From time to time during our homeschooling adventure I have had one of those days. The kind we all face once in a while. The kind of day where you wake up in the morning, perhaps you overslept your alarm and you don’t have enough time to sit with a cup of coffee and read the news before getting the kids up to have breakfast and start lessons. You lay there in bed looking at the ceiling and wishing for a do-over, even though the day has hardly begun. You are not particularly looking forward to homeschooling today. You really wish you could spend the day doing “mommy things” like reading a book in the backyard with a cup of tea, or knitting, or catching up on the laundry and the dishes, or even re-organizing the pantry. Anything but homeschooling. You just don’t feel like it today!
I think it is one of those dirty little secrets of homeschooling that no matter how clean and organized and industrius we make our homeschooling look from the outside, inside we still have those days.
I usually just push myself through a day like that, regardless of how icky I might feel. And I have learned that if I am feeling too icky and the feeling rubs off on the children, it is either time to watch an nature documentary or do an art project or go play in the park. At that point the best thing to do is call it quits before the hole of ickiness you have dug gets too deep. I suppose that being able to abort on days like that is perhaps the best part about homeschooling.
But how do you avoid getting to a “day of ick”?
I realize that in practice there will be no avoiding it. We are all going to get to those icky days once in a while, but I discovered a smal change we made that acts as a nearly-impenetrable ick deterrent for us. All I did was reschedule our week to make sure that there is one thing, even if it is a little thing, that we do for lessons each day that I, personally, really love.
When we schedule and plan schooling for our kids, we always think about what they need to learn for a given grade level and where their desires lead them to extra subjects that enhance their happiness and love of learning. But do we ever think about what we, as mothers, like and enjoy and want to teach? I bet that the answer is most often, “No.”
I gave some thought to what I love most about my kids’ lessons and rearranged the schedule so that each day we do something that I really like. For me it is reading specific books aloud to my kids. And so I picked five of them and spend some time at the end of each day’s lesson time reading from the book of the day. It makes each day unique and special and fun for us.
And guess what? It gets be out of bed in the morning with the same siren-song as the promise of a full pot of freshly brewed coffee.
When the alarm goes off each morning at zero-dark-thiry, I smile with anticipation for that one special activity we will be doing for lessons that day. It keeps the days of ick at bay for me, at least so far.
We start roughly on time each day, I end up feeling like the day is longer and I get more done, and we don’t end up skipping lessons no one really likes very much. We power through simply because I am driving happily towards that one special activity. And because I am happy and having fun, my kids do to. And they are now teenagers, so that is saying something about the power of this plan.
Give it a try and let me know if it works for you too!
You can find more posts like this one on my blog at www.byebyebrickandmortar.com where I journal about the trials and blessings of homeschooling my children, post downloads to share, and insights I find along the way.