Behind on Homeschooling
I’ve been homeschooling for over 4 years now and this year I experienced a first… It’s mid May, parents are flooding social media with cutesy photos of their child finishing up their school year, and my kids are still a mile away from the finish line. Not finishing our school year in the cookie cutter time frame like I had always planned, feels like a huge mommy fail on my part… but you know what? It’s totally not!
Sometimes Life Just Happens, You Guys!
I came to a huge realization this morning while planning out our homeschool catch up plan. I felt like my kids being behind on school work was all my fault. After all, I am their mom! So the responsibility should all fall on me right?? Wrong!
This year has been jam packed with unexpected interruptions. Our first semester went more smooth than any other first semester in our entire homeschool history, so I totally thought I had his year in the bag! Then, we got a new puppy… My mom had major surgery and needed to stay with us for a short period of time… My dad almost died.
Life got thrown in my face over and over again. I got buried in laundry and I couldn’t even function enough to get dinner on the table more than once a week… let alone actually school the kids! I realized that blaming myself wasn’t going to help… this is not my fault and if you’re behind, it’s more than likely not your fault either!
How to Catch up
With summer fast approaching, there is no better time to attempt a catch up plan than right now! Check out these simple tips for using your summer wisely! Following these steps will not only help you catch up on this years work, but might also help give you a jump start on next years!
We school (a little) over the summer months anyway… So fitting in a little extra was only a small challenge for me. Making it work with out the kids feeling completely consumed by school work? That part was a slightly more challenging.
I like to get a head start on new curriculum starting mid June, so my kids are only used to a small break from lessons anyway. With that said, we don’t school every day and we don’t school in large quantities over the summer. So while planning our new summer routine, I had to take that into account. My kids still need time to explore outside, swim, and be completely bored.
The 3 Step Process
How to Catch up on Homeschooling Over the Summer…
If you follow me at all, you know I’m a huge planner! I literally cannot function at any level with out some type of plan in place… and a little coffee of course.
Handwritten lists, typed up schedules, and brain dumps are always my go to when I’m stuck or behind on something. Want more tips on catching up in other areas of your life? Check out how I plan a traditional Catch Up Day.
STEP ONE – Take Time Off
Before diving head first into any type of catch up plan, you must first take some time off to assess the damage! I know this sounds overwhelming, but it’s completely necessary. Don’t plan any lessons or focus on other overwhelming household tasks. Plan simple frozen or crock-pot type meals that require little effort and let your kids spend their day playing or coloring.
Taking a day (or 2) off to brain dump is essential when attempting any type of new strategy or plan!
Not sure how to keep your kids busy while taking a day off to brain dump? Try attempting a simple DEAR Day or practicing a fun day of Looping Activities that can easily be picked up at the end of the day.
How to Brain Dump
First, take a few moments to catch your breath. Drink some coffee and get your thoughts together. I typically start out on my comfy spot on the couch with a little coffee, a notebook, and pen in hand.
Then, simply write it all out. Don’t worry about it being neat and tidy, or in order. Just dump everything you can think of out on the page. Write down how many lessons your kids are behind on, other school things you want to fit in over the summer months, and any breaks or family trips you might have planned.
Finally, assess the damage. Are your kids only behind a few weeks or are they behind an entire semester? Can you realistically get everything caught up like you want to over the summer months or do you need to extend your catch up plan into the first few weeks of fall?
If you’re stuck in a place like we are, you will be using half of your summer catching up on old work and the other half slowing easing into new curriculum. This is totally doable and encouraging! If you’re a little farther behind… don’t loose hope! This method can still work, it might just take a little longer to get the end result you desire.
STEP TWO – Create a Plan
Yes! You made it to step two… this a huge win, you guys! The brain dump can be a scary start, but it is the only way to get here!
Now that you have your brain dump complete, it’s time to start planning! Take that piece of paper, journal, or notebook that you wrote your notes on and give it a good look over. If it’s sloppy and out of order, now is a great time to re-write it in a neater fashion if you so wish. I totally do this, but it’s definitely optional.
Starting Your Plan
First, figure out a projected start and end date for your catch up period. Keeping in mind the amount of work that needs to be caught up on… In other words, make sure it’s a realistic time frame! This part is incredibly important when creating a new plan or schedule for catching up.
Now remember, these dates aren’t meant to be set in stone! By doing this, you are simply giving yourself a timeline to work with, a base, a rough draft, a goal.
Next, figure out how many days or hours you’re willing (or your kids are willing) to work on homeschooling over the summer months. Simply take that number and write it down on your brain dump page. Then, take all that other info you’ve written on that page and start the planning process!
Finalizing Your Plan
If you’re only planning to work on lessons for 2 days each week and your child is behind an entire semester, will that really work out? Probably not. Now is officially the time to do a little math. Ugh, I know… I hate it too!
You’ve already got the list of lessons your children need to catch up on written down on your brain dump page. Look them over and familiarize yourself with how many hours it’s actually going to take. Then, put it into writing.
My daughter is around 15 lessons behind on math. So, if I squeeze in just 2 lessons each week, she will finish in early July. This leaving the rest of July and the first half of August open for simple book work and easing into her new math curriculum. If she were further behind, I would have upped the amount to three lessons a week, or four, or five. Make sense?
Simply take your lessons, your start and end date, and the amount of hours/days you plan on working each week and figure out a plan that will work best for your child. Just make sure you allow flexibility to avoid overwhelm!
STEP THREE – Follow Through
We made it! This is the final step, you guys!! Once your plan is in place and you’ve successfully created a schedule for summer catch up, now is the time to act on it! I planned a one week break from formal lessons so I could get things in order and finalize my prep. I did however create activity packs for my kids to work on independently for that week though, just to keep them a little busy!
Homeschool Mom Tip: create activity packs or utilize simple workbooks so that you can homeschool your children even when you aren’t actively homeschooling your children, ha ha!
How to Create Summer Activity Packs
This is so simple, you guys! Simply take worksheets and activity sheets (these can be curriculum based, parts of individual lessons that need to be caught up on anyway, printed from online sources, or from workbooks) I chose to take individual worksheets from my daughters handwriting curriculum (something she needs a little catch up on anyway) and some other simple activities from extra workbooks we had on hand.
Simply take your handpicked items and set aside 3-5 sheets for your child to work on each day. These can be separated out into individual folders, simply paper clipped into piles, or stapled together. We already utilize a folder system in our homeschool, so this part was a no brainer for us!
I divided my daughter’s work into weekly folders and each morning I clipped the days work onto a clip board that she could carry around and do the work at her own pace in between playing and exploring. This worked out so well! I was able to finalize our schedule and write this post, all while my daughter worked independently! Win-win!
More Summer Fun
Looking for other fun ways to keep your children busy when you aren’t homeschooling this summer? Check out these fun ideas!
The Boredom Buster | A Summer Bucket List (free printable)
Summer Reading Challenge (free printable)
How to Stick With Your Plan
Once planning week is over, it’s time to dive in full force! Using a block schedule and a homeschool pacing guide to keep on task is the best place to start!
In order to finish your summer out successfully and start your new year off on the right foot, you must stay consistent. Take a little time every weekend to look over the upcoming week. Make sure things are still lining up and the past week’s lessons have been completed. If you have older children, encourage them to help you in this area by making them responsible for tracking their own work!
If you have lots to catch up on over the summer, make sure you allow extra breaks to avoid any frustration and overwhelm. Also, don’t stress if your catch up period takes longer than you anticipated. Sometimes stretching it into the first semester of the new year is completely necessary! You’ve totally got this momma!
Looking for More Homeschool Helps?
Check out these helpful homeschooling articles
- Keeping a Clean Home While Homeschooling
- Household Management for the Homeschool Mom
- 3 Homeschool Tips For a Smoother Week
- 5 Simple Homeschool Tips & Kid Hacks
- 5 Simple Homeschool Organization Ideas
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