Has it been a long, hard homeschool year for your family (filled with many unexpected ups and downs)?
Oh, I've had my share of those difficult homeschool years. Definitely.
While every homeschool year has its challenges, there are some school years that are just ridiculously hard! And oh, how these hard homeschool days can wear on a mother's soul.
However, here's the good news: Even after the crazy year you've had, there are so many wonderful things to celebrate.
Yes, I promise it's true! Let's look at what you can celebrate about every homeschool year (even the difficult ones).
3 Ways to Celebrate After a Hard Homeschool Year
Many, many great things happened, often because of the challenges! And although it was a hard year, I want to help you reframe all the chaos and discover the beautiful hidden treasures found in those challenges.
Here are 3 amazing ways that you can celebrate at the end of school, even after the hardest homeschool year!
1) Celebrate all the growth (in you and in your kids).
Even if it’s been an especially hard year, I promise you that there was growth. There was progress made, and your children's lives changed.
What book learning did happen? Write down a list if it helps. Maybe you didn't study everything you wanted to (or you didn't cover a topic as in depth as you would have liked) and that's clouding your overall assessment of the year. Don't let that happen!
It's so easy for us to give a “pass” or “fail” stamp for each subject. We begin to play Monday morning quarterback and say, “If we’d only… “ or “I should of…” or (insert your form of self-torture here).
Instead, acknowledge that the hard stuff happened (because it did). Recognize that our homeschool exists within the challenges of real family life (sickness, money issues, marital strife, housing issues, etc) and that sometimes we have to adjust.
In Plan to Be Flexible: Designing a Homeschool Rhythm and Curriculum Plan That Works for Your Family, I wrote about the hard lessons I had to learn about setting learning goals (and then letting them go).
These lessons were the “gift” I received from all the tear-filled hours, days and weeks of my first homeschool years as I taught my oldest child (who has ADHD and Autism).
He's fifteen now, and those early homeschool years (which I share in Plan to Be Flexible) taught me that learning has to be on his pace, and that an entire year can't be mapped out in stone in September (especially because of his ever-changing, sometimes-intense learning challenges).
2) Celebrate the Joy of Flexibility
As humans, we want a roadmap. We want God to hand us a written plan of what will happen from the first day of school to the last.
Honestly, I think that's why homeschool planners (and the all-too powerful “homeschool schedule”) are incredibly attractive to homeschoolers, especially in those first few years.
While I do think that we need plans and goals for a homeschool year (and even goals for an individual day), the concept of a fluid learning “rhythm” (instead of a rigid schedule) is a much more powerful (and sane) approach (learn more about this in Plan to Be Flexible).
What if we viewed all those great plans as just what got us to the starting gate (instead of being the ultimate goal)?
What if we allowed the real learning adventure to unfold a little at a time, making room for real life, such as kids who may take longer to learn a subject, or unexpected rabbit trail learning detours?
If we can do these things, it's much easier to drop that pass/fail concept of a “successful” homeschool year with a “perfect” finish line, and instead we can step back and recognize the real victories.
In Plan to Be Flexible, I share the story of one homeschool season where we had to drop our homeschool studies for a few weeks so that we could help my mom recover from an unexpected surgery.
By keeping my eyes on “rhythm” instead of schedules, I was able to embrace this time as an unexpected learning opportunity for my kids–namely one in serving others (and in the importance of flexibility itself!).
You can read more about that (and other important lessons in homeschooling flexibility that God taught me) in the book.
This 5-star-Amazon-rated book will encourage you (and give you practical, step-by-step tips) on how to develop a rhythm-based learning style for your family too!
I really believe that having a flexible, “rhythm” based mindset is one of the keys to discovering the hidden joys of a hard homeschool year.
If you do too, then this book is a great fit for you!
3) Celebrate all that you didn't plan to learn (but did)
Sometimes that huge unexpected trial is the exact lesson your kids (and you) need to learn about.
I see that happen every single year that I homeschool! Truly!
And one of the beauties of learning life lessons as a homeschooler is that homeschooling allows us the opportunity to experience those lessons together–through family relationship.
God is continually reminding me that the goal of my homeschooling is deep, close relationship with my kids (and with Him). I can't allow any curriculum or learning plans to trump this!
In fact, homeschooling isn't a race for the input/output of facts in our kids, but instead a journey toward a slow, steady building of knowledge rooted in relationship.
Plan to Be Flexible is full of rich stories about how we can refocus our homeschool efforts toward relationship instead of rote learning.
When we can keep close communication with our kids, every life moment becomes a learning opportunity.
When we have this focus, it becomes so much easier to discover the beautiful treasures hidden among the rubble of a hard homeschool year!
Yes, You Did Have a Successful Homeschool Year!
So my final encouragement to you is to spend this summer learning about flexibility and relationship. Let go of the “should haves” and look for what your family learned from all those difficult moments.
This is a healthy way to live the learning life, and to celebrate any school year!
P.S. It is possible to look back on any school year and see it as joy-filled.
It starts with implementing some new mindsets. Plan to Be Flexible is be a wonderful tool to introduce you to these ideas, and to encourage you toward this wonderful learning life you've always wanted for your family.
Have a wonderful summer and be encouraged that next year will also be filled with wonderfully unexpected learning adventures!