As I am writing this we are experiencing one of those hard weeks in homeschooling. Sometimes despite all our careful planning, life happens, and things go wrong. Sometimes what starts off as a normal average week turns into a complete disaster and you are ready to admit defeat. How do you get through it?
Stop what you are doing
Your week started off fine. Your children were steadily working on their assignments and then something happened. Someone was sick or just tired and they are moving through their classes like molasses. Nothing is getting done, you are fighting with your son over math problems. He is arguing about everything and you are ready to pull out your hair. Just STOP. Stop for the day. Sometimes when you are homeschooling there are days when everyone is off track. That you feel like you are beating your head against the wall and the kids aren’t learning anything. On those days, it is OK to just stop. Yes, it might put you behind. Yes, it might throw you off track, but you will catch up. It will be OK. Sometimes just preserving your relationship with your children is more important than finishing up the last 10 questions in a science lesson.
Reflect on the day
After you have decided to stop for the day take time for yourself. You need this. You need 10 minutes to regroup. This is when it is OK to make your children go outside or watch a video. After a full day of homeschooling, I am usually mentally exhausted. I need time after school to just be. To sit quietly and reflect. Sometimes I just need silence. You will usually find me sitting on the back steps listening to a podcast. Just anything different than school. School is your job. After work, everyone needs a few minutes. Don’t neglect yourself. Especially after a hard day. Once you have had a few minutes to yourself, reflect on what went wrong and how to fix it for the next day.
After a bad day, the next day is very important. Begin the day with a good attitude or at least try to have one. Don’t bring up the fact that your son didn’t finish his science questions yesterday. Instead, ask him what he needs to work on and what he needs help with. In a subtle way, you are reminding him that he needs to complete his work. Give him the opportunity to surprise you by doing what is asked of him.
Sometimes when school work gets long and frustrating the best thing to do is go outside. Bring your books with you or just have an oral quiz on whatever they were learning. Go outside and get moving. Take a walk and discuss the different plants you are seeing. Play catch while practicing spelling words. The point is to get active. Your stress level will go down and you will end on a much more positive note.
Occasionally, everyone needs a good cry. Tears happen especially when your child is struggling with a hard concept. Don’t yell at them for crying instead give them the space to do it in. Allow them the tears but then move on. Maybe you will end up crying too but at least it will release the tension between you. Which usually leads to laughter.
Most of the time after a cry, someone starts laughing. We laugh about how hard it has been and how silly it is to get so upset over a history test. This is the time to be a little silly. To make funny faces, tell a goofy joke, make memories. Just laugh. Keep funny videos saved on YouTube for just these moments.
Then move on. Each day is a new day. It gives you new opportunities to accomplish what you set out to do. Dwelling on what happened earlier in the week is not helpful. Instead be strong and positive and move forward. This is why we end the weeks with science experiments and fun projects. It is something to look forward to. Don’t get so wrapped up in finishing that you miss the journey. Your children will not remember every single thing you worked on over the years, but they will remember the fun times you had. Remember to focus on the goal and move past the small bumps in the road.
Remember you aren’t alone
Most of all just remember that you can do it. Always remember the reason that you are homeschooling. Write it down if you need to. Also, know that you are not alone. Every single homeschool mother has experienced whatever it is you are going through. Reach out to others if you can. Discuss it with your spouse and come up with a plan. Get your children involved in figuring out how to make it better. They will take more ownership in their behavior and it will help you in the end. Just don’t let a bad week get the better of you. There are ways to fix it.