Is Your Homeschool too Heavy on the School?

It started early this year.

As in, really early. On our first day of Christmas vacation (which was, blessedly, the day before Thanksgiving since we take all of December off), I found myself sighing, “Only five weeks ’til we start again!”

I tried to keep my great attitude to myself. But now that January has come, we’re all online groaning to one another about how difficult it is to start back to school again. I hate to admit it, but it’s happening at my house, too. There are missing math texts, almost-used-up notebooks and too many of the pencils are broken. Everyone makes a sad face when Monday rolls around.

Even me.

So, what does that mean? Did we make the wrong schooling choice altogether? Should we choose new curriculum? Do we need a new schedule? Do we just need to crack the whip a bit more?

To me, the fact that I’m squealing with delight over a vacation and counting the days ’til it’s over with trepidation and reluctance means I’m doing something wrong. How on earth can I expect my children to enjoy our school year if I’m not enjoying it?

Oh dear.

Here’s my guess: My homeschool has become a bit too heavy on the school. And I really need to fix it.

We all can get trapped into feeling like we’re leaving something out, not doing enough, not keeping up with the Bluedorns. That leads to curriculum choices we really knew weren’t quite right, commitments to groups and classes we don’t really want to be committed to, and schedules that make us want to tear our hair out.

I don’t know about you, but when the majority of my days are spent doing things I don’t really want to do, it exhausts me.

All of a sudden, as I sit here today, I’ve realized something: I don’t want to be raising my kids in a homeschool. I want to be raising them in a home. A home where together we read well- written, imaginative books; listen to beautiful music; prepare and enjoy healthy, delicious meals; and surround ourselves with inspiring art and the words of God. I want their memories primarily to be of those kinds of things … not my scowling face, fussing at them to complete that math lesson or finish that literature assignment.

Now, I’m not advocating for tossing all our books out the window and abandoning order altogether. Kids need order and routine – actually thrive on it, in fact. And the books aren’t really the problem (well, maybe the math books could be a problem, but that’s another story.) The story books and history books and science books are wonderful in and of themselves. It’s generally my slavery to the assignment sheet that throws my homeschool balance off, not the assignments themselves.

So what do we do if we can tell our homeschool has gotten a bit too heavy on the school?

My plan is to first spend some time with a pen and paper and write out how I’m really feeling right now. What’s bothering me most? Do I have any idea how to change the problem? Later I plan to call my kiddos together so we can talk about it. I want to hear their hearts, to know how they feel about what we’re doing and what they think would make things better. I want to find out how they feel about each activity we’re involved in—coops, ballet lessons, chess, Friday afternoons at the park—all of it. And then I’m going to decide what’s going to stay and what needs to change.

Perhaps all of our families need a bit of adjustment every January, as we’re half-way into our year and we return after a break. In light of how brief our days are with our children, how great our responsibility to show them the power and beauty of God and His Word before they leave our nests, what should our days really be full of? Am I organizing my day with Jesus or my school planner as the center? What does the emphasis I put on checking off assignments say to my children about my true priorities?

I want us all to live in a home, not a homeschool. I think that means some changes may be in order.

Has your homeschool become too heavy on the school?

Misty Krasawski is the overly-blessed mom of eight children whom she homeschools in sunshine-y Florida. She has been clinging ferociously to the hand of her Lord since she was knee-high to a grasshopper, homeschooling for the past thirteen years, and has eighteen more years ahead of her with the children who are glad she will have done most of her experimenting on those who went before. Her wonderful husband Rob has much treasure laid up for him in heaven for having been called to such a daunting task. After the house goes to sleep she can sometimes be found gathering her thoughts at www.encouragingheartsathome.com.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

0 thoughts on “Is Your Homeschool too Heavy on the School?

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this… I am very encouraged by your wisdom! They say that knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, and wisdom is knowing not to put it into a fruit salad! I love your comment about kids growing up primarily in a home, not a homeschool, from homeschooling mom of 4.

  2. So how I was feeling when we got up this morning. I was so dreading the school. But I already lightened our load on the schedule and its seems so much better.

  3. Yes! I have been feeling this way since November but as a relatively “new” homeschool mom I felt like I had to stick to the schedule and workbooks. So we just continued to grind along. It wasn’t until the end of December (after I finished reading “Educating the Whole Hearted Child”) that I realized it didn’t have to be that way! I loved this post. It expresses what has been on my heart perfectly!

  4. I went through this last week! Last Thursday I could barely teach school, and I spent a lot of time laying in bed being bored. It was a rough day ;) I forced myself to snap out of it on Friday (I wrote about it here http://www.twocowgirls.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-this-mom-pulls-herself-out-of-slump.html)
    I feel so refreshed now! I’m planning on starting up a nature study at least once per week, and getting out of the house with friends at least two times per week for the rest of the year. We were all starting to feel a little cooped-up.
    Thanks for helping me feel like I’m not the only one!

  5. I keep our school days very short ten minutes to two and half hours depending on age and the day’s assignments. My kids work independently or help each other, so I get to spend my day with the younger kids and just checking up on the older kids. When they finish, they are free to “unschool” — read, paint, program, and play. I cover it all, just simply. You can see exactly what we do each day at Easy Peasy, All in One Homeschool.

  6. Thanks for this post, you must have been reading my mind. We have been struggling to get back in the groove of things since Christmas break because the work load was too heavy. I have decided to just get down to basics for right now. I have to take some time to examine our goals a little closer.

  7. I am right here with you and I am going to take your advice and do like you. I know that what we are doing right now is not exactly how I want to be doing it. (it being homeschool) I have spent way too much time fussing at my kids and I am tired of it. I want us all to enjoy our day and learn something together. :) Thank you, so glad I am not alone!

  8. I sometimes think my wife tends to overdo the school part of homeschooling. I tend to lean more toward the unschooling side of things, she is on the opposite end of the table.

    I’m not in much of a position to complain though. She sets the schedule, and does most of the teaching. Who am I to mess with success?