Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Looking Ahead

"Spring Break" seems to be the breaking point for many families. It is the time of year when parents consider different arrangements for their children if their current situation is not a good fit. We never went back to our school after spring break three years ago. It is the time of year I get more questions about homeschooling than the other three seasons put together.

Spring can be an ideal time to look into other schools or methods of schooling. It gives parents and caregivers the opportunity to visit and tour schools with out as much time pressure. It gives children more time to adjust to the idea of a change. It allows just enough time to gather loads of information about trying something new before it's decision time. It leaves that last quarter of the school year for experimentation.

When we began homeschooling, we decided to try the final nine weeks of the school year at home. That way, we reasoned, if it was a complete disaster we would have the summer to make different arrangements. We had no curriculum, no experience, no sense of certainty that we were doing the right thing.

But we were willing to take the chance.

Now that we are homeschooling, spring break becomes the time of year when I begin to assess our curriculum. I consider changes for the year to come, talk with the children about what needs they feel are not being met and if they would like to consider a different arrangement in any way. I pour over the curriculum catalogues and reviews, I read about the other homeschool families doing the same thing.

Each year, I plan far more than we ever actually manage to fit into our day. I always come back down to earth after the first couple of weeks and root myself firmly in reading, writing, math and excellent historical literature. I am drawn to the same curriculums and activities that are in line with our approach to and goals for homeschooling our children.

If you are struggling with a poor fit in your life, now is a great time to step back and consider making a change. There is not a single correct way to parent, to discipline, to educate, to be a family. There is, however, a right way for your specific family. If you do not feel you have found that way, please consider making a change. It might be as simple as choosing a new homeschool curriculum, writing your own lessons this year, or changing the math program for one of your children who is struggling with it. It may be as complicated as switching to a different school, moving to a new town, or beginning a homeschooling journey. Come back to the basics of who your family is, what your needs, goals and convictions are. These will help you find your way to the right fit for your family right now. It may change in six months or a year, but you can spring ahead and try something new.

What are you reevaluating this spring?

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