Convention season is in full swing. Curriculum companies are running big sales. Talk about the next school year swirls all around you. Your response ranges from the thrill and excitement of getting to choose new books to the overwhelmed feeling of still just trying to get through this year!
How can you enjoy the season while still being intentional about processing through planning for a new year?
Start with Prayer
We can think and process and evaluate and price check and seek advice all day long and still miss the best decisions for our family. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by that reality, take comfort in knowing that you serve a God who not only sees all but deeply loves you and your children.
When you seek the Lord’s will and submit to His plan, He works through your obedience to prepare you and your family for whatever twists and turns lie ahead.
Assess the Needs
The ability to make solid decisions about the coming year lies in an honest evaluation of where you are right now. What is working? What isn’t? How are your students responding to the current curriculum and schedule choices? How does the current system fit into life as a whole? Do you have a rhythm that is working? Is homeschooling still meeting the needs of your family?
It is also important to evaluate what your students have truly learned, what gaps may exist, and whether or not your student is truly ready to move forward in all areas.
During the last couple of months of the current year, utilize Well Planned Start to assess what your students have learned, discover what gaps might still exist, and make tweaks to the schedule or curriculum to help you finish strong and be ready for a new year.
Talk to Your Family
Have a family discussion about the coming year that incorporates life beyond school, encouraging your spouse and children to share what they like and dislike most about where you are as a family. What goals does each family member have for the coming year? What activities would they like to try? What trips would they be interested in making? What skills do they want to develop?
Even if the final decisions rest on your shoulders, incorporating your family into the process will not only alleviate your burden and ensure that homeschooling remains a family affair, it will also help your children learn how to make wise decisions.
Rise Above the Hype
Sales and conventions make this the best time to buy new curricula and resources. But, that also means that it is incredibly easy to get caught up in the hype of the newest sale and the next great product. It’s time to slow down.
Before you head to that convention or explore that product, make notes based on where the Lord is leading and the observations you have made during your assessments and family discussions. Be armed with questions and a list of your family’s practical needs. As you interact with vendors, pay attention to the difference between those who are just seeking to push their product and those who really are listening to your questions and answering honestly. Then, take advantage of those wonderful sales with confidence.