Homeschool—Help! I'm Behind!
Life Happens and Homeschool Takes the Backseat
It has happened to most homeschool families. A well planned year with a carefully chosen curriculum is negatively impacted by distracting circumstances or tragedy:
- a death in the family
- a new baby
- a major move or job change
- a long illness or hospitilaztion
After a few weeks or even months of these problems, and you can find yourself saying, "We are so behind in homeschool!"
The guilt starts to set in. Later the guilt can turn to panic when you honestly look at how far you've missed the mark of your original plans.
You start getting crazy plans:
- cramming in three math lessons a day for the next eight weeks
- taking a speedy view of the entire Middle Ages in just one week instead of the four weeks you originally wanted
- skipping all art, music, and outdoor play until you're caught up
- leaving out all hands-on projects and games in favor of the bare bones academics
You may even question the entire homeschool venture and think, "If my children were in public school, they would not be behind. I am a failure. I am a terrible homeschool mom."
Two Images to Free You from the Guilt and Panic
Here are two messages, conveyed through photos, to reassure you. Look carefully at the heading of each photo. Keep reading for more explanation of the images.
1. You Don't Have to Look Like This (the Classroom)
2. You are Not a Slave to This
Have You Ever Felt Behind in Your Homeschooling?
HOME School is Flexible -- YOU Are in Charge
Homeschool is not transplanting the classroom experience and environment into your home.
You are the teacher, mom. You can make the decisions about what, when, and how to teach your children.
So you can't truly be behind.
Yes, you made a plan. You were diligent to organize your lessons and make goals for the term or the year. But life interrupted. Don't accept the guilt or panic. Instead, get productive.
RE-plan for where you are NOW.
Don't even try to "catch-up." Just keep working forward.
If you're worried about your child not finishing her fourth grade work by the end of her "fourth grade year," let it go. Grades are actually very fluid in what is required. There is so much repetition and review that in many ways, the curricula of consecutive grades are almost indistinguishable from each other.
Don't be tempted to cram in unrealistic amounts of work to catch up. You will only frustrate your children and yourself.
Do consider what is truly essential to cover. If there is fluff that you can omit without making your homeschool dull and lifeless, go head and nix it. But don't go so far in the extreme that homeschool becomes a drudgery. Continue to do the fun things you did before the time crunch.
My own story
We dealt with many moves during my daughter's third grade year. Living out of suitcases for months at a time, homeschool was almody impossible to accomplish. I did the best we could, but once we were in a stable situation again, we had lost about 6 months of school.
I chose to simply continue with where we left off. The curriculum I chose for third grade carried us on into part of fourth grade. In fact, my plans for third and fourth grades actually stretched over third, fourth, and fifth grades. Did it matter? No, not at all. My daughter was consistently learning. As she matured, I required her to take the material a level deeper to stay in keeping with her abilities.
Those six months did not harm her dramatically in her academic abilities. In fact, she learned a lot of invaluable lessons that her curriculum could never teach her.
Another Question for You
What Made You "Behind?"
Getting and Staying Organized
Sometimes we are behind because of our own lack of organization or discipline. If that is the case, a homeschool planner may be helpful. Here are three options to get your curriculum, field trips, goals, and resources in tidy order so you can stay on track.
Planners For Keeping Organized
- Homeschool Planner by Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations
Weekly Homeschool Planner that will help you organize your school day and record daily learning ~ year after year. Fully editable pdf that can be saved to your computer and used year after year.
- The Homeschool Planner
Over 50 different printable sheets to create your own individualized planning notebook.
More Moms Speak Out About Getting Behind
- Getting Behind? by Lani Carey - The HomeSchool Flame
Another new year, so full of possibilities. We have so much to look forward to, and yet in January most of what we counselors hear is, "I need help - we are SO BEHIND."
- How to recover from Disturbed Schooling
Nadene from Practical Pages blog recommends Spot, Skip, & Speed when school is disturbed by life's problems.