In the local public schools, April is the month of "testing, testing, testing". The entire year's work is condensed into a couple of weeks worth of assessments. Is there anything homeschoolers can learn from this annual occurance in the public school system?
I think that April is an excellent month for homeschool families to do a little assessing of their own. What has been the best curriculum choice this academic year? What weighed your family down? Is there anything you really, really wanted to study, but now here it is April and you never got around to it? Any activities that are keepers? Or any that simply must go? Is your system for grading working well? What about updating transcripts for your high school students? Does you method of assigning household chores work well, or could it use a little retooling? April (and into May) is the perfect time to assess your home and your homeschool and fix whatever needs fixing. Everything is fresh in your mind right now; come August, it probably won't be. (And if this post sounds a little like a broken record from last spring, that's probably because it's so important to a successful long-term homeschool experience.)
But the biggest and best reason to evaluate your family's homeschool right now, before you close the book on this school year, is because all those things that need to change, I mean those things that you just KNOW the Lord has been speaking to you about, are in the very forefront of your mind. You couldn't dodge them right now if you wanted to! It's all laid bare right now, warts and all. This is the ideal time to prune what needs pruing in order to make next year a whole lot more fruitful. Only you know what those things are; only you can take advantage of the here and now and make the changes that will most benefit your family while bringing glory to God.
Allow yourself, with the Lord's help, to prune away those things. And expect God's blessings to flow into your life as you begin your summer with a "clean slate", plan for next year with an unstressed heart and mind, and receive His grace as you enjoy a fruitful academic year come fall. His gifts are always good; His ways are always perfect; His will is always trustworthy.
Next fall marks my 15th year of homeschooling. WOW! It's incredible that I have been able to live this life, the perfect fit for me, and walk in God's blessing for 15 years! Were I to count my oldest child's preschool years, next fall would be my 17th year of home education. I truly am blessed to have had so much time with my children, and I am grateful for all I have learned from the Lord as I walked this road with Him.
I take great delight in encouraging my fellow homeschooling mothers. It's the best job in the world, but it can also be the toughest job on the planet. I have a few tricks up my sleeve that make the longest of days a little shorter, and the best days a little longer. As I get closer to the end of my road as a mom who homeschools ~for the 2012-13 year I will have 3 daughters in high school and 1 in middle school ~ I have been considering how I can serve other homeschoolers well into the future. And I believe the Lord has shown me the next step to take.
In addition to writing a second book over the summer (which is going very well; I have 20 days worth of devotions compiled!)I think I may embark on a new adventure as a homeschool consultant. Sharing what I know while I move toward my next "career", even as I finish up my years of homeschooling, is my next big idea. I'd love to hear what you think about this new thing I'll be doing! And if you want to tell me I'm crazy, that having 4 kids at home that I'm teaching is a full-time job, I'll listen gladly :)
May the Lord bless you abundantly this spring as you consider what He would have you prune today in order to best glorify Him in the future.
Day 182 done :)
Jan L. Burt
PS ~ My daughter recently updated her website (see her link above) and she would love to have a few people look it over!