October 6, 2012

Overcoming the Fall Slump

It's October, and many new homeschoolers are wondering if it's worth it. If you are feeling like this is too hard, you are in over your head, and maybe sending them to school isn't such a bad idea, let me encourage you.

I homeschooled through sixteen Octobers. The excitement of starting off in late August, the new books, fresh ideas and enthusiasm usually wore off by October. Reality sets in. Can we keep this up? I always readjusted and rethought my priorites and then things would get better again.

Simple advice: Be willing to change.

Stop doing that curriculum. Stop having those expectations. What do your kids need now? Maybe a break is all you need. Think about year-round schooling. Some schools go for six weeks, then take two weeks off. I like that idea. You can adapt it to your homeschool without feeling guilty.

Hang in there, mom!

My next piece of simple advice: Don't give up.

As I look back on those years with my kids, I knew I was sacrificing. I knew I was saying no to myself and things I wanted to do, but I kept my eyes on the prize, the prize of three emotionally healthy, stable, intelligent adults. I knew that if I gave them a loving, nurturing environment in which they could develop their natural curiosity, they would not only be learning facts, they would be learning how to learn, how to find information and experts to answer their questions, all driven by their natural interests. I see the results now.  Peter has a job, an apartment, and is teaching himself computer programming. Meg is braving a third-world country, and Missa is working and going to college in the big city.

Now that I am in this phase of life, I am SO glad I gave those early years to my kids. That was their window of time. That was my chance to lay a strong foundation for them. And really, it wasn't all that self-sacrificing because now I am cashing in on the benefits. We all have great relationships with each other, they know how to solve their own problems, and they are on career paths that excite them. What more could a mom want?


kim said...

Jenna, thanks so much for this post and for your blog. It is so encouraging to hear from a mom who has made it to the " light at the end of the tunnel"! We have had a few tough years homeschooling our 8,6, and now almost 4 year old. After trying what seems like an infinite number of curricula I'm at the point of either sending them to public school or Unschooling, which has frightened me. Your blog truly gives me hope. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Jena said...

Hi Kim,

I'm so glad my posts encourage you! I know how hard homeschooling can be. Unschooling is more facilitating learning and less directing it. Look to your kids for the ideas and they will be motivated, and your life will be less stressful. :)

Traci said...

This is the first year I have actually questioned my continuing homeschooling. I know I won't quit but this year has been HARD! Thanks for the encouragement!

Rana said...

Jena, I am so glad you are still writing here. I look to you and a couple of other homeschool mama's as my mentors. Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement. It has helped me in so many ways.

Unknown said...

This is a very encouraging post. I can identify with you to some degree, I was a public and private school teacher who has been homeschooling her daughter for the last 7 years. Unschooling has been our style the last few years. I sometimes second think it and try something more traditional (my background taking over), but we always end up unschooling once again. You'd think I take the hint. Tee Hee

Thanks for sharing.

Jackie, who is semi unschooling her daughter all the way to college.
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Tami said...

Jenna - I am so happy to have found your blog! I feel as though I have found a mentor mom! :D
(mom to three homeschooling kiddos ages 6,9 & 11)

Ross Mountney said...

Such an uplifting post! I'm in the same boat having come to the end of our home schooling years with two lovely young people with whom we have such a special relationships. I just thought I'd put here - for anyone here who needs it - that I've written our story to support and inspire others and to hopefully raise awareness that this alternative to schooling really does work. You'll find it here; http://www.amazon.com/Funny-Kind-Education-Ross-Mountney/dp/1479379379/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351616482&sr=8-1&keywords=A+funny+Kind+of+Education if you need it and details here; http://rossmountney.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/have-you-ever-wanted-to-know-what-it-was-really-like-to-home-educate/ Hang in there you home schoolers. It's definitely worth it. x

Lynn B said...

What a wonderfully encouraging post! It's so important to keep the big picture in mind, and yet so scary when you can't see what that looks like from the trenches. What resonates with me here is the importance of that limited time with our kids. Seeing how quickly they change... I cherish even the hard days more. Thanks as always, Jenna :)

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