Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Lessons About Finding the Balances

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Lessons About Finding the Balances (5 Days of Lessons for Homeschool Moms) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - part of the 2018 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop hosted by the Homeschool Review Crew @ homeschoolreviewcrew.com

Welcome to the 2018 Edition of the 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop! This is a favorite event for longtime Homeschool Review Crew members, and it's always exciting to have new Crew members join in the fun as well. We've all been looking forward to sharing ideas, encouragement and advice related to homeschooling, and we hope you enjoy visiting all the participating bloggers. For this round of the Blog Hop, I chose to talk about some of the many lessons that I have learned as I've played the role of homeschool teacher over the years.

Finding the Balances

Homeschooling is hard work and we should have high standards and expectations. But at the same time, it should be a joyful experience for all of us and we should be realistic and relaxed. How do we strike the right balances?

Plan to be spontaneous. That sounds ridiculous, I know! It's become somewhat of a joke around here that at this stage of our lives and homeschool journey, we'd like to be spontaneous but we need to plan that ahead of time. But really, we've got to have some kind of a plan! I've learned that it's wise to plan the school calendar ahead of time, to map out the coursework that needs to be covered (this is especially true for the high school years!), and to have a standard expectation of the schoolwork that should get done each day or each week. Many parts of the plan can be in pencil! But with a plan in place, there is at least a framework for being spontaneous. If we've more or less stuck to our general plan of doing a certain number of chapters a week, then we don't have to panic that we'll get behind when we have family visit for a week and school goes on the back burner. If we have a four-year plan going into high school, then we're unlikely to arrive at the beginning of the senior year needing way more credits than can be squeezed into one school year. 

I do find that there's a fine balance between preparation and seeing what happens naturally. ~Timothee Chalamet

Jump through hoops, creatively if necessary. This is an important balancing act for each homeschooler to find. Know what your state and your oversight group requires of homeschoolers, and decide how to fulfill the requirements in a way that works for you and your student. Our state does not require standardized testing, but some do. If we lived where that was a requirement, I would have made it happen. Some of my friends have chosen to do standardized tests even though it's not required by law - that's the balance that worked for them. Sometimes the law prescribes that certain subjects must be taught, such as state history. If it's required, make sure you do it, but whether you use a standard textbook or make up your own unit study that includes a lot of field trips is up to you. There are specific required credits to graduate, so we are jumping through each of those hoops, but we sometimes find creative ways to accomplish that. Not everything needs to be learned by reading the textbook, and I'm okay with that!

Enjoy the journey! I believe that people and relationships are always more important than achievements and stuff. I've learned that I need to remind myself of that sometimes. Like when the assignment lists still have way too many unchecked boxes, and I'm way behind on grading (and did I mention that the house is a disaster and there's nothing planned for dinner?) . . . but my teenager is stressed and exhausted and just needs to chill. Maybe that's a good opportunity to put the to-do list on hold and take time for a chat over ice cream followed by a restorative nap. That's better for the relationship, and ultimately it's probably better to tackle that to-do list after a break. Also, I much prefer to have fun while learning, so we balance serious with silly, textbooks with stories and song, and structure with spur of the moment.

Lessons About Finding the Balances (5 Days of Lessons for Homeschool Moms) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - part of the 2018 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop hosted by the Homeschool Review Crew @ homeschoolreviewcrew.com

Aim high and give grace. I believe we need high academic standards for our homeschool students. Now I don't know about your students, but my students don't excel at every subject. So while I do expect them to work hard and give their best effort, I know that they will not get 100% on every test, and that's okay. I teach a high school writing class in our co-op, and some of the students have an easier time expressing themselves eloquently and without grammatical errors than others. Accordingly, those students that write at an intermediate or advanced level are asked to do essays with a higher word count; and the standard for an A+ paper from one of those students is slightly different from the standard for an A+ paper from one of the students who hasn't had much experience with writing and is still struggling a bit with correct grammar. 

The same balance of high standards and grace applies to our interactions as well. We want our kids to be exemplary in character, but they are kids and they will make mistakes. And they will even be downright rebellious at times. That doesn't mean we've failed. It just means they are human, and we continue love them and forgive them. Our friends and family may not be supportive of our decision to homeschool. That doesn't mean we get to argue with them or be disrespectful. Find a balance between answering the legitimate questions and ignoring the criticism. Even our homeschooling friends may do things very differently from the way we do. Things we wish we could do, and things we think are just plain weird. *gasp* There's a balance for us there too - learn from and be inspired by other ways of doing things, without feeling like we have to copy exactly; and be understanding and not judgmental of another family's choices.
A lot of music is mathematics. It's balance. ~Mel Brooks 

Lessons About Finding the Balances (5 Days of Lessons for Homeschool Moms) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - part of the 2018 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop hosted by the Homeschool Review Crew @ homeschoolreviewcrew.com

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew Blog to find all the 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop posts.

Lessons About Finding the Balances (5 Days of Lessons for Homeschool Moms) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - part of the 2018 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop hosted by the Homeschool Review Crew @ homeschoolreviewcrew.com

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1 comments:

Annette V said...

I love your "Plan for Spontaneity" :) it's definitely something we need to do eh? :)

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