Homeschoolers tend to view the "new year" as beginning in September, as we embark on the next grade level, bring on new curriculum, and thrust a unique project or two into the mix. January is often our mid-point, and as we take a breather from the prior semester, sometimes we look back at the previous fall and early winter months and reassess.
But you know what? Sometimes, we find ourselves too married to the materials or path we chose. Sometimes we are reticent to take time for reflection to discern whether or not we are heading where we wanted to, and then we will kick ourselves later on when the end of the year arrives and we didn't attain all we had hoped for.
And that is because we continue to think that old ways will open new doors. We think that if we just do more of what we did, if we work harder, if we measure it more, magically we will end up with the result we desire.
Nope. It doesn't work that way.
In order to open new doors of learning, we need to do it differently. We need to switch it up! We need to infuse our teaching with something unusual, exciting, and out of the ordinary, because ordinary gets us...well...an ordinary education. We have the gift of choice, we need to take advantage of it!
So, right now, this very moment, let me urge you to take just ten minutes to do a little reflecting. Grab a piece of paper...go on now, go get it! Humor me! :-) Then, create three columns, one titled "Things We Do Well", one titled "Things We Can Improve On", and one titled "Teaching Skills to Improve". Start writing. What works for you and your family? Where do you excel? No false modesty here, we all rock at something, so write it down!
Look at that column, applaud yourself, it is well earned!
Now the second column. Is there a subject where your curriculum is just "so so"? Maybe it gets the job done, but it isn't really doing much for anyone and there is an attempt at hiding eye rolling when it is time to work on it. Maybe you sense there might be a better way. Or perhaps it isn't even half bad, but you know it could be more engaging and you aren't quite sure what to do.
In the third column, I want you to look at one other thing beyond the curricula. I want you to do an honest assessment of yourself and your teaching skills. What might you improve on? Does grading writing stump you? Do you wish you knew how to lead better discussions with your kids? Do you struggle with helping them make connections? Is your own vocabulary in need of a tune up? There is no shame in admitting there are areas for improvement, after all, I am betting there are is an overwhelming majority of homeschooling moms who never planned to become in home teachers and never took courses explaining how best to educate someone!
As 2018 dawns, don't make a bunch of major resolutions, just take one thing on that list from either the second or third column, and vow to make one change. No, don't attempt to change every item you have there, changing just one thing will be enough to celebrate, and will take enough work to achieve. If you don't have a clue how to change it, ask someone! Post to our Facebook group that you need help thinking about you Change for 2018. There is a 'brain trust' there that is like no other. Or ask your husband, or other homeschool moms you know face to face. Heck, ask a teacher how to better approach teaching a certain subject or improving a skill!
Most important though, is understanding that if you want to open new doors, you gotta throw out the old ways of doing things and embrace new ones.
Happy 2018! May the year blossom for you in wonderful ways!