Let’s face it, life can be pretty crazy…
Mine at the moment?? Chaos… absolute chaos. (read why here)
While I am used to a measure of craziness, the whole, being in transition and packing up my life, thing has taken it to a whole new level.
At times like these it would be so much easier to pack my kids up in the morning and send them off to school. I’d get things done without that little voice in the back of my head saying, “you’re a slacker homeschool mom, your kids aren’t learning anything.”
I know I’m not alone here. Some of my friends have been through the wringer this year, deaths in the family, illness, husbands traveling for work… you know that whole life thing that gets in the way of those perfect little lesson plans that we set out at the beginning of the year.
I decided about 2 weeks ago that I was going to take steps to reduce my stress, help my kids transition easier, and feel ok about being a slacker.
Because let’s face it there are times when we have to give ourselves a break and realize that flexibility is one of life’s greatest gifts!!
So here’s my tips for fellow homeschoolers, whether you are going on vacation, dealing with a sudden change, in the middle of moving, recovering from illness… or any other time that the lesson plan just isn’t going to work..
– Stick with the basics– Reading and math are the two subjects we make sure to get done. Let’s face it, science, history, geography are all great and important subjects, but at the end of the day developing reading and math skills help get those things done. It’s easy for us to catch up in those subjects. But reading daily, and practicing math are a must.
– Use technology to your advantage– We all remember being in school and having a week where we watched a movie during class instead of the teacher teaching. Did you ever wonder what was going on in their life that they didn’t feel up to working through that lesson plan? There is no shame in having your kids watch “The Magic School Bus” or any other educational program in place of teaching. Look on You-Tube or Netflix and find something that fits with what you’ve been studying and let someone else do the teaching ( your kids will probably pay more attention to them anyway!!)
–Prioritize – Maybe you’ve entered a project fair, or have something on your “must do” list that is pressing. Maybe you need a few more things in your kid’s portfolio for an end of the year review. Put those at the top of your list and if they’re all you work on in a day, let that be ok.
– Check yourself– These are times when we’ll say, “It’s like my kids know how stressed I am and they choose now to act up and be uncooperative.” Ahem… *raises hand* guilty here… Chances are that whatever is going on in your life is effecting the kiddos just as strongly as its effecting you. Understand that and go into any schooling with the idea of taking it easy, not putting any pressure on you or the kids, and knowing that your attitude is key in making things run smoothly.
–Incorporate your situation into learning -Every life situation is an opportunity for learning. We’re putting our stuff in a storage unit, so let’s figure out how much it can hold? We’re renting it for 6 months, what’s the total cost going to be? What month’s will we be living at the lake? What season’s are those in? (remember I’m covering kindergarten and 5th grade here!) Is there furniture we’re putting in the cabin, let’s measure it and figure out how much space it will take up… If you’re traveling for some reason look up your destination and study it, figure out travel expenses… Obviously if you’ve had a death in the family this idea doesn’t work, that would be kind of morbid… but there’s a lot to be learned in most situations!
– Keep journals – One way to help kids transition and get them writing is by keeping a journal. It might be a way for them to get out some of their feelings or to chronicle what is happening in their life. Either way it gets them writing, and thinking and is not something that requires a ton of supervision or direction from mom.
– Give yourself a break– There is a common thought process in almost all of the home school moms I know. The one where we’re worried that we’re screwing up our kids. The one where we’re sure we’re not doing enough, not teaching enough, not accomplishing enough. The one that tells us that we have something to prove to the rest of the world who question our ability to teach our children. The one that during tough, busy, tumultuous times, rears its ugly head and makes us want to throw in the towel….
No one knows your kids better than you, no one knows your life better than you, and no one knows you better than you. When your family is going through something you know how to handle it, and how to make it work. Trust yourself, trust your ability, and know that what you’re doing is exactly the right thing for right now.
– Remember you’ve got the summer… and next year. – Let’s face it, everyone (especially homeschool moms) looks forward to summer vacation. But if you really have to you can squeeze in a little school work here and there if you have to catch up. And think about how much of the first part of the school year is review, a lot can be learned during that time. Don’t worry you’ll get it done.
Life is so very full of… well life… sometimes we have to alter our plans, go with the flow, and do our best in the circumstances we’re in!
Have you ever homeschooled through a crazy time? I’d love to hear how you balance it all!!
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