when I write about the different curricula I have learned about.

Second, we will consider when you school.   

I realize that every parent does things differently, but I'd like to highly suggest getting on a daily schedule.  Our day went so much better when we followed our schedule.  The kids fussed less and got more accomplished and so did Mommy!  It took me a while to figure this all out as we are typically not the scheduling sort of people, but after being introduced to Steve and Terri Maxwell's system, I became a huge fan!  They have a book called Managers of their homes: A practical guide to daily scheduling for Christian homeschool families.  The first time I read it I was overwhelmed to be quite honest.  After reading it through the second time the techniques were easier to apply.   It really worked!  It is budgeting your time just like budgeting your money.  It takes awhile to get the kinks worked out, but hang in there!  Once we got it all worked out things went more smoothly.  So now at the start of every year, I get Steve and Terri's book out and we "tweek" our schedule again for that year.  It is bliss!  Sigh.

Third, let's consider where you school?

Are you all piled on the couch in the living room and you don't all fit on the couch? =)

Do you school at the kitchen table and have to move everything for lunch and supper?

Or are you constantly telling one child to move because you need to use his or her space?

Maybe you have each child in their own room which has you constantly running back and forth.

These are just a few scenarios to get your mind rolling on where you "do" school. Is is a clean and comfortable environment that encourages learning? Is is cluttered and messy while your children long for organization?

I tried the kids schooling in their own separate bedrooms and we will not be doing that one this year. It seemed while helping one, inevitably another one would need help. If I could not get there quickly, it gave them a license to "dawdle" until I did. Now I know none of your children do this, but the French Fries had their share of getting in trouble because of this one. We are hoping to save some steps for Mommy this year by schooling all in one room; thus one of the reasons for our most recent home improvements. If the environment in which you are schooling is not working for you or your child, consider some minor adjustments.

Change can be a good thing.  

It is not always good since children do love a routine and don't like to always be wondering what will happen next, but it is ok to make some changes here and there to increase enthusiasm.  Remember your goals and the reasons you are teaching your children at home.  Pray often and get on the same page with your husband as much as you can.  Ask him to pray for you.  Ask his opinion.  He may be surprised to learn you want his input, but it will make him feel more valued and respected.  I pray that if you have the "back to school blues" you will be singing a happier song soon and have a wonderful year! 

Don't forget to leave a comment!  I'd love to hear from you!

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