KISS the Homeschool Slump Goodbye
A Guest post by Andrea at No Mommy Left Behind
Throughout the month we have uncovered several ways to conquer the Homeschool Slump. Today let’s focus on an oldie but goodie. Let’s KISS the homeschool slump goodbye! No, I’m not talking about a literal kiss but the acronym KISS. I did some research (okay, I did Wikipedia but that counts right?) and I found out that KISS is an acronym for “Keep It Simple, Stupid” (but since the word stupid is not allowed at my house we’ll use silly). It refers to a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore “simplicity should be a key goal and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.”
So what does this have to do with conquering the slump?
Well first things first. Do you have a system? If you do, evaluate your homeschool system to see if it is complicated or simple. If you don’t, I’d like to propose a system that I have come to love called The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. I like this system because it is simple, it takes tried and true methods that you might already know but breathes new life into it. I also like it because it’s easily adaptable to all areas of my life and it’s only 12 weeks. I can do anything for 12 weeks!
So how does the system work?
The eight elements to this system. They include the following:
- Process Control
- Time Use
- Greatness in the Moment
However, if you’re trying to conquer the homeschool slump and Keep it Simple, Silly there are five elements that I would focus in on. Let’s take a look at these five elements below and how they can help you conquer the homeschool slump.
During the slump it’s easy to sit and wallow. It is during this time that reviewing the vision for your homeschool can help you breathe life and energy back to your weary bones. As Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” If you don’t have a vision, this is the time to write one.
When I am tempted to let the entire week go by and skip school I remember my vision “To create 21st century Christian leaders with a spirit of Excellence who will stand for God though the heavens fall”. How can I create Christian leaders who will stand if I am wavering in instruction? What a swift kick to get me back into action and pray for help.
Now that you have established your vision, you need to have a plan because “A vision without a plan is a pipe dream” (The 12 Week Year, p. 25) I repeat, you need to have a plan. This is where the 12 weeks come in. Why 12 weeks instead of a school year or semester? Well, the longer the time frame, the more time you take to procrastinate. If you’re in the slump, procrastination is the last thing you need.
By using the 12 week year, every week becomes a month. Every day becomes like a week and we don’t have time to waste. There is no time for a slump!
The plan is simple.
- First, choose 3 simple goals for your homeschool that align to your vision and stick to just 3. The first time I did this I didn’t stick to 3 and I was a little overwhelmed. (Remember KISS – Keep it Simple, Silly). Three goals are also good because there are 3 months in the 12 Week Year so you could focus on one goal a month if need be.
- Second, establish the tactics that will help you achieve your goals. “Tactics are daily to-do’s that drive the attainment of your goals. Tactics must be specific, actionable, and include dates and assigned responsibilities.”
Here is a sample of what my 12 Week Year Homeschool plan looked like.
So not that you have established your plan, how do you plan to make sure you keep up with it? This is where process control comes in. If you live in a state with high homeschool regulations, you might already have a process control built in. If you are fortunate to live in a state with more homeschool freedom, with more freedom comes more individual responsibility. Create a process to keep you on track and keep you from getting in the slump. How? Establish a weekly routine in which you score your week by evaluating how did you do in meeting the weekly/daily goals and plan for the week ahead. Choose the same day/time each week to make the routine stick. For me, I do this on Sunday morning while the house is still asleep.
Part of getting out of the slump is monitoring your time use. “If you are not purposeful about how you spend your time, then you leave your results to chance.” (The 12 Week Year p. 39). Pay attention to how you use your time and what you are busy using it for. Here are some tips to take back control of your day by scheduling properly.
- Block out 15 minutes first thing Monday morning (or over the weekend) to review the prior homeschool week and plan the current week.
- Schedule a block times for your homeschool where you work with your kids uninterrupted.
Greatness in the Moment
Finally, remember that there is greatness in every moment. Every moment counts. Stop burning yourself out trying to multitask. Research show that “you are more effective when you are mentally where you are physically” (The 12 Week Year p.56). You must live life in the moment and stop allowing the why’s of the past and the what if’s of the future get you bogged down. Even God commands us in Matthew 6:31, 34 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?… Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Focus on today and the greatness that is in this moment. When you do this you will see that it is your consistent effort in this moment that will lead you to the goals of the future.
Write your vision, plan, create a process control, monitor your time use and remember there is greatness in every moment. I pray that this message encourages you and helps you conquer your homeschool slump.
About the Author
Andrea Hall is a certified and highly qualified online adjunct mathematics instructor for Odysseyware Academy and Georgia Virtual School as well as the executive director of EPIC Homeschool Network, Inc. a nonprofit whose mission is to enhance, enrich and empower home education in the community (www.epichsn.com). She designs courses and teaches through her own company The Study Hall Education Consulting Company, LLC www.thestudyhalledu.com. She is a busy, working homeschool mom who has been home educating her three children for the past 6 years, and also blogs at www.nomommyleftbehind.com where her mission is to revive, renew, refresh and restore. Her husband would describe her main hobby as sleeping but when she’s awake she loves to read, hangout on Facebook and enjoy an early morning run…to the neighborhood donut shop.
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