How to Stay Motivated and Encouraged in the Middle of a School Year by Jennifer Smeltser

The Art of Homeschooling is truly a skill. We are in the trenches with our children as we navigate through the wilderness called home education. Many of us make it through with the reward of a diploma in our child’s hand. Others get lost along the way barely hanging on until the end at graduation. Some completely give up and choose public school, private school or some other type of education. Homeschooling does not have to be hard. There is a lot of support and information available to people who want to learn more about homeschooling or just need encouragement and a reminder as to why they chose this form of education for their child.

During the months of January and February are when many
homeschoolers either gain steam or completely poop out. They can see the finish line and move rapidly towards the goal (finishing school) or struggle as they try to figure out why they ever chose to homeschool. If you find yourself struggling or just need that extra “ump” to keep you going, think like a homeschooler and use your resources.

Attend a homeschool conference or workshop.
The homeschool convention and conference season is here. Attending a conference will give you access to many notable speakers and a variety of work sessions that cater to specific homeschool issues. Many topics are ones that address what you need to hear in order to finish the school year strong. You will also have the opportunity to touch and flip through curricula that you have only been able to view online. Sometimes seeing what other resources are available for school will give you something to look forward to the next school year. The Nashville area has become the go-to location for big homeschool events and Teach Them Diligently one convention that will be in the area March 18-20.

In your local area, there may be an opportunity to attend a conference or workshop. The event can be just as informative and encouraging with a more intimate experience. HomeLife Academy’s Workshop Weekend an annual event that will be held on Saturday, February 20 in Jackson. Although the setting is smaller, it will be a day full of information and encouragement for the likely, new or even seasoned homeschooler.

Connect with other homeschoolers.
Tennessee is a state full of homeschoolers who love to get together for support, co-ops, attending field trips and mommy and child meet-ups. If you have opted to not participate in the past, now may be the time. Sharing your experiences and concerns with other moms can help work through challenges you may be experiencing. You may even end up being an encouragement to another homeschool parent.

Fear the Internet, but also use it to your advantage.
You can become consumed with reading the many thousands of blogs and websites that tell you how to homeschool, but let me set the record straight; there is no one right way to homeschool. I love surfing the Internet and reading how other people do their school. The only problem is it got to the point where I was reading how everyone else was doing it in their school and not getting anything done in mine. I finally found some online locations I regularly read. How I decided on those blogs was due to the similarities in our teaching styles, ages of our children, values and choice of curricula. I am constantly encouraged by reading those blogs.

Read, read, read something other than a school book.
I love to read, but found my personal reading time being taken up with reading school books for lesson planning. My life had become all about third grade math and American history. That was not enough, so I started reading books on how to improve my homeschool. Some of the titles that have been just what I needed to keep me going are Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, Educating The Whole Hearted Child, The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education, A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning, and Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace. Although they are homeschool focused, they are books I can turn to in the middle of the year, or any time, when I need encouragement to finish strong.

Jennifer Smeltser writes for HomeLife Academy. HomeLife Academy is an official private school serving thousands of home educators. For more of Jennifer's articles, visit the Homeschool Roster.

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