No Diving Here!

No DivingHave you noticed those signs alarmingly placed around public pools? “No Diving!” Why do they do this? Jumping headlong into certain environments can be hazardous to your health. You might be surprised to realize that diving head first into your learning year might be just as problematic.

A new year is upon us, we have so many exciting things we can’t wait to teach, and there is so much potential waiting to be uncovered. So what do we do? We start off with a bang! The first day of our school year we unpack all the books and tackle every subject with eagerness.

What usually results? Grumpy children, frustrated parents, and a loss of motivation. What happened? Instead of testing the waters, allowing our minds an opportunity to adjust to the surroundings, we got in a little over our heads and hit a wall!

Why does this happen? There are probably several reasons this issue comes up:

Too Much, Too Fast  Instead of testing out a few core subjects and renegotiating areas of concern, we attempted to take in the whole ‘pool’ at once. We choose to dive right in, possibly neglecting a few areas of concern.

Shocking Degrees – Our children have been enjoying a lovely, relaxing summer. Now, we want to plunge them into an entire week full of sitting down and book work. It is fairly understandable that our children are ready to balk at that tall stack of books we want them to work through. To them, it seems like torture!

Weak Muscles – After a long break, our minds need a little time to build themselves back up. If we attempt to tackle everything at once, we risk overworking our minds and frustrating ourselves unnecessarily.

Inexperienced Swimmers – If new subjects are being introduced, a child is just starting their learning adventure, or we are new to homeschooling in general; this could be a leading factor. We are not giving ourselves, or our children, an opportunity to become stronger learners.

Burn Out – Just as sitting in the sun too long after a long winter can easily cause you to get sunburn, sitting at a table all day after being on a break can cause burn out in your learning day. Keep in mind that children often need several breaks amidst all that book work, especially when returning to a routine after a long break.

So how do we avoid these problems? By easing into our learning year. Practically speaking, what does this look like?

For us, it means not all subjects are being taught this first week back to school. In our home, only core subjects are being introduced: Language Arts, Arithmetic, and Bible. The work is mostly review and easy to complete. As we move through the material, we are adjusting our routine to accommodate necessary changes and preferences. Next week we will add in Science, History, and electives. Again, making necessary adjustments to our routine and our day if needed.

From experience, families who choose to ‘wade’ into their learning year, tend to have more longevity. They are content to test the waters, improve their stroke, adjust as needed, and then make a few exciting jumps into the deep end. They also understand when they’ve been at it too long and should take a break; no need to burn out.

Now, am I saying it can’t be done. No; I know families who can and do jump right on in. Am I saying you shouldn’t do it? Again, no; each family needs to make the best decision for themselves. What I am saying; is that you might want to consider not diving in.

Through prayer and experience, we’ve learned to take one day at a time in our learning. We start off our year nice and easy; testing out our well-organized plan for faults and adjustments. Once things are coming along swimmingly, it’s time for the real fun to begin!

Time to Chime In: Does your family dive into homeschooling or wade into the learning year? Why?

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19 thoughts on “No Diving Here!

  1. We are starting school next week and I am very glad to read this post before then. It was a nice reminder not to push too hard too quickly when starting school. I think this year we will wade in a little slower than usual in hopes of keeping the momentum up all year.

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  2. It was a long time ago for us, but we always “waded in.” The first week was exploring textbooks, and getting our minds around some of the large projects we would be tackling. The second week was a regular schedule though.

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  3. Well the plan was to dive in, but we had to adjust every day this week so far and not complete everything I had planned. But I started early so we could see what works and what doesn’t. I’m giving us until the end of August to be ‘settled’ on a daily/monthly schedule.

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    • That makes sense. We are praying about trying that approach next year. Technically, we learn all year round; summer just tends to be a completely different routine. I think next year, we will try to make it a more year round schedule and have less of a change.

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  4. Reblogged this on The Satisfied Mom and commented:
    Hey Homeschoolers! Heads up! I know I haven’t written much about homeschooling lately, but some of my blog friends have been! Enjoy this post from A Homeschool Mom Blog as you are gearing up for the school year.

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  5. Great post! We usually take the first couple of weeks to ease back into school. For us, this approach works well. We will begin this coming week. In addition to the few subjects each of my girls will start with this coming week, I also really want to focus on establishing the routine of our read-aloud time that we do all together.
    Karen

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  6. Pingback: In a child’s hand | Learning 2 Teach 4 Home

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