Injecting Scholé Into Your Homeschool Year

I wish there was some magic plan for your homeschool year that would ensure it would be one of rest and leisure. Unfortunately such a thing doesn't exist because every family is different. Thus, a lot of what brings rest and relaxation is trial and error to find what fits parents, children, and educational style. I have already written extensively about the nuts and bolts of how to plan for a homeschool year, but this post is specifically about how to add rest and leisure to your year.

One thing that holds true for me and our homeschool is that how peaceful and restful I feel steers the course of our days, weeks, and months. That doesn't mean I don't have bad days, the children don't argue, or there aren't tears over math {why is it always math?}. Planning for a year of homeschooling rest and leisure means that you begin the year as prepared as possible to inject scholé into your homeschool. So here's what you need to do to prepare you for a homeschool year of scholé.

Before the Year Begins
1) Prepare
How much and what you prepare is one of those things that falls under your family's homeschool culture, but I do know that the more prepped I am for the year has a direct correlation on how restful I feel about our learning each day. If I'm constantly scrambling at the last minute to find something for a science experiment or needing to print something for Morning Meeting that I forgot to print, I tend to become short-tempered and snappy in these situations. Personally, for me, I like to plan all of our subjects out before the year starts, and I like to have all necessary papers printed and items for projects and experiments purchased and stored. Some people don't need nearly this much preparation to feel at ease for the year, but most people need to do some kind of preparation. A bit of prep is worth a pound of rest!

2) Schedule downtime
When you homeschool, you find yourself in the unique position of not only full time parent, but full time teacher as well. Even for the most extroverted of us, this is draining. I need my downtime to recharge, regroup, and rest. I try to make it a point every day to have some alone time at the end of the day while Preacher Man is putting the kids to bed. My biggest scheduled downtime is once a week when I drop Grace off at ballet lessons for three hours. Preacher Man takes care of Sophia and Levi giving me three hours of uninterrupted alone time. It's blissful. I didn't realize how much I depended on this weekly recharge until it was taken from me for about a month due to a scheduling conflict. I begged Preacher Man to rearrange his schedule because I needed that three hours each week, or I was going to end up in a straight jacket! No matter how much you feel there is not time in your day or week to be alone, you must find the time. You need this downtime to stay rested and refreshed for the year.

During the Year
3) Periodic Self Check
It's so easy to fall back into old patterns of behavior and thinking. This is especially true when you homeschool. It seems like all of tend to default to a traditional, public school model when we don't know what else to do. That's why during the year I like to have periodic self checks to make sure I'm focusing on truth, goodness, and beauty during our days and not finishing the worksheet, checking the box, or rushing the kids. Turning back into public school teacher mode is not what I want, but it is what I will fall back into if I don't pay attention. If things start to make my anxiety rise or my worries creep in, it's time for a self check. Where are my thoughts focused? Why am I anxious and worried? Is it a valid concern or a comparison trap? Paying close attention to your thoughts and emotions is a must if you want a restful learning year. You don't want months to go by before you realize that the old you has been in charge for too long!

4) Be Experimental
I like to tell people to make their homeschool plans and schedules in pencil not chisel. Our homeschool tends to follow this pattern: I find the perfect homeschool routine, it works for two weeks, and then it needs to be changed again. In the beginning of our homeschool journey, this used to drive me nuts, but now I've learned that experimenting and trying new things is part of what makes our year restful. If something stops working or isn't yielding the results I wish, I have the freedom and power to mess around with it and experiment to find that sweet spot again. Don't be afraid to think outside the box especially when dealing with things in your homeschool that you find VERY stressful {like how I reworked the way we studied history and science!}. Rest is not found in being a slave to your plans or the clock; it's found in the freedom to throw those things off and regroup.

After the Year Has Ended
5) Rate Your Year
One of the most beneficial things I do all year is take some time to really think about what worked and what didn't during our homeschool year. Was there a certain subject that we never got around to completing? Why? Did the math program work well all year or should I look for a change? Does working with the kids together make sense or is it a source of headaches for all of us? There are a myriad of questions like these to ask yourself as you look back. I even go so far as to bring my children into the game and get their thoughts as well. All of this input will help you make the next year even better and more restful. 

Our goal is to keep growing and moving forward in our homeschool and in our life, but with a restful and leisurely pace and mindset. The most effective way I've found to do that is to plan how I am going to face the coming year.

Check out how my fellow Everyday Scholé bloggers plan for a year of restful learning as well:


What makes your homeschool year restful?
Let me know in the comments.
Injecting a lot of scholé into our year by focusing on me in the tree house,