Let me tell you, this Christmas break was needed. I wasn’t planning on a 3 week break from school- more like 2. But the beauty of homeschooling is flexibility. So we added a week to our break.
But now I have to play catch up on lesson planning.
I love lesson planning. It is fun to chart out goals and drink coffee at the same time. There is always a little trepidation when I plan, because I know- I KNOW- that plans change and fail. I know that it is hard to stay on track- especially with so many to teach.
So how do I stay on track? How do I keep the kids focused?
I make a chart for each of them with their assignments for the week; this includes lessons, tests, homework for the younger ones, and any other expectations they have academically. I must approve their work to be checked off. No checkie, no move on-ie.
They also have five coordinating file folders- one for each day of the week. Assignments and quizzes and tests are filed for each day and when they finish, they go in my folder to be graded or looked over. Now, if I’m on top of things, this is done quickly. If I’m not… I know it is there.
The kids seem to thrive on this system. When we fall away from it (and we do…), the consequences are noticeable.
So what happens when we start slacking? Do I beat myself up mentally?
No. Life happens.
Think about it. You are running a household 24/7 PLUS teaching your kiddos. Most parents send their kids to school for that, because they realize how big a task it truly is! Mama, it is a HUGE undertaking. Never downplay that.
And kids get sick. YOU get sick. An emergency arises. Or maybe not. Maybe you are all stir crazy and just need to get out of the house. Field trips take time, but are so helpful to learning. The list of interruptions is endless. And let’s remember- people are more important than schedules.
So I do not beat myself up when we get off course. I know we will get back on and crush it again. When I beat myself up mentally about getting sidetracked, I have a more difficult time jumping back on board.
“See? You are in over your head.”
“Why did you think you could even do this?”
“You can’t stick to anything…. why bother even trying?”
When I embrace the uncertainty- which God says will come- I can give myself grace.
“Well, I got to catch up with my friend. I really needed that.”
“We’ve been working so hard, God knew we needed a break.”
“Let’s tweak this schedule to make it work for us.”
“So glad that we could do this field trip. It will really enrich our lesson time.”
Then pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. You can do this.
It is so easy to get off balance in this area. There are those of us who thrive on schedule and order, and when the unexpected arises, our entire being is sent into a tailspin. Then some of us just throw out the system entirely when we get off track. Neither way is best.
So here are a few ways to deal with the unexpected in homeschooling… the rest of life may not apply. : )
1. Be realistic about getting back on track.
Was there a death in the family? Did you just have a baby or relocate? Every circumstance is different, but do not place an unreasonable expectation on yourself or your children. It will most likely end in frustration and getting further behind. Take the time you need to do what you need to do.
2. Focus on the interruption.
If a child is sick, take care of your patient. If a friend needs a helping hand or listening ear, be there. Don’t spend a field trip worrying about how to make up lessons. Be in the moment and address the matter at hand, whatever it is. We can only really be great at one thing at a time.
3. Make a restart goal.
I know, I know, I said the complete opposite thing in point #1. It would be grand to live in vacation land forever, but the fact remains that there is work to be done. Life marches on. Plan a date to begin again and stick to it. I broadcast it to others so I have some accountability.
4. Assess making up.
Do you remember being in school and having a sick day? Your classmate would drop by your necessary assignments to make up. Teacher was usually pretty lenient about the work, because she/he knew one day will not ruin your academic trajectory. Remember that. A whole unit on addition is a bigger deal than one day of averaging.
5. Never give up. Ever.
If throwing in the towel is never an option, you will never throw in the towel. Be determined to continue on even if you hit more bumps and interruptions than a slalom ski hill. That is the nature of life with kids.
So, let’s get back on the homeschool train without the extra baggage of guilt and frustration of messed up schedules! Do you have a tip that helps you in the midst of interruption? Share in the comments and help other moms out!