Asalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies,
We like many other homeschooling families decide to start our official school year a little later than regular schools. So now it’s coming to the middle of November, we are around 4 weeks into our school year.
I was feeling so positive at the beginning of the year; we are trying out quite a few new curricula, we had a long break and I felt refreshed and even the kids were raring to go. But at the end of our first week, I was exhausted!!! Yes, already.
The mistake I made? Terrible overplanning.
The problem when buying new curricula is that you automatically feel drawn to completing lessons in one session, following sample schedules and have this mindset that you will only feel accomplished if this book/level has been completed by the end of the school year.
In theory that sounds great. But it’s not realistic! As homeschoolers, we need to focus more on the ‘home’ rather than the ‘school’. It becomes all too exhausting trying to replicate school at home, and for us personally its a shortcut to losing joy, both for me and the children!
So, back to the drawing board for me.
I retweaked our weekly schedule another 3 TIMES! Yes, 3 times! But boy, it was worth the effort.
Here are some simple tips, if you, like me were beaten by the overplanning monster.
1) Keep ‘heavier subjects’ on less busy days. It doesn’t just mean more difficult subjects, but even those that are time-consuming. My kids love crafts and projects, so I schedule them for the end of the week, one after the other. We have no evening commitments, so the kids enjoy the task, and I don’t feel pressured to cut the lesson short. Also, consider doing more difficult subjects, on a day where you’re not doing as many lighter subjects. For us, grammar and spelling can take up more time, so these are the days we don’t do handwriting or phonics. Keep it manageable, two heavy subjects in the afternoon, not five!
2) Don’t compromise sitting down time. Be it having breakfast with your kids rather than after, read aloud to them while having snacks or the most wonderful get together time where you pray with your children, make it a compulsory part of your daily routine. It gives you all a break, a time to re-energise, and it keeps the family spirit alive, rather than it be pushed aside until the weekend.
3) Consolidate and interlink subjects! This has been such a sanity saver for me, alhamdulillah! Rather than separate subjects, intertwine them. So for example, since my kids enjoy more hands-on activities for History and Geography, and we only do these twice a week, their handwriting practice is based on concepts they have learnt in these subjects. It helps reinforce what they have learnt, and at the same time, I can tick handwriting off the list! I also don’t schedule separate art lessons! We incorporate plenty of arts and crafts into our Islamic studies, Geography and History lessons so again that’s two subjects in one.
4) Read every day! Read aloud time is the easiest, most relaxing way for me to teach my kids, and I’m pretty sure my kids would agree that it’s there favourite part of the day too. It gives us a chance to bond, talk, and learn in a relaxed manner…no tables and chairs needed! We have our main read aloud, but if I feel my kids needed a little more help in understanding something, I read them a book on that topic. Even on those school days where life happens, and maybe someone is sick, or there was something unexpected you had to take care of, read alouds can ‘make up’ for missed time.
I hope this tips can help you beat that overplanning monster, and with patience and lots of dua, we can do this mamas!