How has your week been? Mine has been a mixed bag. I’ve been up too late working for too many nights and insomnia’s also crept in. This week I’ve felt like I’m in slow motion and moving through thick gravy. Things aren’t getting done, deadlines are being missed, and things are falling apart (literally – my comfy jeans now have a big unfixable hole in them). What’s a homeschool Mom to do? There’s no choice but to keep moving forward. Fortunately, there are a few things that I do to try to help make homeschooling easier.
1) By the end of the day my energy is drained and I don’t want to think about what to put on the table for dinner. The best thing that’s happened to transform this part of daily life is that I now have a subscription to MyFreezEasy.com, which means it only takes a couple of hours to prep a month’s worth of freezer meals! (This post contains affiliate links) .
2) I’m a member of the Homeschool Review Crew which provides us with lots of opportunities to try various curricula and products. Sometimes it means we’re switching products frequently, but it means the children get to try out lots of things to find out what’s a good fit for them. I don’t have to worry about spending money on things that may not work for us. We use what we like, and leave what we don’t after the review period is completed. Having review deadlines keeps us going and focused at times we may not otherwise be.
3) I ask my children for their opinions and what they like to do and don’t like to do. Of course, there are some things that must be done, but if I can find a way for them to incorporate what they like, then it’s much easier for them to be interested in their work.
4) I write down the children’s assignments (and my own) ahead of time so we all know what we need to do on a particular day. I’m flexible on the order in which they do their work, but I do aim for them to complete the tasks. Then the kids can cross of what they’ve completed as the day goes on.
5) I also make sure to schedule in something fun for each day. It could be a game of Boggle Slam or Around The World Snap to keep things ‘educational,’ but it helps break up the day for all of us and shows the children I do want them to have fun and not just ‘do work.’
6) I try to be flexible. There always seems to be an unexpected appointment, technical problems, or an illness to throw things off-kilter. It goes against my previous, non-kid ways, but I try to go with the flow. Some days are great, and others need some relaxation of the schedule.
7) Because of #7, I rarely schedule assignments more than a week ahead. When something crops up unexpectedly, I hate to feel like a failure because not everything had gone ‘according to plan.’ If I know there’s something that needs to be done without fail, then I’ll mark that down so we don’t forget and can plan around it that week, but otherwise, I have a loose plan in my head, and I only write it down weekly (and sometimes daily) as we go.
8) When we need to stop to keep our sanity….it’s okay. Sometimes things just can’t go on. A kid is sick, or like this week – I was just too exhausted to function. Because we homeschool year-round and our area doesn’t have strict requirements that must be met, we’re free to do what we can when we can, and it all works out in the end. Take a day or a week off and then start again one class at a time until you’re back up to speed.
9) If your children are able to take classes together, that certainly helps save time and energy. My children are two years apart so their math and reading abilities are different. However, for the most part, art, science, geography, history, etc. are done together. As the eldest, I expect Tristan to go a little deeper into the topics than Kallista. Kallista doesn’t want to feel left behind and her involvement keeps Tristan motivated to keep going to stay ahead so this works well for us.
10) I make use of nearby resources. We’re semi-rural and I don’t drive here – but that doesn’t stop us from visiting the art gallery, going for walks by the sea, the park, or in the countryside to observe and appreciate nature. The library is our second home, and stopping at the shops is a way to practice math in real life. We don’t complicate life by having a packed schedule of activities all over the county. Over-stressing our personal limits won’t result in a happy home life.
11) Learn your own rhythm. Listen to your body, and observe your children. Find out when each of you work best. Is it first thing in the morning, after lunch, or later in the day? I know I crash out after 1:00 pm, so I plan the majority of ‘must be dones’ in the morning, and then other things are in the afternoon. I can relax with a cup of tea, and sometimes even an occasional lie-down if needed while the kids work on an art project, do silent reading, or play with Lego. There’s no sense in trying to learn a new math concept at the lowest focus point in the day, it just won’t work.
Sometimes all of this works very well for us and we’re on a roll and everyone is happy. At other times it falls apart and I resort to #8 and we have a break. Sometimes the schedule needs to be looked at and changed up to keep everyone interested. Phil’s on vacation from work next week so I’ve planned fewer subjects for the kids each day, but I have also included a unit study on Queen Victoria and practice for a radio play of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea for all of us to work on together as a family. We’ll spend some time all together while having fun and yet still learning. I’m really looking forward to it, and I know the kids will find it a treat to have Dad doing school, too. And don’t tell the kids, but there’s a Halloween movie for review on the way, so I better make sure we have a good supply of popcorn.
I’m not sure if anyone has it all together all at the same time. You’ll notice that I didn’t even mention housework above – I try my best, but I often don’t live up to my own standards – this is an area I’m still trying to get right. But with dinners out of the way thanks to MyFreezEasy, that will clear up some time for me to sweep and mop. And then there’s working from home and other commitments…..let’s just not go there today! But I do find that if we’ve had a good day of school and feel accomplished in that area, it carries through to other areas and sets us up for a good day overall.
Yes, I’m worn out and ragged wearing these holey jeans, but I’m starting to feel better after a night’s rest (here’s hoping I can get a few more), 6-8 inches cut off my hair, knowing we’ll have time together as a family this upcoming week, and I’m even taking two days off from my virtual assistant job at the end of the week for that extra movie night. Things are starting to look up.
Now tell me, how has your week been? If you have things that work for you to keep everything all together, please do share them with me in the comments!