Friday, June 3, 2011

The Rule of 3

Welcome to Homeschool Friday! 

I know it's summer. But summer is a great time to reflect on last year and plan for next year. So through the summer, Homeschool Friday will focus on curriculum selection, planning and encouragement. 

I'm not the first person to say this, and if you homeschool you've experienced it for yourself.. getting a homeschool groove takes time. It takes trial and error and tweaking, but most of all it takes time.  I like to call it the rule of three.

First, three weeks. That's how long it takes to adjust to a new schedule. The beginning of the school year is a good example, but anytime you change the structure of your day (if you're a structure kind of family), plan on a good three weeks to get into the swing. We once switched from doing bookwork in the morning and hands-on projects in the afternoon to just the opposite. It felt like running through water! We could not seem to get a handle on it, even though we were doing the same work. But three weeks in it clicked, and it was smooth(er) sailing from then on.

Three months is the length of time I give a curriculum or program before jumping ship. Much less and you risk tossing it before you have a good handle on it. Sometimes it takes time to get accustomed to a new program, or to see where it's going. On the other hand, longer than three months with a program you can't stand or isn't working is a waste of your time.

New to homeschooling? Feel like you just don't get it? Like you're still trying to figure it out? No worries, friend. Three years is about how long it takes a family to figure out who they are as homeschoolers. Not just what curriculum to use, although that's part of it, but what kind of family 'culture' they're fostering. Are you structured or laid back? Hands-on or textbook? Co-op or individual? Classical, Charlotte Mason, Traditional, Unschooling or Waldorf? It takes time to find your fit! Even after the three years there will be changes made, but you'll have a good grip on what style works for you.

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