What I Will Be Doing Differently

by Treece Marcum

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Every Spring I look out our living room window to our flower garden and I feel a sense of excitement fill every nook and cranny of my being. Why? Because new life is taking shape. The birds are singing and making nests. Our flowers are awakening to the warmth and bright days of newness. It also means that the end of our school year is almost here! I’d be lying if I said I weren’t REALLY excited about that last part.

Fast forward a few months and the groans of boredom and the sweltering heat have taken their toll on my kids, our poor flowers and my patience. I’m ready for cooler temperatures, falling leaves and you betcha, SCHOOL! It’s my favorite time of year! The thought of buying school supplies excites me just as much now as it did when I was a kid. I start perusing through curriculum catalogs searching online for resources and I begin the desperate search for that “Miracle Curriculum”. You know the one that doesn’t exist but everyone would love it if it did? Yep, that one!

I begin thinking back to last year and what worked, what didn’t, and everything in between. I need change. Not just because I am displeased with how things went before but because I can’t help but feel that I could/should be doing something differently…better. Sure, I liked the resources I found on dinosaurs but what if there is something else, something that presents the material in a way I have never seen done before?

Homeschoolers homeschool in about as many different ways and use as many different resources as there are probably stars in the sky. No two do it exactly the same. This is one of the many awesome things about homeschooling. We take what ideas, resources, and methods we think will be most helpful to our families and try them out. This freedom is one of the things that I believe is so amazingly wonderful about our choice to homeschool. If something doesn’t work, no big deal, move on to something else.

This year I am making a pretty significant change. I have been following the Charlotte Mason methodology for years. I love it. I think she was very wise and had a sixth sense, if you will, about the educational needs of children. However, I am exhausted. Trying to find different books and resources for the different subjects for every day of the week has left me overwhelmed, over-stimulated, and under appreciated. Needless to say, my kiddos think that it’s still school work regardless of how awesome I try to make it.

Thankfully, I found a curriculum that is still within the method of Charlotte Mason but it gives me a break on what to do when, how, etc. It’s called Heart of Dakota. It’s wonderful. We were so excited about using it that we started our school year early (never happened before EVER). The kids and I absolutely LOVE it! I‘ve never bought a complete curriculum before so this was all new to me. I’ve always just mixed, matched, and pieced together what I could based on what we were studying. Enter exhaustion. This curriculum takes all that stress away and I can still add things if I get ambitious. However, it’s perfect just as it is.

As my kids have gotten older mixing and matching has gotten more and more difficult. Not to mention, there are those times when the little voices in my head begin eating away at my security about how Mrs. Jones (not her real name) does things or how fabulously easy Mrs. Brown (also not her real name) makes everything appear. Those doubts and insecurities are enough to drive a good teacher crazy.

This year, I have resolved not to give in to doubts, insecurities, or any other feelings of negativity. I am going to let my kids be my guide. As long as they are enjoying learning (for the most part) and I am enjoying teaching (again, for the most part), there is no room in my life for comparisons or keeping up with the “Joneses” in homeschooling. We are all different and it is time to give ourselves permission to be different.

I’ve also decided we are going to be on a different schedule this year. Yep, I know, minds blowing everywhere. So. Many. Changes. Change is good and this year I am incorporating into every aspect of our Homeschool. Not only are we changing to a complete curriculum, staying positive in the face of my own insecurity, but I am changing our 5 day per week schedule to a 4 day per week schedule. Mondays are going to be our free day. We will be “free” to clean house (it gets pretty messy after the weekend), buy groceries, go to doctor appts., and anything else we need to do so that the rest of the week is free so we can learn and to go on field trips.

I love new beginnings. Springtime is one of my favorites. My MOST favorite is the beginning of the new school year. It’s a time for change, doing things differently, and even reminding us that OUR Homeschool is OURS. No one else has to follow our plans. We do what works for us and we give ourselves permission to change things as necessary. New beginnings are wonderful whether they start in August or anytime of year.

Enjoy this upcoming school year! Make changes and do what is best for YOUR family. May God Bless each of you!

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