During our first couple of years of homeschooling, I felt a little exhausted with the process of it all on more than one occasion. Not the teaching part…not the field trip part…not the “out and about” part, getting acclimated into our local homeschooling community.
Just the process of it all. Which, when you boil it down, is really the lesson planning and scheduling part.
That was the part that had the potential to wear me out.
It seemed like that was all. I . did.
And it was. Because I did it day by day. Or if I was lucky, week by week.
When you do anything that often, you are sure to feel like you are doing it pretty much all of the time. When you do something all of the time, the potential for fatigue involving that particular task is pretty high.
Thankfully I can tell you when it all changed for me. It was the year I started planning our entire school year at once. Before we even began the school year, I had all 36 weeks bound and ready to roll.
I cannot even tell you how much easier this has made my life, not to mention my daughter’s . At any given time, she knows exactly how far she is through her school year, and what is expected of her during the coming week. AND most importantly, I am no longer using my weekends and holiday breaks to lesson plan.
So if you are interested in trying to streamline your lesson planning process for the school year, here’s a few tips and tricks on how you can get started!
1. I would start with taking a look at my series of posts on lesson planning…I address the “why, how, what and when” of the process.
2. Don’t get me wrong…this is still a very time consuming task. Nothing will change that, no matter what time of the year you get it done. The difference in timing, though, is KEY. I dedicate evenings and weekends, and sometimes days, during the last couple of months of the school year, to lesson planning.
Sometimes it spills into the very first part of the summer. This mainly happens when I get the majority of it done and I just need to walk away for a while. Because life happens….sometimes we just get tired. And that’s okay. But what I am NOT doing is using every weekend during the summer, the school year and my holiday breaks to get it done. I get THIS time to spend with my family instead. And that’s worth a little “lesson planning boot camp” any day of the week.
3. Get organized before you get started. Make sure you’ve gone through the list of prep items listed here. And whatever you do, don’t forget to have the caffeine on hand! That one is a must!
4. Let everyone in the family know what’s going on. You are much more likely to get their “buy in” to give you the time now when they realize it will mean more time later. And if you are a year round homeschooler, then simply pick a point in the year that works best for you, and roll with that. The time of the year you begin and end school is not important here. The fact that you are not spending your entire life, 12 months a year, lesson planning IS.
5. Remember to be flexible. There will always be tweaking involved. Always. But tweaking only involves minutes, not hours. Curriculum gets replaced. Life events occur. Classes and extra-curricular activities present themselves. You don’t say “no” to these changes simply because you’ve got your schedule already done.
You use your pen, highlighter and computer, and MAKE THOSE CHANGES. If you don’t, and you remain too rigid, this method of avoiding homeschool fatigue won’t work for you. And if it doesn’t work, you won’t continue it. Period.
My prayer for you, sweet homeschool mom, is that my advice as well as any other avenues you can find, will alleviate the possibility that you will fall victim to homeschool fatigue. You deserve to be an active participant in the joy that this life brings you and your family, not just the administrator.
Ellen is a homeschool mom of one who blogs about homeschooling, faith, family and fitness at Grace Tells Another Story.