Even the biggest proponents of homeschooling know that, like anything else in life, there will be good days and there will be bad days. When things get hard, it’s helpful to have a game plan on deck to pull you through.
Whether there’s sickness in the family, the boiler is on the fritz, your child is refusing to do any math ever again, or the state of the world is weighing heavily on your heart—the days that are less than magical can make any homeschool mom or dad feel like the whole experiment is a giant failure. Of course, one problem, even if it drags on for days or more, doesn’t call for the suspension of all homeschooling efforts. The insecurity parents can harbor regarding their ability to homeschool tends to rear its head at the most unhelpful times.
When trouble comes, though, having a few go-to activities for the kids and mindset habits for yourself to fall back on can turn mountains into molehills. Here are some ideas.
When it’s all breaking down and you can tell that the day’s regular lessons just aren’t going to happen without massive amounts of struggle and frustration, declare it Reading Day! What is Reading Day, you might ask? Well, you may define the parameters any way you like—perhaps it involves a quick trip to the library (or simply your own bookshelf), pajamas all day, calming instrumental music in the background, lovely smelling candles, treats on hand, and screens nowhere in sight. Fundamentally, though, for the entire day, everyone is invited to ignore the regularly scheduled program and read all day. The kids read independently, you read aloud, or an audiobook plays while they craft—it all counts. For sure, there will be little sacrificed in terms of learning, but hearts and minds will be nurtured and refreshed.
When reading isn’t going to cut it, regardless of the actual weather outside, declare it a snow day. If school can do it, so can you: “School’s canceled, kids. Go outside and play!” Immediately turn whatever the problem is into a memory you’ll all cherish.
Just the Basics
If your regular homeschool days are filled with math, reading, writing, history, crafts, experiments, and extracurriculars, there will definitely be days when you’ll need to simply stick to the basics and skip the extras. If you find yourself with a lot on your plate, a poor night’s sleep, an unexpected visitor, or anything that cuts into your homeschool plan, just cover the basics: math and language arts. Knowing your bare minimum can go a long way toward putting your mind at ease.
Sometimes life throws us big curveballs. That’s when you need to pause homeschooling altogether and take a break. Encourage your kids to play and craft and read to their heart’s content while you take care of what you need to do. You may be surprised how educational and inspiring such free time will turn out for your children.
Review Your Purpose
When life gets you down, and especially when you doubt your ability to succeed at homeschooling your children, review the reasons you chose this route to begin with. Consider the blessings that homeschooling is affording your family. Recognize the deep connections your family enjoys.
Homeschooling is a commitment, an act of love, and an endeavor that doesn’t bear fruit instantly, but may turn out to be one of the most impactful decisions you make in your life.
When the hard days come, and they will, stay the course and keep the faith.