I’m happy to introduce you to todays guest poster Patti from Joyful Mama! Are you having a rough day with the kids? Patti shares tips to turn your day around! Even if you do not homeschool, this post applies to you!
You’ve embarked on your first year of homeschooling with enthusiasm, color-coded schedule in one hand, booklist in the other. The school room is decorated, the craft supplies lined up in a tidy row, and you just know that the whole family is going to have a blast!
The first day of school arrives. Everything goes fairly well, but not quite according to schedule. The next day the five-year-old pops up and down from the table like a jack-in-the-box, and the schedule slips a bit more. Before the week is out you’re on the phone to another homeschooling mom wailing, “This is impossible! These kids can’t sit still! I feel like I’m going crazy!!”
Real life is always more complicated than the tidy schedules we lay out on paper. Every successful homeschooling mom has had her hair pulling moments! Take a deep breath, remember that they are little, and try a few of these ideas on for size.
Don’t punish a kid for being a kid
Be discerning about the motivation behind your child’s behavior. Is she crying because she is willfully disobeying or because she is exhausted? Is he leaping up from his chair when it’s table time because he didn’t listen to the rules, or because he’s really excited about something he just learned?
One of the blessings of homeschooling is the freedom to include character training in your child’s day. Yes, children need to learn obedience, generosity, patience, respect. But remember that learning is a process. Be patient and consistent. And be mindful of their hearts.
Pay attention to physical needs
You know how hard it is to be patient with your toddler when the baby woke to nurse several times in the night? Tired people have a lot less self-control.
If your child is not towing the line during school time, think about his physical needs. Is he tired? Hungry? Hot? Cold?
Little people get even more distracted than grownups by sensory input. Set up a physical environment for your child that helps him learn.
Be aware of rhythms in the day
Pay attention to the time of day your child seems the most attentive. If it is first thing in the morning, do your schoolwork then. I prefer to start with Bible, then move right into the child’s most challenging subject while she is fresh.
On the other hand, you may have a baby who is very distracting, and naps in the early afternoon. You might want to schedule school to take place during the baby’s nap instead. The rhythm of your day may need to be based on the baby, more than your older child’s energy level.
Plan active pursuits to alternate with calmer tasks. It often works well to have small children run around outside for 30 minutes before expecting them to sit quietly at the table. Little people need regular breaks to move their bodies.
Change things up
If you are inside and things start to get hairy, go outside! If the math worksheet is dragging out tortuously, switch to a math game. Don’t be afraid to turn the schedule upside down to meet your family’s real needs. You are in charge, not that piece of paper!
Keep a long-term perspective
What’s your goal here Mama?
Are you trying to keep up with that amazing blogger with incredible Pinterest boards?
Or are you trying to nurture godly children and grow them in knowledge of the world God made?
You’re not constrained to one academic year for getting in everything you think needs to be accomplished. Unlike school teachers, you have your students under your roof for 18 years.
On crazy days, take a deep breath, and remember your long term goals. They will help you keep perspective as you navigate the unexpected in your daily life with young homeschoolers.
And most of all, have fun!
Patti is a transplanted New Englander living in central Texas and having the adventure of a lifetime! Her days are filled with homeschooling her three children, homesteading, and trying to keep a sense of humor.
Once gripped by fear, Patti’s life has been steadily transformed as she has followed hard after Jesus. “The journey to joy is a long one… in choosing to love I’m finding joy even in the hard places. I muddle through, trying to see His beauty in the midst of the dirt and work of life. It is always there.”
Image Credit: Pete