Happy Back-to-School Homeschool Families! (That is, unless you are the ambitious ones who kept on throughout the summer....good for you! I always have grand intentions, but I fall apart and need a good long break around the beginning of June. :) But for us all, there is a point where we shift from one grade to the next, and we like to call that time, "Back-to-School." Whenever that is for you, or if you just really need to reorganize your home school, this blog is for you!
Before I was a homeschool teacher, I was a public school teacher and though many think this is a huge asset (and it is!) it can also be detrimental to the health of the homeschool classroom. Why, you ask? The reasons lie in the core of homeschool itself. Schooling at home is not typically run by bells, the switching of classrooms, or even by the drinking fountain breaks. In contrast, schooling at home is often run by mom or dad's work schedule or by the new puppy and his need to go on numerous potty breaks, or the fact that the dishwasher broke and there is a huge flood in the kitchen. It is a bustling business of education and life happens and suddenly the teacher has to become the mom and sadly there is no janitor at home. Get my drift? Flexibility is definitely the key when homeschooling. So, back to my beginning homeschool years, I could not see past recess and bell ringing and attendance taking (haha!) so I had to actually step away from structure and do a more relaxed school schedule. It is during this time that I learned that one can be unstructured in their approach, and still have high expectations. Whatever the case, I wanted to avoid being both militant and inflexible. I call this time of my life "Teacher Detox" though I have to say that since doing so, my belief in education and learning has grown monumentally and I am so thankful to be living life as we learn here in our home. It is actually what I needed most to become the best teacher for my kids.
I am fully recovered from my "too structured" ways, so much so that I am inviting some structure back in this year! :O) With the addition of one more student (my Kindergartner), I have decided to take the steps needed to make my older daughters more efficient and independent in their studies. Mind you, this is as much for their good as it is for my survival!
This year, I have drawn up a list of expectations. Though I have never been one to expect too little from my kids, I have also never put my schooling expectations into writing. I have not wanted to do this until now, but as my daughters grow older, I am seeing the different reasons they need structure put into writing. It serves as both insurance (for the parent) and a reminder (for both parent and student). Also, I have always believed that kids thrive in structure environments.
Truly, this was an awesome assignment for me as it helped me understand what my priorities are. I asked myself big questions like: "What do I want to accomplish this year?" I asked myself reflective questions like, " What things are not going well and how can we improve upon things?" And I also asked myself specific, practical questions like, "How do I want them to look up a word they do not know"? I am going to share my list of expectation with my daughters on the first day of our school, during a celebratory breakfast of waffles and sausage. We will hash out every detail and talk about how this year will look. I will then have them write their top 3+ goals for learning this year. I want to lay out the groundwork for this year in such a way that my girls feel ready and excited to dig back into school.
I want to share my final list of expectations with you, knowing that you may have your own whole set of different expectations, or you may want to add or subtract from this list. Whatever the case, feel free to print off and use however you see fit. I feel that whatever can be shared and whatever can help others is a win for us all! Here is your free Home School Student Expectation PDF List (with place for signature!). You can also click on the picture below to access it. Please feel free to share with whomever may benefit from these Back-To-School Expectations! If you have any expectations you would add to this list, I'd love to hear them!
Happy Back to School to you and your family!