Thursday, June 11, 2015

Start. Keep Going. Finish Strong.

I just started a fun little self-improvement project called Couch-to-5K.

Alright. I lie. It's not fun at all...yet. Every time I have gone out for my little walk/run so far, I have had to exert my will and make myself do it. Every time I have started a running interval, I have had to stop myself from worrying about how long and how far, and just focus on staying in the moment. Each time I have completed a week, I have thought, "I can't possibly go on to a more difficult workout next week." But each week I do just that.

I could have spent a lot of time deciding on what kind of shoes I should wear while running, and whether they were the perfect ones for my feet. I may have spent some time deciding on an app for my phone that would be the perfect program to meet my goals. But I'm sure we can agree that these things don't matter nearly as much as me heading out of my front door and actually starting to run.

My homeschooling can be a lot like beginning that running program. I sometimes spend too much time thinking about all my choices beforehand. I read catalogues. I research online. I read about other people's experiences and think too much about whether I'm making the very best choices. But really, the most important thing will end up being how I use the things I choose.

I am planning to teach JJ(4) to read next school year (He is so very ready!). I have a simple phonics program in the house, along with a few Bob Books. I also have the experience of teaching SA(6) to read using some of Charlotte Mason's ideas. Still, I have been looking longingly at programs in glossy homeschool catalogues, and seriously considering books that have worked for my friends. I have not quite made up my mind what we will do yet, but it comes to me that what's really needed here is for me to just start.

I know what to do. I have done it before. The program I choose doesn't really matter as much as sitting down with him every day for five or ten minutes and working on phonics and sight words.

Making good curriculum choices is important. But they do not have to be perfect choices. The curriculum is just a tool to help me reach my goals. In the end, success will be more about whether I faithfully took the time and effort to teach my child what he needs to know.

So start.
And once you've started, keep going.
Don't stop until you've reached the finish line.