My Favorite Time of the Year

It happens every year about this time.

By December, we are diligently working through our curriculum, learning and growing. Then, we take a break, a necessary break, but a break from our studies. This break is usually well needed and much appreciated. Quickly, the days pass. Then, it is time to return to our studies.

No matter how hard I try to smooth the transition, we always enter the second half of the year with a bumpy start.

I've learned to embrace this bumpy start. It's kind of like when you first learn to drive standard (manual) transmission. A bit of jerking and start/stop happens before you can smoothly switch gears. This is the way our second half of the year starts. Eventually, things smooth out a bit and we find our 'groove' again.

Once we find that sweet groove, well, that's exactly when I start looking ahead to next year. I start planning what we'll study, which courses my children will need/want, and how to accomplish another year of homeschooling.

This planning always starts with reflection on the current and past years. I like to ask myself (and my husband) what has worked well, what hasn't worked at all, and what needs minor adjustments.

For those items that worked well, we keep doing them, if it is possible.
For those items that don't work at all, we make major changes.
And, for those items that need slight adjustments, well, these are sometimes the hardest to address. The adjustments may be a supplement, a change in approach, teaching method, or additional help.

This is where I find myself right now in our planning stage - evaluation.

Even though it can be grueling and sometimes tedious, I find it very encouraging. When you notice how well your children are thriving or how well homeschooling is going over all, it can be very encouraging for the days or seasons when it just isn't.

Honestly, more times than not, during this period of evaluation, I find there is something to change. Yet, this too, is encouraging. Why? Because I know we have the freedom to make a change. One of the beauties of homeschooling is this freedom to change things when they aren't working.

With all the resources, methods, curriculum, and support groups available, I know I can find a solution to whatever the problem is. And, today, I am grateful for the freedom to homeschool, the ability to make changes when necessary, and the supportive homeschool community.

Photographs: Two things definitely working in our homeschool: Apologia science for our older children and Artistic Pursuits for our youngest.

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