Thursday, April 16, 2015

Homeschool Planning Block

Back a few months ago, I mentioned my desire to homeschool. I have always been fascinated by it and when I mentioned my plans everyone encouraged me to start planning immediately. It is planning season for next year and all over, people are posting their plans, schedules, subjects, and curriculum. The excitement is in the air. I, on the other hand, am having a very hard time doing the actual planning. It's like writer's block except it is homeschool block.

I have a strong understanding about what my goals for next year are: I want to establish an entirely new way of living. That's all. Not ambitious at all.

I want us to ease into a new rhythm where I am the one running the household instead of showing up after the day is over. I am going to have to learn how to manage chores and children and learn how to cook more efficiently and oversee the education of three children, two of whom have spent years in a public school.

I do not have overriding academic ambitions for the year. The girls have always excelled in school and I do not worry about them falling behind. I want them to keep working, of course, but the focus of our first year is going to be learning how to be together as a family and finding routines that work for us instead of everyone running in her own separate direction.

That is my big picture, but when it comes down to actually taking out the calendar and planning individual subjects and choosing curriculum or books or anything, I cannot make myself focus. There is a sense of unrealness in the activity. I cannot make myself believe it will really happen.

I know, in an objective sense, that it is extremely likely I will be able to quit my job in the next few months before the next school year begins, however it hasn't happened yet. I feel reticent to make solid plans because if, for unforeseen reasons, I had to continue working next year and put them in school again, it would be devastating. If I hadn't planned it out yet, it wouldn't be so bad, right? It seems like it would be easier to lose vague, hazy ideas than to have concrete plans ripped away. I feel like I am not allowed to count on anything until I know for sure. I am protecting myself from disappointment.

But, again, it is very likely these plans *will* work so I need to get it together. I need to push through those fearful feelings and do it anyway, but I don't know where to start.

I am going to a local homeschooling conference on Saturday (Hi, Meredith!) where I have been told to bring my checkbook and a bag for books. I have never been to such a conference and I have no idea what I might purchase. I have that beginning homeschooler's terror at the sheer number of options. What if we spend the money and then we hate it and can't afford anything else?

But more than the feeling of being overwhelmed is the feeling that if I begin to believe, it won't happen after all.

So what should I look for at a homeschooling conference?


Anonymous said...

You will have a lot of fun! Even though we don't homeschool formally, I enjoyed the other conference I attended. Many of the books would be of interest to any Catholic family, and the talks look equally interesting! Maybe you can just soak in the atmosphere without the worry of planning ahead.


Melanie Bettinelli said...

I wouldn't purchase specific curriculum at a conference. Just look at that. But good books that the kids could read and enjoy whether you were homeschooling or not. That's worth investing in.

Katherine said...

I second Melanie’s comment.

Conferences are fun and helpful to look at the books available, but I think the only books I’ve bought at them were picture or chapter books that the kids could read regardless of what curriculum we used. I found a new hardcover copy of The Kitchen Madonna and Bob the Unicorn at the last one I went to but I think those were all I brought home with me.

Jenny said...

What if you were to consider, say, signing up with Kolbe, which allows parents to choose which texts to use and then, like, spend the first homeschooling year continuing on with whatever textbook series your kids have been using at school--like, if they're in Saxon 2 (for math) this year, just go ahead and do Saxon 3 next year at home? And that will give you not only a summer, but a whole 'nother school year to research and consider different curricula.