No matter how well you plan, or how much you love your kids, there will be rough days. Whether it's life circumstances wearing on YOU, or the children being tired and cranky and less-than-cooperative, or just one hard math lesson that spirals downward ... it's inevitable. There will be hard days.
I've had more than my share of rough days. I've wondered WHY I am even doing this homeschool thing. I've angrily daydreamed of packing the disobedient kids onto that yellow schoolbus which would probably be coming at 6:30 in the morning since we live in the country (or hopefully an even more ungodly hour to really punish them.) I've cried in the shower, convinced I was ruining my children.
Yet, I have two graduates, who are both in college, and don't hate me. Other people tell me my children are well-behaved and helpful. (They save it for everyone else sometimes.) The school-age kids can all read and are keeping up with the right grade in math. So maybe we aren't doing too terribly bad.
But what do you do when you're in the middle of one of those days where quitting seems to be the best option?
- Take it one day at a time. Do not think about the long haul on that day. Just focus on getting through this day, this reading lesson, this set of chores. Remember that God gives grace for each new day. You don't have the grace for tomorrow yet, but you do have the grace for today.
- Take a break. Tell everyone it's time for recess or a reading break and get alone for a minute. You need a minute to regroup, take deep breaths, and pray. Call your husband for a cheerleading session if you can. Pour yourself a cup of your favorite beverage - whatever will refresh you - then sit down and enjoy it.
- Put the books away for the day. The books will be there another day. Some days you just need to regain a positive note by turning the day completely around. Maybe it's time for a relaxed nature walk, or a field trip to a nearby free museum or even just a park. Put in an educational movie (and sometimes I really stretch the word educational) and pop some popcorn. Declare the rest of the day a free-reading day. Play an educational game, or pull out the craft supplies. Anything that will reclaim the day and end it on a positive note. You can even create a "Save the Day" activity box to pull from on those days, if you're more organized than I am.
- Apologize if you need to. Sometimes you will lose your temper. Sometimes you will get frustrated. Sometimes you will say things you shouldn't. Apologize to your kids. Restore the relationship before the next school day. It will mean a lot to your children and help build a fresh start for the new day.
- Make a plan. What can you do differently tomorrow to avoid the same situation? There may not be anything you can change. Or it might mean you need to shorten the math lessons from now on, rearrange the subjects to give a break between the hard subjects, or find some brain break ideas to use with your kids. Perhaps the change means you need to be sure not to sleep in or maybe you need to separate two students. If there isn't anything you can do, then just let it go. Really, let it go, or the next step won't work.
- Get some rest. Even if you didn't start your bad day already exhausted, I'm sure you are now. So start turning the lights off early. Keep the evening low-key. Get the kids tucked into bed early, possibly with books for the older ones to read awhile. Take a hot shower or bath and go to sleep. I promise, it will all look better in the morning.
- Enjoy your kids. They are the very reason you are homeschooling. Don't let the books and the checklists steal the day, or your joy. Listen to their conversations. Watch them play. Talk to them. Laugh with them. Remember how special each one is. The very best part of homeschooling is the relationship you're building each day with your children. Treasure it.
There will be rough days, but there will also be many good days. Just keep your eyes on God, your relationships with your kids healthy, and take it one day at a time. You can do it!
Back to Homeschool Blog Hop is brought to you courtesy of the Schoolhouse Review Crew and Homeschool Blogging Connection. You can view all the hosts for this week's Back to Homeschool Blog Hop at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog, or here on my blog. If you'd like a shortcut, you can visit these final fourteen bloggers today!
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee BreakTawnee @ Adventures in HomeschoolingLisa @ Tales of a Homeschool FamilyJennifer @ Organized Home Organized SchoolCallie @ Mama's Coffee ShopErin @ For Him and My FamilyLori @ At Home: where life happensMargaret @ Creative Madness MamaNicole @ Some Call It NaturalCrystal @ Crystal StarrBonnie @ Write Bonnie RoseShawna @ Tenacity DivineCarol @ Home Sweet LifeLeah Courtney @ As We Walk Along the Road
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May your new school year be greatly blessed!