Have you noticed those signs alarmingly placed around public pools? “No Diving!” Why do they do this? Jumping headlong into particular 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 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 taught this first week back to school. In our home, only core subjects are introduced: Language Arts, Arithmetic, and Bible. The work is mostly review and easy to complete. As we move through the material, we adjust our routine to accommodate necessary changes and preferences. The following week we 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 each 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!