Beginning the journey of a lifetime when starting to homeschool, we seem to have superhuman strength and a dogged determination. But then, each new year rolls around and we are faced with making each day count when homeschooling.
It’s not the starting homeschooling that makes us feel defeated, but it’s the constant stopping and starting throughout the year that is sabotaging a school day.
Some things are out of our control like a sick baby, a sick momma and sometimes dad’s crazy work schedule that throws us off our pace.
Let’s not beat ourselves up over things that we can’t control, but sometimes even those days are not a complete loss in making some headway for the day.
Don’t Put It Off to the Future
Homeschooling with Challenges. One of the things that held me back from attempting to cover something for the day was to realize that perfect circumstances don’t really exist.
Waiting for the perfect day to happen, I missed out on seizing challenging moments because I couldn’t do everything in my curriculum planner. I felt I was doing half-hearted homeschooling.
Accepting what I could do for the day when a circumstance threatened the day would have caused a few less bitter homeschooling days for me.
Accepting the Circumstances. When my idea of what a homeschooling day should look like and reality collided, I see that I could have adjusted more easily if I had just simply accepted the change. This is hard to do for a scheduler type of personality.
For example, when my husband worked a crazy work schedule or had to be out of town for a long period of time, I could have simply had a read aloud day. That would have been the perfect time to catch up on some reading.
When both the kids and I were tired trying to keep up with my husband’s changing work schedule, we could have slept in and planned a field trip for the day.
Meeting the Challenge
Avoid All or Nothing Days. Another key to not completely stopping and then starting up again is to lose the mind-set that each day has to be an all or nothing day.
If your personality is more laid back and you are a respond to the moment teacher, then you may have an easier time accepting changing circumstances. Again, because I like to plan, it was harder for me to accept those things out of my control.
Looking back now, though you can’t see it at the time, I was my own worst enemy. It’s just that you realize that being organized allows us to make good use of our time.
However, setting unrealistic expectations and not accepting the present moment sets you up for burnout too and homeschool disillusionment. It’s that feeling of being disappointed because we think homeschooling is not as good as thought it was.
Soon we may regret homeschooling and that is where the bitter homeschool days come in. As you can see, if we don’t accept what we can’t control, it can have devastating results.
Homeschooling When Sick. I think the hardest times, once I determined that my days were not a complete loss when something unplanned came up, are homeschooling through sicknesses.
When I had more than one child sick, then I called off school. But I have found that when one child is sick or if I am sick that homeschooling for the day was a relief.
Having activities lined up for sick days beforehand is essential.
Back before Netflix (I am not real ancient I promise), I would buy tapes about history or science at the homeschool conventions. Too, I would look for museum quality educational coloring books like Edupress or Dover and buy board games.
Special art projects and art supplies were also part of my arsenal that I stocked up on.
But I would hold all of them back, in what I call my Mary Poppins bag only to pull them out when I needed them throughout the year. Keeping all the goodies a surprise from the kids is key to them being something that will keep their attention for the day when you need it most.
As soon as I purchased those things, I would hide them and put them away when the kids were occupied. It’s sounds crazy, but it’s almost like they looked forward to the days when I was sick because they would get something new.
One year at the end of summer, I stocked up on games that were meant to be played inside during the long hot summer months. Of course that is not the reason I bought them.
For example, I bought an indoor mini croquet set. All of the pieces, the balls, mallets and stakes were lightweight and made to be played indoors. When I had morning sickness when pregnant with my third son, I pulled the set out for my two sons and they played indoors while I was hanging out in the bathroom.
They had no idea they didn’t miss a day on strengthening their gross motor skills and I got my much needed rest.
Buying a pail and shovel at the end of summer that is suppose to be used at the beach made for great indoor play in a plastic pool that I filled with rice, beans or indoor sand during the winter.
Your imagination is the only limit to creating hangouts at your house when you need them.
Taking the kids to the park to study so the Mr. could have the house quiet to sleep in are some of my fondest memories of them when they were little.
Of course grabbing some of their favorite food at the time like hotdogs, which we ate on special occasions made it more special too.
Seasons of Adventure
Now with iPads and tablets, finding an activity is much easier.
I still prefer activities, like board games, where my children have to interact with each other instead of an iPad. But it’s a relief to have options from our iPad too because you can purchase board game apps, like Monopoly for a group to play too.
Though it took me a while to expect the unexpected, some of our best homeschool moments of learning were ones that I have not planned. I learned that the constant stopping and starting was sabotaging my teaching efforts.
And despite what I thought at the time, I could push on through the interruptions. Besides, I would have missed out some of our fondest memories so far in homeschooling.
Don’t pass up the opportunity to make each day special in homeschooling, you won’t regret it.
Hugs and love ya,
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