Are you ready for the new school year? New school years often come with changes, even for homeschoolers. Perhaps you’re changing curriculum, trying a new activity, or maybe changing co-ops. Maybe your kids are venturing out to public school. Whatever changes you’re making, I’m sure they were decided with the best intentions for your children in mind. Others may judge your decisions, but be sure to prayerfully do what is best for you and your family no matter what others say. Even still, changes can be difficult.
Last year we changed from a group we had been with for eight years. I had considered the change in other years, but last year I just knew it was best academically for my children. We don’t have any regrets, but we do have some lessons learned that I’d like to share:
- You’ll likely lose some friends. It was hard for both my daughters and me to miss the people we had been growing with for the past several years. Just because we weren’t at their weekly meeting days doesn’t mean we didn’t care about them. My girls aren’t on Facebook, so they lost complete touch with many families. I tried a get-together or two in the form of a small math games group, but it didn’t stick. I have two or three moms from the other group with whom I have stayed in touch. We all have active kids and it’s hard to make time, yet a simple text let’s someone know you are important to them until you are able to see them again.
- It may take effort at your new group to get to know people. Arrive early and give yourself time to stay a little late. As the mom, get involved and volunteer with the new group. My daughters have told me that they feel more connected if I am more involved.
- Give it time. You’ll definitely need a full semester to decide if it’s a good fit. A child may feel they don’t like something just because their best friend isn’t there. Yes, friends are important, but remind them they can focus on what they are learning and make an effort to make new friends. Be sure to help them stay in touch with the friends they are missing.
- Keep some constants. While we changed co-ops, my daughters still had the same dance schools. They really enjoy their time with their dance teachers and dance friends. I would suggest that you don’t make too many changes at once. (Well, unless you’re family is relocating of course.)
- Focus on the positives. “Instead of staying in one room, we get to change classrooms.” “We get new books to use.” “We get to learn how to follow a syllabus.” etc. Let your kids honestly mention any negatives they are experiencing, but don’t dwell on them. Help them look for the positive aspects of their new environment.
Yes, change is inevitable. Even after last year’s change we made an academic change for my oldest again this year. They both have made a change by stopping an activity they once loved and participated in for nine years. I have a friend, who has been fighting cancer, and is in the middle of the change to send her girls to public school so she can focus on her health. Whatever changes you are making, for whatever reasons you are making them, I’m confident that you have given it prayerful thought and consideration. Bravely face your changes and have a wonderful school year!