Just because something is the right thing to do, doesn't mean it is always the easy thing to do. Homeschoolers (me included) want to be an encouragement to others and often have something to prove to those who don't agree with our decision to homeschool. We don't often talk about our difficult days or challenges we face. Guess what? We all have them. Whether you have been homeschooling 2 months or 15 years there are going to be bad days and challenges you have to face. We are imperfect people trying to train/teach imperfect children. When things go wrong it doesn't mean you are not "cut out" for homeschooling or you should put your kids back on that big yellow school bus. I thought I would share some of my more common trials and how I try to solve them.
1.Being tired. You are up all night with a teething baby and now you have to be coherent enough to teach Algebra?
2.Too much to do. The house is a wreck.. Every room you walk in the children have gotten there first. How will I find time to do school and find the floor before my dh gets home from work?
3.If I have to look at one more multiplication table, I am going to lose my mind!
4.There is a whole lot of whining and complaining in the house today and we haven't even begun to talk about the children's behavior yet.
5.Every time we try to get started on something, we are constantly interrupted by little ones. How can anyone learn in the midst of this chaos?
Okay. So now you know what kind of things go on at my house. What do we do to solve the problems that come up in the course of any homeschool day.
1. Lack of sleep is nothing new to any mom, but having to teach can make it a bit more difficult. If I have a difficult night, I try to switch my day around so all the "easy" stuff is in the morning. When baby is napping. I turn on a show for my little guys and grab a short rest on the couch. Hopefully after that my brain is functioning enough to handle Algebra.
2. Simplify what you can. Pull out something for a quick and easy meal to give yourself more time to get things done (grilled cheese and soup never killed anyone.) Gather everyone together to do a "quick cleanup." Set a 15 minute timer and have everyone pitch in and clean up as much as they can. You would be surprised at how much you can get done.
3. Tired of the same thing everyday? Chances are so is your child. Take a day or two and change things up a little. Do a fun hands on Math unit with money by playing store. Use M and M's to teach addition (my kids personal favorite.) Small changes in your everyday curriculum can go a long way to making some boring things more fun.
4. Bad attitudes don't always come from the children. Nobody wants a grumpy mom or teacher. When I need a pick me up before the school day begins, we head outside. (when possible.) Fresh air and sunshine can do a lot for your mood. Head out and get some exercise before the school day starts. Or, head to the park for a picnic. Take a surprise field trip.
5. Interruptions are a part of life especially with a house full of little ones. Some can be headed off before they start. Get your little ones involved in a quiet activity before you get started. Grab a sippy cup of juice for your baby. Check diapers. Silence the phone. Make sure older children understand what they are supposed to be working on. If you can head off some interruptions, the ones that can't be helped don't seem so bad.
6. Find a fellow homeschooler or a group that you can talk about your struggles with. It is very helpful to share these things face to face with a supportive person who has walked in your shoes.
Most of all remember that you are not walking alone. Pray about your homeschool daily. Ask God to give you the grace, patience, strength, and energy you need to get through the day. Ask him to help you prioritize your day. Remember He will always give you everything you need to compete every task He has called you for.