Mid-Year Slump

In case you haven’t noticed… Homeschooling is not a destination, it’s a journey.  And there are days when that journey feels tiresome, thankless and down-right LONG!  It is at this time of year – over half way in, but not yet to spring – that we can begin to feel sluggish, frustrated, uncertain and especially unmotivated when it comes to teaching and making school interesting.  What we need is a big heaping platter of encouragement and focus served up.  Well, I’m serving it up for you right here.

Interestingly, this is the time of year that many parents are tempted to quit.  But it would be the worst time to do so.  I’ll tell you why in a sec…

I’m reminded of a spin cycle (stationary bike) class that I took recently.  About 30 minutes into the 1 hour class, I was dying and ready to quit.  I have never done a class like this before and I was absolutely exhausted.  I saw water droplets splashing onto the handle bars in front of me and I thought that it was just sweat.  Then, I realized that I was crying.  I was tired, overwhelmed, unfocused and ready to get off of the bike and walk out of the gym.

But I decided to give it 5 more minutes.  Some things happened in those 5 minutes that are a little hard to explain.  I gained focus, began to feel stronger and saw the light at the end of the tunnel – the hour hand climbing up to the 12.  My perspective improved.  I began to feel encouraged… Encouraged that I could actually finish, that I would be stronger when finished, and that I would accomplish what I had started.  I would give myself a big pat on the back!

This is how the word picture relates to homeschooling… We are 30 to 40 minutes into the workout.  We’re tired, unfocused and possibly overwhelmed.  If we give up now, we will feel beat, unsatisfied and might even become down-right hard on ourselves.  It’s time to give just 5 figurative minutes more – in this case, 1 month – to regain our focus, to refresh ourselves and to remember why we started this journey in the first place.

Side note: 50% off homeschooling classes which will do just that – Homeschooling ABCs and Upper Level Homeschool – until Sunday, March 6th.

Here’s the first step… We need a dose of reality.  Everything worthwhile requires effort.  Here are some hard things that are absolutely worth the effort:

  • Marriage
  • Parenting
  • Quite times
  • Healthy eating
  • Regular exercise
  • Keeping house
  • Reconciliation

Homeschooling is also hard, but very worth every effort that you make for it.

Here’s the second step…  Find like-minded friends to walk with you on your homeschooling journey.  Internet friends are great, but real life friends are even better.   A great place to find like-minded homeschooling parents that can encourage you along the way is your local homeschooling support group and/or co-op.  Contact your state organization to find a local homeschool support group near you.  Homeschooling friends can act as a compass for you on this journey, pointing out the way.  Or perhaps more like a guide, not only showing the way, but walking alongside.  A homeschool friend may give you the push, or word of encouragement, that you need when the roads get steep.  Or maybe a friend will act like a windbreaker, allowing you to remain in the draft, by taking on some of your load for a short time (like watching your kids for you or teaching your kids a subject).

On a similar note, you may be able to act in any of these roles for a friend who is going through a difficult time and needs some encouragement and support.

Here’s step three… Establish good routines and habits that will work for you when you don’t have much energy to push forward.  It takes about 30 days to establish a good habit.  Work on 1 or 2 good habits with your kids this month and then add another one next month after these are well established.  Perhaps you want to focus on developing a good morning routine, or solidifying the chore schedule.  Maybe you would like to focus on kind words proceeding from their mouths, or putting away their school books when finished.  Pick one thing to work on this month and keep at it.  Soon, you won’t have to ask.  It will be habit.

Finally, step four… THIS might be a good time to try something new, to shake things up a bit, to pull you or your kids out of the doldrums.  Some ideas could be…

  • A unit study
  • A field trip
  • A new curriculum
  • A historical feast

We just had a pioneer dinner the other night, consisting of cornbread, beans and bacon, with molasses drizzled over all.  Of course, everyone had to come in costume!  These are great ways to jumpstart school and make it interesting once again.

pioneer table setting

cheers

plate

yum

Yum!

I hope that I have given you some good encouragement to hang in there and finish the race, or at least the school year.  If you find yourselves in a slump, or with the blues or blahs or anything else that sounds dreary, follow these 4 steps and get the help and refreshment that you need.

Also, remember that our homeschooling classes are on sale at 50% off this week.  These might be just the ticket to get you fired up about homeschooling once again!

Homeschooling ABCs

Upper Level Homeschool

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 28th, 2011 at 6:46 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Mid-Year Slump”

Misty March 4th, 2011 at 2:10 am

Great post! Just what I needed to read. Thanks for all the great tips. :)

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