When the homeschool year first kicks off both the teacher and the student(s) are fresh with excitement. Somewhere along the way that freshness and excitement dies off though. We grow weary of the textbooks and activities that once thrilled us and just getting through one day of schoolwork can be a miracle. We begin to wonder where we went wrong and how in the world will we keep the motivation and excitement up the rest of the year.
Been there done that? You aren’t alone, I’ve done this a few times over. There are a couple truths that I want to share with you today, as well as some encouragement to keep on keeping on this coming homeschool year.
1. Kids need time to be kids.
I know it might seem like a silly place to start, but it’s the basic truth and one we often forget. Kids grow up way too fast all too often and they won’t have the opportunity to get their childhood back.
Ensure your child has playtime and doesn’t do book work all day. They will continue to school for 13 years, they don’t have to learn all their phonics or master the multiplication table today. Learning is a constant cycle, it repeats itself for a reason. In order for our kids to excel at school they need free time to get out the wiggles and use the imaginations that God has given them.
2. Don’t over schedule your school days.
You know your kids best and that means you know how much they can handle in one day. Part of the reasoning goes back to point #1, but it is also for your sanity and peace.
When we try and teach too much or squeeze too much into our days, we’re setting ourselves up for stress and frustration. We don’t have to teach every subject every day and just because the curriculum is designed to be used in one year doesn’t mean we can’t stretch it to two. There is no perfect design or schedule, each family is unique and requires a unique schedule.
3. Take an unscheduled day off now and then.
If the wiggles or attitudes are more than normal, take a day off. Refer back to point #1… Kids need time to be kids.
After all the hours we’ve spent planning the school year, the last thing we want to do is to break it. Sometimes it feels like failure, but let me assure you it is not. Failure is when we choose to not “listen” to our little blessings’ need for a break.
So, take a day off now and then and have fun. Plan a day full of fun in the sun, take a hike on a crisp fall day, build a snowman in the midst of frigid temps…ensure you take time to watch the smiles appear across their faces when you announce a day off from school. Their smiles and the laughter you’ll enjoy together will ready you for another school day and renew your vision for homeschooling your children.
Sometimes you’ll need more than one day off, take as much time off as you need! That’s why we’re year round homeschoolers! We don’t have to do school just certain days, we have 365 to choose from!
Mom (or Dad), you’re doing a great job. There’s no doubt about it. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing on your homeschool journey, you’re doing great! Don’t let anyone tell you different!
There is a reason I call homeschooling a journey… As homeschoolers we all have a starting and an ending point, but it’s unique for each of us. We don’t start at the same place and we won’t end at the same place. There is no right or wrong way to get to the end nor is it a race to be won. It’s a journey that will require everything we’ve got and then some (thank you Lord!).
Mom (or Dad), take time for you. You can’t homeschool well if you’re exhausted or burned out. Take time to do something you like to do at least once a month. This downtime is needed just as the kids need time to be kids.
Don’t feel bad that you need a break. There is a reason that employers are required to give breaks, homeschooling is a full time, year round job, so be sure to take breaks that your mind and body need. You’ll be a better teacher and a better parent when your mind and body are rested and clear.
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