Saturday, August 17, 2013

Homeschooling With a January Start

I was like most homeschoolers in the beginning and tried to mimic the public school schedule of a September start and a May/June finish.  However, this wasn't enjoyable for me or my daughter and we realized that for our family's schedule, a January start was a better fit.  This proved to be a great choice as it allowed us to take off a lot of time during the first few months of our newest addition, Zach!  Not feeling rushed to hurry up but rather enjoy the transition of having a baby around has brought peace to our lives.

Having a January start suits my personality better because I love having a "new" year and a "new" start in homeschool!  It also prevents that February slump that have derailed a lot of homeschoolers because they are burnt out trying to keep up with the government schedule.  There is also the issue of taking time off from Thanksgiving to New Year's that allows us to enjoy the holidays with no stress of school.  We also have a lot of time to take off throughout the year and even summer if we choose, because schooling year-round is so flexible and it works with life's little (and big) surprises!

We are still finishing up 3rd grade until Thanksgiving and then we will start 4th grade in January.  Although, if people ask my daughter, "what grade are you in?" she will say 4th because according to the state, she is 4th grade and our curriculum is advanced compared to the public school's.  We also work mainly in levels in a lot of our subjects and we move right along from one level to the next - so there really isn't a time we start all new curriculum at the same time because WHO is on the same level in all subjects?  If you do that to a child, then you are fighting against their strengths and weaknesses and it will catch up with you soon or in a few years.  Knowing your child and what they need extra work in or what they can move forward in, is something a lot of homeschool moms overlook.  Hurrying to finish up all curriculum by a certain time will prove that you are only concerned about how YOU feel and not focused on your children's needs!

Try it out - I know you will like it and the first year you switch, you get an added 5-6 months onto your grade.  As Susan Wise Bauer has stated in one of her lectures, "Homeschooling the Real Child," you don't have to do a 12-year school, you can do a 14 or a 15-year one and have your child finish when they are 20 because usually they aren't even mature enough until then anyway for what they want to do in life.  I'm considering that by adding on a year or two in high school, so my daughter can not only get more credits and college-level work, but she can have more time to learn, time for hobbies and score high on the ACT and SAT to earn a scholarship to pay for college.  Why rush and have your child be mediocre when you can homeschool and have them be in the top percentiles by adding on to their learning?  Why the rush?  Slow down and enjoy seeing your children ENJOY learning!!

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