Beat the Slump: High School Edition
Holidays, summer breaks, family vacations, and illnesses, can leave you drained, and in a homeschool slump that seems impossible to get over. I’ve been there, and the feeling of complete defeat seems magnified when you’re homeschooling high school. After years of falling into the what seemed never-ending cycle of recovering after a break, I’ve finally figured out what works for our family.
Here are 3 tips to beat the homeschool slump, high school edition.
Tip Number 1: Consider Year-Round Schooling
Are you a year-round homeschooler?
We made the switch 3 years ago, after failing miserably to get back on track after summer break.
The traditional September-June school year is not at all ideal in my opinion.
You and your teens are expected to jump back into the homeschool routine, after 3 months of summer play, late nights, and sleeping in. Your fall routine is then interrupted by the Thanksgiving holiday. And just as everyone is getting into the back to school routine; Christmas and the New Year are here. Causing every bit of productivity to come to a screeching halt.
I have an incredibly hard time getting my teens up at a reasonable hour after weeks and weeks of sleeping in. It seems that once they hit puberty, all they do is sleep and eat.
What’s worse, is that I too find myself groggy and way too distracted after the myriad of holiday gatherings and piles of carbs consumed at said gatherings. It’s like jet-lag. Which results in taking additional days off to gather my thoughts, get a plan in place, and to prepare myself to a very busy season (school, theater, basketball, choir, etc.).
Year-round schooling helps us beat the homeschool slump, by allowing us to take multiple one-week breaks each semester, as well as a short break in the summer. We follow the six-weeks-on, one-week-off pattern like many other homeschool families do.
The shorter summer break means our routine is not completely shifted, and jumping back in, is a little easier. Also, having a week off every six weeks gives me time to plan assignments, schedule field-trips and projects for the next six weeks. It gives me a chance to look at where we are, where we are headed and make adjustments as needed. It also gives my teens time for special activities, work ahead or to spend some extra time with their friends. We all need a mental break from time to time!
Tip Number 2: Consider the Wise Words of Charlotte Mason
Even as new homeschoolers, we’ve all heard the advice to ease into it slowly. Start small, with just a few subjects and, introduce the rest one at a time.
Though this is solid advice for some, it is not very practical for others. If you’re homeschooling a high schooler, for example, introducing one subject at a time will not get you or them very far. And come to think of it, it may not be so great for younger children either.
One of Charlotte Mason’s 20 principles, says that education is a discipline. What this means, is that we are to teach our children the importance of good habits, whether they be habits of mind or body. Therefore, if we want our teens to one day succeed without our help tomorrow, we must teach them the importance of discipline and habit training today.
This principle has been one of the hardest to grasp as a Charlotte Mason homeschooler. Part of me wants to take it easy, and go into it slowly. Doing just a few things a day would be great for me, and my girls, but not so great for the growth of their character.
If we do in fact teach our teens (and ourselves) the importance of good habits, working diligently, and taking responsibility for our actions, we can beat the homeschool slumps of years to come.
Tip Number 3: Consider Ditching the Curriculum Trap
We search the web for reviews on the top language arts curriculum. The most engaging history books. The most successful math program. The best science experiments with common household goods. And after we have gathered our treasures, we devise checklists, plans, and outlines of how and when we will implement them.
However, if you’ve been homeschooling for longer than 2 hours you know that using everything you gathered is never-going-to-happen. Seriously I know this to be a fact. I am a curriculum hoarder. I can confirm we’ve never, ever completed every lesson in any book.
The curriculum trap is very often one of the main culprits of the homeschool slump. Just thinking of how many lessons are left, and how far behind you are, is enough to keep you in bed for a couple of extra days. Particularly, if you have more than one kid in high school or any grade for that matter. Now you’re really behind.
Ditching the must-do-all-the-things ideology, accepting that falling behind is not the worst thing in the world, and that flexibility is one of the greatest things about homeschooling is more than enough to help you beat the homeschool slump you’re in.
The six-weeks-on and one-week-off approach is not for everyone. Take a look at your family calendar. Are there any breaks on any specific dates you want to take? Start there and plan your school year around that. The beauty of homeschooling is that it is completely flexible and customizable. Don’t stress over what anyone else is doing. Do not let the curriculum and lesson plans dictate your day, they are there to be used as guides.
Like I tell my girls; take a deep breath, shake it off, and take charge. You’re in charge.
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