I read a blog post this morning about a mom who had a rough first week (although she also enjoyed her first week). You can read it here. This got me to thinking about my first week last year. As I reflected I realized that it actually took us many months before we finally fell into a groove and things felt "normal"- what ever that is.
In the midst of homeschooling is something called "life". In the case of the blogger I mentioned above there was a move to a new home and some exciting weekend activities before the start of the school year. I think for some of us we just don't really know what to expect. We may have an idea of what the typical day will look like but when the day looks completely different we begin to fret. So here are some things I learned this past year:
1. There is no typical day :) And my "Normal", will not look like "your normal".
2. Tomorrow is another day (maybe a day to start over, maybe a day to finish, maybe a day to start or implement something new.
3. If something isn't working for you or your children don't force it, make it work for your family- who cares what the family down the street is doing if it doesn't work for you.
4. Don't fret the small stuff- and most of it, is the small stuff.
5. Don't forget to stop and pray for grace (for your self and for your children).
6. Homeschooling is such a wonderful gift for your children, how special that we get to spend this time with and watch our children as they grow. ENJOY IT.
7. Difficult days are part of the deal. We ALL have bad days! Let it go and refer to #2.
8. Your homeschooling may go a little smoother if you treat it with respect and make it important. So for me I learned I had to block out that chunk of time "FOR SCHOOL". Not for laundry, or emptying my dishwasher etc. I no longer take phone calls during our school time, and I try VERY HARD not to schedule anything during our school hours that can be scheduled at another time. (No repairmen, no doctors, no park play etc). Once I made this change I felt more relaxed and was able to fall into a groove with routines and predictability. It made the day go so much smoother.
9. Let's talk supplies- Have them ready the night before. This is part of #8. I do not plan, or prep homeschool materials during our school time. For me having everything ready the night before makes my day feel more organized and relaxed. If I HAVE to prepare something during the school day I wait until we have a stopping point and I let the kids their 15 minute break while I take care of whatever. But I NEED this break sometimes so I really do not like planning or prepping at this time. I used to try to do a load of laundry or make a phone call etc during this break but it added to my sense of frustration when things ran long, or I couldn't find what I needed etc. Now I use this time to check my email and have a cup of coffee. It gives me a chance to recharge.
10. Curriculum: If curriculum is what is making you feel despair, frustration, or unhappy remember you have the freedom to change/ alter or supplement to your heart's content. Don't feel obligated to continue using a curriculum that is NOT a good fit for your family.
The first week, month or months may leave you feeling less than fulfilled. You may wonder what you are doing wrong, or you may begin to feel guilty that you are not enjoying homeschooling. I've learned that most families experience this to some degree. Here is another tidbit- you may feel this way periodically after months of good days. Guess what? That is pretty common as well. Hang in there, don't despair! It does get better! Refer back to #2!