By Jennifer Cullimore, The Therapy Mama
I don’t know about you, but I love fresh starts. I have always loved the beginning of school, whether it was traditional or homeschooling.
There’s something about the smell of fresh paper and a new box of crayons that just puts me in the mood for learning. However, as a homeschooling mom, sometimes I’m just not ready mentally to tackle everything at once.
Let’s face it, when you are the parent, teacher, support staff, and principal all rolled into one, the task may seem daunting. What can you do if you are just not quite ready to begin the new year?
1) Sit down and take a few minutes to set some goals for the new year.
Some years I’ve found myself without money to get new shiny curriculum or many supplies. But one thing that doesn’t cost anything is new goals. What do you hope to accomplish this year? What is God speaking to you about your child? What can you pray and model this year? These can include goals for you or your child. It’s refreshing to get an idea of where we are going. Check out also what Dawn Spence shared in her article Unlimited Homeschool Expectations for further help in this area.
2) Remind yourself of your resources.
Sometimes it can be particularly overwhelming to homeschool a child with special needs. We can get too focused on deficits that we don’t see the good. Before you get into the thick of things, make out a list of friends, agencies, programs, and any other resources that you may need to contact to ask for help. Don’t forget to add God to the list. He has your back and has equipped you with what you need for your child. He will guide and direct you.
3) Fill up your cup!
It can be exhausting and draining to manage everything. If you are already feeling drained, take some time to refresh yourself. Sometimes you can’t get away, but try to take a few moments for yourself. Call a friend and chat, read something encouraging, or listen to a homeschool podcast that will fill you up. I usually have some prep work to do for school like copying, laminating, and cutting. I put on podcasts or homeschooling YouTube vlogs while I’m working. It’s amazing how rejuvenating it is just to hear another parent share. Do you need some more encouragement in this area? Check out my article You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup.
4) Have a “soft start.”
You don’t have to begin everything at once. You don’t have to be prepared for the whole year to begin something. Sometimes it just works better to start one or two new things at a time. Add in another every couple days and you will soon be up to a full schedule. Not only is this less stressful for you, but can also be better for children who struggle with transitions or trying new things.
5) Give yourself grace!
If you are not ready, the beauty of homeschooling is that you can schedule it for a time when you are. If life events have occurred, change things around. You are not bound by someone else’s schedule. Rejoice in the freedom that you can do what works for your family.
Most importantly, have a great year! Remember this: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV))
May this year be packed full of learning, growth, joy and progress.