Spring Homeschool Tune-Up
A Checklist for Diligence
Spring is slow in coming, but with it finally on the horizon I am having a hard time not totally giving into the spring cleaning itch. If I did, school would not get done and half our belongings would be at the second-hand store. Of course, with spring comes a new round of reevaluating our school and household routines. What worked? What didn’t? Why? What should we do different? And when should we implement any needed changes? I am sure I’m not the only momma that goes through this process.
This year, as our curriculum seems to be in a good place, I have put renewed energy into our household routine. Actually, what I am trying to do is get my kids fully engaged in it, with their own set of age-appropriate daily responsibilities, which require only my supervisory involvement. As I once again tried to find another method to fit my home and expectations, it dawned on me that I had developed an interesting habit. Every time I looked at “new” material, I was drawn over and over to very similar options: they used a similar approach, followed similar implementation strategies or, in some cases, were exactly the same material, just packaged differently.
I felt suddenly let down by the whole effort; I was spinning my wheels with no change in outcome. And it wasn’t for a lack of the “right” fit or the failure of the particular material, it was me. I was spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to find the perfect material, but the real issue was that I was failing to follow through with diligence and consistency what I had already found.
After my initial self-incriminating scolding, I dusted myself off and started to take a more careful look at the things I had already tried. Come to find out, there were a few approaches that I hadn’t given an honest shake. And a few of those, once I approached them with the necessary diligence, have been a better fit than I imagined possible.
In an effort to not repeat my mistake, I have come up with a sort of self-check list that I hope you will find helpful as you continue to fine-tune your home school and household routines.
D – Do the work. Did I really do it? Was I using the material enthusiastically and consistently or was I approaching it lackadaisically or using it only inconsistently?
I – Is it a good fit? Did it fit our lifestyle and our goals? After the initial hiccups and bumps, did it begin to flow into our daily life? Did it actually fully meet the goals I was working towards?
L – Long enough. Did I give it enough time, during both mundane and chaotic weeks, for the material to be tested and actually learned? Was it overwhelming on a good day or was it manageable, even when it didn’t go quite as planned?
I – Is it me or is it the material? Am I failing to implement per the intent of the material or did I start tweaking it out of the gate? Are my expectations of the material unreasonable? Maybe my expectations aren’t really clear.
G – Go to God in prayer. Sometimes the answer is not always so obvious. Sometimes we just need some time praying through our days, our materials, our routines.
E – Evaluate the options. After a consistent and long enough try, does the existing material genuinely just need a little tweak or does the whole kit-n-caboodle need kicked to the curb? Which, tweaking or new, seems to offer the best potential outcome with the least amount of work or frustration?
N – New. Search out your new options, but be sure they are actually new. Be sure that your new material is different enough that it stands a fighting chance of serving its purpose . . . to truly revamp your old approach.
C – Cut it out. If it doesn’t work, get rid of it; all of it, every last piece. If it truly does not meet your needs or your goals, it will be a continual source of frustration if you do not extricate it from your school day or your life.
E – Endure. Sometimes it just takes more time for new habits to take hold, lessons to be learned, and routines to be developed than we sometimes think they will.
It is amazing how much less stressed I feel going into our spring knowing I won’t be feeling the dizzying effects of another round of circles. Like so many other things in life, sometimes our routines and materials just need a little more time, a little more consistency, a little more diligence.
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? Luke 15:8
Audra Talley was born and raised in Idaho, was homeschooled K-12, and graduated from CofI with a degree in political science and history. She is currently a full time domestic engineer and homeschooling momma. Married to the man of her dreams for nearly 12 years, Audra and her husband have four children (16, 8, 6, almost 4 years of age). The youngest is the only girl in the bunch. The Talley family loves spending time together and does lots of fishing, camping, hiking (anything outdoors). Calling Nampa home, Audra is involved in her church, various homeschool activities, and whatever adventures pop up.