Have you ever noticed that when school starts everyone’s excited but that it only lasts for a few days and then real-life sets in? In the first week of school, everyone is excited about new books and school supplies.
Homeschool moms are ready to implement their new schedules and kids are ready to learn, explore, and have fun. But it doesn’t very long before the melt-downs happen.
Day In and Day Out
It’s so easy to allow the day in and out of homeschooling to stress you out especially when you have a chronic illness.
It’s hard to plan and stay on track when you don’t know how you’ll feel each day. It’s easy to feel like you’re letting your kids down, and everyone else.
My health is probably the best it’s been in 8 years and after graduating my two oldest daughters, I’ll only be homeschooling my youngest two.
My daughter is 15 and will be a Sophomore and little man is 8 and entering the 3rd grade. (Since writing this post I have successfully graduated all three girls, so now it’s just me and little man.)
This year should be a breeze right? After all, a few short years ago I was homeschooling four and very ill with chronic Lyme disease.
Even so, there are always things that creep in which can make our school day hard. Sometimes there are struggles with particular subjects like Algebra, that can cause homeschooling meltdowns.
The Daily Stress
When our health fails us it can be hard to keep up, which in and of itself causes a lot of stress. We don’t want to fail our children. We began homeschooling because we wanted the best for our children.
Please remember, sometimes God’s best for us doesn’t make sense to us or those who are watching.
So girls, what are we going to do? How are we going to give each day to the Lord and trust Him?
It’s easy trusting when everything goes well but what about trusting God daily for your homeschooling regardless of your circumstances or feelings?
Doing Your Part
I’ve already shared my plan for getting our homeschool started on the right foot but what about the day in and day out? Here are some things you can do.
Have a quiet time.
If you’re not already in the habit of spending time with the Lord each and every day this is really the first step for you. Every day, read scripture, journal and spend time praying for yourself, your children and your homeschool.
Spend time with your children in God’s Word as well. If you wake up late, have a time of reading scripture together. Oftentimes, my scripture reading took place when I was doing Bible lessons with the kids.
There were days when I felt so sick I couldn’t read so I would ask one of my children to read out loud for us and then I would lead them in discussion or ask them to write down their observations to discuss later.
Never work straight through the school day without taking those much-needed breaks. When things start to feel stressful, even if it’s first thing in the morning and your school day hasn’t begun yet, take a break. Breath, relax and regroup before getting started.
In the cold months, we like making hot tea or hot cocoa and snuggling up in blankets to read. Sometimes we sit around the table and just talk. In the fall and spring, we love to go for walks and sit outside in the sunshine to read.
Everyone can approach their day in a much better frame of mind if they know they’re going to have some downtime. The math lesson that is likely to cause a major meltdown will be much easier to understand after a break, a snack, and a little TLC.
Encourage Your Children.
Have you ever noticed how your child’s face will light up when you or someone else says something positive and encouraging to them? It doesn’t matter how old we are, everyone needs to be encouraged.
When your children are struggling to learn a new concept, remind them that learning takes perseverance and hard work. Tell them you believe in them and that you’re there to help them.
Praise them for exhibiting Godly character, for being diligent, hard-working and for having a good attitude.
Some children can’t handle making mistakes. They might have a hard time trying new things. Show them that it’s OK, the world won’t end if they get a problem wrong and remind them that they will make mistakes!
Teach them that sometimes learning happens best through their struggles and mistakes.
We have the luxury of being very flexible in our homeschool. If your schedule isn’t working be prepared to change what you’re doing. If your plans aren’t working, change your plans! If your curriculum choice is frustrating you or your child, change it.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to trash it. You’re in charge, see if you can modify it to meet your child’s needs.
Create A Comfortable Learning Environment.
Make sure your children are comfortable and not easily distracted in your school area. Is your child struggling to pay attention because their chair is uncomfortable? Maybe they’d be better on a yoga ball.
Is there a repetitive noise in the room that’s driving them nuts? You might be surprised by what your child hears when they’re trying to concentrate. Maybe listening to quiet music with headphones would help.
Some of my children work much better when they have music on but others need complete quiet.
Does your child need glasses or maybe they just need a high protein snack to help them get through?
Be sure to evaluate their diet. What they eat and drink will have a huge impact on their ability to learn. Maybe they need to chew gum or move while working. Studies show that chewing and moving can actually help our children focus on the task at hand.
Study Your Child.
Moms usually know their children better than anyone else. Even so, we may overlook some very important things. We may not realize that our child is having sensory issues and could mistake their behavior for being obstinate.
If you’re new to homeschooling you may not know about the different learning styles and that the learning style you gravitate toward may not be your child’s best way to learn.
Take some time to study your children and learn about them so that you can provide the best atmosphere for learning.
Remember, You Are Not A School
As a new homeschooler, I set up a schoolroom in my house. This room was complete with desks, a flag, beautiful charts and maps on the wall.
After a few weeks do you know where my kids were doing their school? Lying on the floor, hanging off a couch, outside in the sunshine, and in the kitchen when I was there.
Learning best takes place where they are comfortable. I hadn’t yet read the studies about homeschooled kids and how the traditional learning environment can stifle their love for learning.
Make learning real life, make it enjoyable and relax! You can have a great year!
Finally, and this is so important! Trust God above all else! Remember, He promises to complete the good work he began in you and in your children!