Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My 5 Steps To A Successful School Year...,

1- Pray

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

Several years ago I was praying about whether or not to use a specific unit study program. I so badly wanted to purchase the whole package because it seemed PERFECT! It was Christ-centered, had strong academics, and the author had done all the work by putting it together in one big lesson plan book.

The only drawback that I could see was the price. It was around $1200.00 for one year. After several weeks of praying, I still didn't feel comfortable but there didn't seem to be a logical reason why I shouldn't at least give it a try, right? (wince) I talked myself into it and bought the whole thing!

As we began our very first week we found out we were pregnant with our third child. The pregnancy ended up being filled with complications. I ended up buying a workbook program and throwing that big unit study on my bookshelf. After the birth of our precious baby we got pregnant again right away. Because of all the changes adding two babies brought to our lives, we ended up never getting around to using the curriculum. I ended up selling it for half of what I paid. Here we sit with Time4Learning which nets us much better results with a lot less work and definitely less investment. If I had just prayed and waited on the Lord I could have saved myself and our family a whole lot of money, time and emotional angst.

I learned that I can only see "today", but God sees my tomorrow's. So for me, prayer is the very first step to every part of my home education plan.

2- Help Your Child Discover Their Passions!

"If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect." -- Benjamin Franklin

Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in the details. As a homeschool support group leader I talk with moms all the time. When asked what their homeschool goal is they often readily reply, "College"! When I ask what the child wants to major in, the parents have no idea. They have just decided that their child is going to college and there is no other option. Sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn't.

I have found that if you help your child discover what they are GREAT at, it will help steer the direction of your homeschool. I have a friend whose homeschooled daughter is completing her last year of medical school. She LOVES medicine and has always wanted to be a doctor. She knew that college was in her future, but it had a purpose, a direction.

Here are some book titles to begin your journey of discovery with your child.

Your Child's Strength's
Strength's Finder (14 through adult)
The Way They Learn
How Full Is Your Bucket
Time4Learning Resource- Your Right Brained Learner

3- Put Together A Plan!

"If you know where you're going you'll know how to get there"

Once you know what makes your child unique, how they learn, what gets them excited, it's time to put together a plan. How do you do that? You ask yourself, "Looking ahead to the end of this school year what is that I want my child to have accomplished?" OR "In ten years I want my child to have accomplished (fill in the blank)"

Once we know where we're going, then we'll know how to get there, as opposed to beginning your journey with no known destination. You can wander around aimlessly without ever accomplishing specific goals.

My oldest sons strength's lie in his incredible people skills. He struggles academically in some area's because of his learning disability. When he was young I kept trying to make him more academic and we were both miserable. When I figured out that he was going to be my son that pursued a more technical college approach I began just making sure he had his basics in place and involving him in things he was GREAT at! It changed our lives!

I let go of the unrealistic expectation that he had to take microbiology and trigonometry. Please don't misunderstand we worked hard to help him be the best HE could be in those subjects, but let go of the pressure to keep up with the Joneses. He began passionately pursuing public speaking as well as things that sounded interesting. We relaxed and enjoyed our journey instead of trying to make him fit into a one-size-fits-all mold.

4- Add A TimeLine And Checkpoints!

Once you make a list of courses, classes, activities you want your child to complete then you must put a timeline in place or it's too easy to let time slip by without accomplishing your goals.

5- Follow up!

Follow up is all about accountability. Once you have your plan and your timeline you need checkpoints to help hold you accountable. Especially once the school year starts and things get busy. Sometimes you might need to re-evaluate your goals and adjust your timeline or sometimes I simply have to pull "in" and put the pedal to the medal to get back in gear. Without a timeline or follow up all the hard work you invested in figuring out who you children are and how they learn will be wasted time.

So these are my personal tips for success in our home. I hope that this might be helpful to even one person reading this today. How about you? What tips do you have in place that help your children have a successful homeschool?

1 comment:

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