When your homeschool curriculum isn’t working anymore
Our family is about 3 to 4 months into our homeschool year and I’m starting to realize that some changes need to be made. Just as the seasons change, so do our educational needs. So what do you do when your homeschool curriculum isn’t working anymore? As we approach our 14th year of homeschooling, I want all of the newbies to know that it’s okay to start over, no matter how far into the school year you are. If everything is going easy peasy for you, then consider yourself very blessed. If however, you are like most of us, you may already be feeling burnt out.
What do you do when your homeschool curriculum isn’t working anymore?
Perhaps you’re in a season of complete overwhelm, feeling like you just can’t do this another day. This is where you need to take a step back and reevaluate your reasons for homeschooling in the first place. For me personally, God led me to it. But just because He takes you somewhere, doesn’t mean that you need to stay there.
When I’ve felt like I’m not sure if homeschooling is His plan anymore, I turn to Him. He’s the only one who can give you clarity and you can only get that through prayer and staying in His Word. If you do feel that homeschooling is still the right choice, then ask Him what needs to change. Ask for wisdom. He will show you what you need to see.
One of the great things about homeschooling is that you have the ability to trash what isn’t working and try new things.
I know that sometimes it’s hard to justify because you spent all of that money on that expensive curriculum that looked so shiny to you. But let’s get real for a minute…Is it really worth it? If you and your children are living every single day, dreading homeschool, then it’s definitely NOT worth it! Check out this popular post where I shared 10 Things I wish I would’ve done differently as a new homeschooler. I summed it all up by saying that no curriculum is worth ruining your relationship with your children. Please don’t make that mistake! You can’t get this time back!
How do you figure out what to ditch and what’s actually working?
About this time every year, I sit down with my older kids and ask them, “What’s working for you?” “What’s not working?” This doesn’t mean that everything they don’t like gets thrown out. But it allows me to evaluate their side of the story and see if there is any way I can make their homeschooling experience better. As I observe my children, I find curriculum and tools that will fit their desires in a fun way. Homeschooling may not always be fun, but I try my best to make it something they don’t resent.
How can you make homeschooling fun?
Here are a few ways to lighten the homeschooling mood!
- Incorporate board games and card games whenever you can.
- Take field trips to museums, parks, amusement parks, local factories, etc.
- Use fun products like microscopes, stickers, sensory bins, and science projects.
- Buy exciting books (or rent from the library). My boys love lift-the-flap and other interactive type books. They also love really big books for some reason.
- Practice saying yes to your children more. If you really observe them, they’ll lead the way to fun and learning!
- Schedule play dates or meet ups with friends.
- Fill a “treasure box” with inexpensive things and have them earn goodies from it each day.
**Stay tuned for a new post full of even more great ideas to make homeschooling fun! Be sure to subscribe to my email list so you don’t miss it!**
Beating the Burnout
Some years I felt so overwhelmed that I would slowly stop doing certain parts of our curriculum. What would usually end up happening is that all of the fun things would get tossed, because I thought I had to check all of the really important boxes and there just wasn’t enough time for the fun stuff. Eventually I realized that by doing this, I was damaging my relationship with my boys and they were starting to hate homeschool altogether.
I researched my brains out, trying to figure out a better way to homeschool. Eventually I stumbled onto “unschooling”. For a time period, it was very helpful. It helped me to become a more relaxed mother and I could see how much my children were learning on their own. It was quite amazing! But then, on the flip-side, I noticed that my younger boys thrived on more structure. They just love “doing school”.
So that brings me to this year. We went with some unschooling, mixed with a little structure. Now that we’re a few months in, I feel like I am craving more structure. When you and your children are needing different things, you have to find a happy middle ground. So, while they seem to be doing just fine, I feel that my days need to be a little more planned out and that’s okay!
With this revelation that I need more structure, I’ve decided that the only way I can work on blogging is if I get up before the children and get to work. That’s my plan starting tomorrow. I also realized that they need a little more to fill their day with, so I’m adding back in geography and handwriting for my 6th grader, and I’m also buying him some really cool vocabulary cards because he actually enjoys trying to figure out gigantic words. These few additions won’t add too much time for me. It will actually free me up more to work with the younger guys, because my 6th grader is pretty independent.
If my story hasn’t yet inspired you, then my best advice for you is to stop and take a breather. Get some time alone with God and ask Him to direct you. He is the only one who can refresh you and give you new, creative ideas. He never intended for you to be burnt out and overwhelmed! Teaching our children should bring us joy! If it doesn’t then it’s definitely time to seek God on the matter.
What if you need to start completely over?
Maybe you find yourself hating E V E R Y T H I N G about the curriculum you picked out for this year. If that’s you, I want you to know that most of us have done the exact same thing. Don’t beat yourself up. There are thousands of different curriculum to chose from, and what may have worked for all of your friends, just might be the worst choice for your own family. You can only find what works by trial and error. Sadly, that can be a lot of money down the drain. But again, I promise you will thank me for pushing you to move on and find something more enjoyable!
If you do decide that you need to chuck your entire curriculum, you can try to sell it. If it’s an entire box curriculum from a particular company, there’s most likely a buy/sell page or group on Facebook where you could easily sell it. If your stuff is from multiple authors, you can try selling it on Marketplace or on your local Facebook sale sites. If you don’t have anything locally like that, eBay is always another great option.
To sum things up, here are my top takeaways:
- It’s okay to start over, whether you just change a few things around, or start over completely.
- Try your best to make things fun! This will benefit your entire family.
- God doesn’t want you to feel overwhelmed.
- Seek Him in everything you do and that definitely includes your homeschooling journey.
Be blessed my friends!
I’m Amanda and a Christian homeschooling Mom to 4 awesome boys from ages 4 to 19.
I have an amazing, supportive husband, a passion for encouraging others in their faith, and helping new homeschoolers find their way through their journey.
Thank you for stopping by and getting to know me better.