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A HOMESCHOOL RESET

Our first week back at school in the new year was, well…let’s just say it stunk. Monday, Tuesday, and then again on Wednesday just felt like we had picked up right where we had left off before Christmas break, but forgotten all the fun stuff and just remembered the boring, stale stuff. There was no excitement, no motivation, just….blah.

Christmas break had left a lot of time to relax, enjoy the holiday, clean my house when it was over, and get my new planner ready to go. That’s all good stuff! But the thing I hadn’t done on Christmas break is really get ready for the third quarter of school because, well, Christmas break is only so long.

We called a homeschool reset.

How calling a homeschool reset can get everything back on track.

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After three days of stale, boring school, listening to everyone wonder what was next–because I hadn’t written it down in their notebooks, and being completely uninspired, I called a homeschool reset on Thursday morning. I sat everyone down, told them to get out their notebooks, and write “3rd Quarter Goals” at the top. We went through every subject of our school weeks and then a little more.

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Each kid wrote down Morning Meeting, Math, Language Arts, Writing, Science, History, Art, and then because we’re fun around here–Fun Stuff. Here’s the breakdown of what we talked about for each space…

Morning Meeting. We love starting our day out with a meeting around the table. I’ll do a post about what we do in our morning meeting at some point. We’ve started our day like this for years and it’s just a good way to convene at the beginning of the day. We discussed all the things we have done during Morning Meeting in the past and what we wanted included in it this quarter. Our final list looks like this:

  • Calendar
  • Memory Work
  • New Headlines
  • Idiom of the Day
  • Math Problem (we love using this book)
  • Vocabulary Word of the Day
  • History Reading
  • Science Reading
  • Geography Reading
  • and a short reading on Art
Our Morning Meeting will take about an hour. We’ll do the first two things on the list daily and the rest will be on a loop schedule, and we’ll hopefully get to all of it each week.

A Breakdown of our Reset

Math. There’s nothing special about this, but I wanted the kids to get a visual of what they could achieve in a quarter of school. I had them each write down the lesson number they were on and add the number of days of school we had in the quarter and that is the lesson we’ll aim to be on by the end of the quarter. We left some wiggle room because we don’t count Fridays in our school week, but if we get behind, we’ll use them.
Language Arts. They boys made goals to be finished with their spelling books by the end of the quarter, and Sophia made a goal to finish a certain number of spelling lists in her book. 
Science. Oh, science. How neglected you are. Basically we haven’t done any science all year. Unless you could that time we went to the science museum. The bad this is, my kids love it–so we talked about what they’d like to learn about. They said winter weather and snow. Ok, fair enough. I’m looking for some books to put on hold at the library and saving some things to my Winter pinterest board. This week, I have some books I’ll read during Morning Meeting about animals in winter.
History. We’re pluggin’ along with the Middle Ages and made a goal to complete five chapters of our Story of the World book. I made a note on my list to do at least two fun history projects, or skits, or something’s that are fun. History has been much too boring this year.
Art. So we’re part of a great homeschool group that has the best field trips pretty much every Friday–which is also the day we do art. It’s hard to squeeze art in during the rest of the week with other activities going on, so it always falls on a Friday. But we made it a goal to do at least four art lessons this quarter. Maybe I’ll have to rearrange some other things, but we need more art around here.
Fun Stuff. I didn’t want our pow-wow to be all about schoolschoolschool, so I wanted to make sure we added some fun stuff to our goal list. We put down two things. 1.) to have at least 3 family nights each month. It’s winter and going out for a bike ride or out for ice cream after dinner isn’t really happening, so we decided Friday nights we’d make an extra effort to do something fun. and 2.) since we’ll be adding some geography into our Morning Meeting time, and Sophia loves India and has always wanted to learn more about it, I thought we could study about India. The culture, the landmass, the continents it’s on, the religions there, the food–all of it. Then at the end of the quarter, we could have a little party to celebrate what we’ve learned. Sounds fun, right?

A Fresh Start

So then we had plans. We had goals. We had a list of things we wanted to do and accomplish. So we did the next logical thing and went out for new notebooks. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Fresh. New. This weekend, the kids and I sat down with their new notebooks and they transferred their 3rd Quarter Goal Lists and a running book list that they keep in the back of their notebooks too of books they’ve read for the year.
The last thing we did to tie up our new year reset was to tidy up the school room. We took down the paper leaves that had never been taken down since fall and replaced them with some fun winter window clings. Everything got a good dusting and vacuuming and all the kids’ cubbies got a good sort-through and we threw out all the old papers and notebooks. I moved a little heater into the school room too to make it nice and cozy on the really cold days–like today!
I have to say, walking into the school room now feels so much better. It was overrun with Christmas projects, papers everywhere, and had become a drop off place for all the things. It’s no wonder we were unmotivated last week.
But now we’re ready…we just need to work the plan. Our reset did us so much good. We feel ready–more importantly, I feel ready to steer this ship, which was previously floundering nowhere–just merely staying afloat to check off boxes. We’ve got things to look forward to now: math books being closer to being completed, interesting science subjects to read about, Joan of Arc and Shakespeare to learn about, and India. Hooray for India.
Maybe you’re needing a reset too. Take a day. Stop everything. Make a plan. Get excited again.

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3 Comments

  1. I'd love to hear a review of Brave Writer sometime! I'm looking at that for my kids. That or English Lessons Through Literature for my boys going on 4th grade next year.

  2. It is so hard delving back into school after a holiday break. We struggled this last week too. Being new to homeschooling, after the much older two have been (and the one is entering her last semester of her Sr. year) in public school, I keep flitting around trying different things to find our groove and try and lose the school at home mindset and add in the enchantment, the fun. The boy says he wants more adventure. We have one co-op day on Thursdays. I need to go renew our MN Zoo membership and the Science museum as well.

    Thank you for sharing, as I look to veteran HS'ing mamas and their wisdom, as I find my way into the new adventure. I don't know too many that have been at it awhile.

  3. Oh my word you hit the nail on the head with this one here! We need to do this.. and why is science always left behind??! here too. but I really just count the chickens we have.. and the maple syrup we make in the spring as a good dose for the year.. that counts right?! I can't wait to hear all about your Morning Meeting. Ive been diving into all things morning time this year but have yet to nail a good plan down and implement it so I would love to hear your take!

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