Progress Comes in Small Chunks


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I was only able to write two days last week. This upcoming week, I won’t be able to write at all. I should be back on track with writing, however, after that.

It quickly became clear that my kid isn’t a big fan of doing his homeschooling six days a week. I was trying that method because we had three weeks’ worth of classes to catch up on. It turned out to be like pulling teeth since his brothers have two days off and he doesn’t. So on Wednesday, I decided we’re going to double up on everything until we’re caught up. At this rate, we’ll be caught up on October 11. Sure, the next week will be a lot more work, but getting done sooner will be a huge relief for the poor kid. He’s on board with this plan because he can see the results faster this way.

I realize I could have treated the transition from one homeschool program to another as a “move”. I transferred from one school to another in November in the 6th grade and in early October in the 12th grade. No one started me over fresh on the classes I was taking. I had to catch up on my own. So, yes, I could have transitioned him over without starting fresh.

I decided to start fresh because I felt it was still early enough in the school year where it wouldn’t take long to catch up. Plus, I felt by treating everything like the beginning of the school year, it would be easier for the two of us to adjust to the new curriculum. It’s given me time to get a better idea of how I best work as a homeschool teacher and how he best works as a homeschool student. With the first curriculum plan, everything was planned out in detail for us. There was no need to figure anything out. You just did what the manuals and videos told you to do. I knew I would need to figure my way through this new curriculum, and I was more comfortable doing it from “Day 1”.

The new curriculum I picked up was Discovery K12, and it’s become more and more supplemental as time’s been going on. I now think of it as a guideline than something I need to follow every day. This week, I noticed I’m already going on my own tangent as I’m getting more comfortable with what I’m doing and learning what best motivates my kid to learn. I have already gone back and rewritten the objectives for the courses that I wrote two weeks ago, and today, I adjusted the grading scales for each subject because my original one wasn’t turning into a good fit for either me or him. I’ve come across other parents’ way of doing their own plans, but I’ve discovered I enjoy creating my own because I can specifically gear it to what works best for my kid. The more I proceed into this, the more I realize I want to create my own classroom environment. And the more I create my own stuff, the more excited and energized I get by this.

What I’m realizing is that this is a lot like writing a book. The more a person does it, the more they learn what methods work and what methods don’t. Over time, they find ways to fine-tune what they’re doing. No one goes into anything knowing it all. I don’t care how many videos one watches, how many books they read, or how many people they talk to; until they’re actually doing it, they aren’t able to really grasp how they are best able to perform the task. This is because everyone brings in their own backgrounds, preferences, and personalities. We can’t all be put into a box. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to anything. There are many ways of doing something where people can reach the same conclusion. In the matter of writing, the end goal is the published book. In homeschooling, the end goal is the kid to learn the material. How you get there isn’t as important as actually getting there.

Over the years, I’ve found small steps toward a big goal has helped a lot in staying on task and staying motivated. It’s why I have my daily word count goals when I write. I pace myself so it doesn’t get to be too much. If the pacing doesn’t work, I adjust the word count goals until it does. I believe in rewards for reaching the small goals, too. Every small step in the right direction is improvement. I don’t care what the project is. If you break things down into manageable sizes, then you don’t end up feeling so overwhelmed that you quit.

I’ve also come to learn the value of flexibility. If something isn’t working, there’s no point in sticking with it. It’s best to try an alternate way of doing things. This is why when a writer tells me they can’t write by the seat of their pants, I tell them to try outlining what will happen next. If a writer is getting stalled on a book because it isn’t following the outline they laid out, I suggest they modify the outline or throw the outline out and try writing the rest of the book without it.

Homeschooling is not any different. The curriculum I was using at first is a very popular one that a lot of people love, but it wasn’t the right fit for me or my kid. This new method where I go to DiscoveryK12 to get the “blueprint” for what is grade appropriate for my kid and use that to create my own curriculum has turned into a much better fit. The point is, you don’t know if something will work if you don’t try it. Some people get stuck on their failures. Failures aren’t really failures. They’re learning opportunities. They give you a chance to try something in a different way. Like I said earlier, if you reach the final destination, then who cares how you got there? The point is, you did it, and that’s something to be happy about.

Okay. I’m off my soapbox. 🙂

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to other genres, but her first love is historical romance. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and a couple of children. To find out more about her books, go to
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4 Responses to Progress Comes in Small Chunks

  1. Shelley Chastagner says:

    Woo Hoo! I’m happy dancing for you. Hugs!

  2. It sounds like you have a great plan for homeschooling.

    • I’m still making some adjustments, but I am enjoying the process. I never thought in a million years this is the kind of method I preferred. Sometimes you just don’t know what you’ll like until you try it. 🙂

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