Do you sometimes feel like you’re losing your mind? Whether you’re feeling uninspired, overwhelmed, or just having kid problems, we’ve all been there.
We’ve come up with 14 ways to keep your wits (& your sanity).
1. Do you have a plan?
Shhh…I won’t tell anyone if your plan was “Uh. .. do school at home. ” Maybe your intention was to escape a failing system, a bully, or the constant rush. For whichever reason you started, you may be finding out that your original idea of homeschooling lacked something. What are your learning goals for your kids? What about your child’s goals? Which philosophy fits your style & your child’s ? It’s time to lay out your plan– the one that works for your unique family’s needs.
2. Is your plan in place, but you need to reorganize?
Don’t be afraid to change the order of your units, throw out activities that won’t work for you, and improve the focus on a more customized approach for your child. It will make life and learning easier. It just makes sense.
3. Are you running a marathon? Slow down.
Is your pace too fast? If you feel overwhelmed and your kids are exhausted, you might be taking on too much in hopes of fitting in more learning when instead your child is tuning you out. More doesn’t always mean more. Doing less means sacrificing quantity, but it’s a great way to gain quality.
4. Are you taking time to reflect?
Over the years, I’ve chosen numerous activities and lessons that sounded great to me, but weren’t a good fit for my learners. Think deeply about that struggling unit. Is it a struggle because of the pace, level of depth, learning style, or some other reason? Use that knowledge when another lesson or unit is falling flat or when you’re planning an upcoming unit. It will save you time and trouble.
Keep in mind that what your child engages with is what you want to fuel. If you have a budding young scientist, urging her to write poetry could work-if you use chemical compositions as an idea. Dig; there are crazy and fun resources like that out there.
5. What about inspiration?
Kids and adults need a change of schedule, access to new ideas, and to try new things. Read up on self- directed learning, watch a Ted Talk on a topic that inspires you, or go shoot some photos to go with a unit study. Mix it up to engage more in learning!
6. Is it time for a reboot?
Online learning sites know they’ve got you roped in. After all, you paid for a year, so you’re kind of stuck (& so is your child). Unfortunately, many families invest big bucks in a boxed curriculum only to discover that it didn’t suit their needs. Plugging through anyway for months or years certainly isn’t increasing a love of learning. Think about a radical change. Get some advice about how to recreate your learning experience.
7. Who’s responsible for the learning?
As you can imagine, this question evokes lots of confusion by parents. Usually the parents feel responsible for choosing the learning, but feel it’s the child’s responsibility to take those choices and turn it into learning. Loosening your grip on responsibility and handing over more responsibility to your child is frightening (no lie), but isn’t the learning mostly his responsibility anyway? Find out how others hand over the responsibility of learning to their children; even to young kids.
8. Do you already have some resources?
Those math puzzle pages from last year that your child loved so much can be redone for practice, reworked by changing the operation, or cut apart to make board game cards. Don’t throw out those old resources if they worked before. Review doesn’t hurt and if some time goes by, your child may not even catch on until he’s already having fun.
9. Do you need some new resources?
Most people are happy to share new ideas. Before you start using them, make sure they work for you and your family though. Don’t invest in something that will cost a lot of money without asking someone about free resources that will do the same. BrainPop allows non- subscribers access to a limited number of videos and games so you can decide if you really want to invest. Check with your local public school about access to their online resources and be sure to check for resources reviews online too. Don’t bypass your library as only a place to find books. Educational videos galore reside in some libraries and they’re free! Getting someone else to build you a unit or lesson can take the pressure off and though it’s not free, it will be tailored to your unique child. (Yes, we do that too.)
10. When did you last take a trip off the beaten path?
Instead of a story, try a play. Instead of a chapter in a book, how about a museum day? Ask your local fire station or Chikfila for a tour (yes, they really will do it). Baking is an easy cross-curricular activity and you get to eat your creation! Get a behind-the-scenes look at how things work and revitalize your learning.
11. When did you last do some of your own learning?
Take a workshop on how to use Science Notebooks with your kids, take a Skillshare class, watch some videos on how children learn. Remember what it’s like to be excited about new ideas and to struggle with concepts. It will make you a better teacher too!
12. Is it time for a Girls’ Night Out?
Check out a local Facebook group for Mom’s Night Out, rent a movie and clear out the kids, call up a friend you haven’t seen in ages. Relaxing is a chance to re-energize and veg out.
13. Is your current view of learning all encompassing?
Take it week by week, day by day, or just hour by hour. You’ll notice more positive if you narrow your focus. Don’t let your current reality cloud your future. Looking at learning holistically can alleviate some of those day-to-day concerns.
14. Reward yourself.
Set up small goals to keep your patience during this report writing & vow not to yell at the computer when it glitches again. Then, reward yourself and take an hour to read a book outside while you eat lunch. Savor that chocolate bar at the end of a long day. You deserve it because homeschooling isn’t always easy, but you didn’t lose your head and your kids’ learning was worth it!