Confession: I just don’t wanna homeschool today.
You see, I took the last 2 weeks off of homeschooling while we went through a move. It was a local move, but it has still been anything but a break for us as a family.
At the risk of sounding whiny, here are all the reasons I’m screaming “I don’t wanna!” on the inside:
- Um, we moved our entire house from one place to another. I’m physically, emotionally, and mentally done.
- During the move, we discovered that our previous landlord is either crazy or very crooked. It has been stressful to say the least.
- The day we discovered the landlord was crazy, is the same day my husband had to fly across the country for a trip we had planned months ago. So I was left with setting up the new house, handling the old house, and taking care of our three kids.
- I am pretty tired. I haven’t slept well in the new house as I can’t shut my brain off at night from worrying about the crazy landlord and why our new kitchen was built with only 1.5 drawers. Melatonin is my friend.
- I feel pretty blah from eating a stress diet of way too much coffee, PBJ, cereal, and cookies.
- During all the excitement of moving into the new house, my 5 year old decided to cut my 3 year old’s bangs down to the scalp. She showed me proudly and said she had “helped me” by cutting her bangs. I had been trying to grow those bangs out for months. She could almost tuck them behind her ears. Almost. Now I am at square -10.
- The new house was vacant for several months and is out in the country. I have been killing spiders and other creepy crawlies inside and outside the house more than I would care to think about as we work to establish human dominance. An enormous spider greets me outside the kitchen window every morning while I’m making coffee. It’s going to be a short friendship. The Orkin guy is coming to kill him sometime between 10a-12p today. Sorry, not sorry.
- I doggedly got everyone ready for church and out the door yesterday morning all by myself. As we triumphantly rolled into the parking lot 7 minutes early, my three year old threw up in her car seat.
I think I have a really good list of reasons to justify laying on the couch all day. In fact, I think I need a 2 week break to recover from what I just went through.
So, what am I going to do today?
Um, we’re going to do school.
I am a big fan of the flexibility of homeschooling and the ability to take breaks when needed…but that has to be kept in balance.
The first day you blow off homeschool, it makes it so much easier to do it the next day. Before you know it, you’re way behind and fighting uphill to get back on track.
Why Homeschool Consistency Matters
Being a consistent homeschooler is crucial to your overall success. It has obvious benefits to their academics, but there are two other things you may not have considered.
1. Example setting for your kids
Do you want your kids to leave your house and approach life the way you approached their homeschool lessons?
If you don’t feel like it, don’t do it?
Halfway is good enough?
If something better comes along, go for it?
Don’t miss that you are teaching work ethic, integrity, and perseverance every single day.
These are lessons that will likely benefit them much more than a lot of what you are teaching out of a book.
2. The message you’re sending
Kids are always watching, listening, and learning.
When you cancel school for what seems like frivolous reasons, they are receiving a message from you about how important school is and how much they should value it.
When you slide everything out of the way so that they have your full attention for a grammar lesson, that tells them something huge.
When you are folding laundry, talking on the phone, and they have to repeatedly ask you to help them with their work…that tells them something also.
How to Be Consistent with Homeschooling
Here are my top tips for getting your head back in the homeschool game when you really want to do anything else:
1. Fake it till you make it
Your kids can easily sense your lack of enthusiasm. They will always be about half as excited as you are about doing school. Maybe less than that.
You have to be energetic and enthusiastic with your kids about school, even when you don’t want to.
Sunday morning I intentionally started telling my kids how eager I was to start school on Monday. With sparkling eyes, I gave cryptic details about all the read aloud books, geography fun, and letter of the week activities that await them.
Pretty soon I’ll start believing the hype too!
***The other side benefit of this is that I have verbally committed to the kids that we are going to do school – which means I am more likely to follow through.
Also, remember when you’re talking to your kids to be aware of your face, words, and body language.
I cannot sigh, roll my eyes, slouch, or do anything else that communicates low energy and not wanting to “do school.”
Imagine how you would feel as a kid if you saw your mom drag herself out of a chair and groan at you, “Uh, just go to the classroom already. We have to start knocking stuff out we’ll be doing school all day.”
Now imagine your mom smiling and saying, “Alright guys, we’ve got a full day of school waiting for us – I can’t wait to get started! I think we’re gonna have a lot of fun!”
Which one inspires you and which one makes you want to go back to bed?
Which one makes you want to follow and which one makes you want to rebel?
Think about that as you talk to your kids in the morning over breakfast. Just a few sentences might make or break your day.
2. Get Organized Before You Start
Get some coffee and crack open those teacher manuals every morning. Take a few minutes to review the day’s lessons and prepare your books, supplies, etc.
Knowing what is ahead and feeling prepared absolutely motivates me and helps me be a more consistent homeschooler.
It reminds me that I can do this. It is attainable. And it might even be fun!
3. Take a Shower and Get Dressed
When your homeschool motivation is low, it can be very easy to stay in your jammies.
I find that my chances of productivity skyrocket when I take the simple step of turning on the shower and putting on comfortable clothes.
***I’m all about the homeschool mom uniform. Read more about that HERE.
4. Try a Special Monday Incentive
Monday is often the hardest mountain to climb of the week.
I am a huge fan of rewarding hard work and good attitudes with my three students.
A few weeks ago we started doing a Movie Monday incentive. If all of their work is done with a good attitude, we watch a movie that starts with whatever the letter of the week is.
The kids were all buzzing about it last night. “What is the letter of the week going to be?!” “What movie did you pick, Mom??”
I tell them that they’ll all find out after their work is done to standard.
I will likely be watching it through my eyelids on the couch – another bonus to look forward to! Winning!
Anything that puts a spark in your Monday Mojo is a good thing!
Think about what you could do to motivate your crew and get them excited about Monday – bonus points if it gets you excited too!
5. Start with Fun
When you are having a rough time getting motivated and wanting to be consistent, try to start the day off with something everyone will enjoy.
For us, that is reading from our current read aloud book – “The Secret Garden.” Everyone piles around me and wants to look at the pictures. Everyone is engaged, quiet, and listening.
It is the perfect way to start the morning off – we all love it!
What is the favorite of your homeschool?
Don’t save the best till last – do it first on the hard days!
It will bring everyone to the table and get the learning process started so much more smoothly.
6. Stop Trying to “Fit School In”
A friend of mine confessed to some homeschool struggles because they were trying to just “fit school in” during their day.
That kind of attitude is a blueprint for being an inconsistent homeschooler.
There will always be something that seems more important – cleaning up, cooking, going to see friends, preparing for company that is in town, errands, etc.
When you’re honest with yourself though, all the things that I just listed do not have long-lasting effects. They are very temporary.
Prioritizing your homeschool lessons and being consistent with them…that will have very far reaching effects.
You need to be thinking about how you can fit in laundry and dinner prep – not how you can fit in math time.
School needs to be the priority and everything else falls in around that.
That means that sometimes my family has really quick prep dinners. It also means that my house is not nearly as clean as it used to be, and that’s okay.
I have taken on a full-time job and I don’t hold myself to the standards I did when my kids all took naps.
You shouldn’t either.
7. Plan and Schedule Days Off Ahead of Time
This is so important. In order to be a consistent homeschooler, you need to have a plan.
Look at the events on your calendar and schedule your homeschool days around them.
***Isn’t it wonderful to have that freedom!
This helps you to be motivated and consistent because you know those days off are coming when you need/want them the most.
This also helps you to really enjoy certain special days and events because you’re not trying to also fit in school.
For example, I find it very stressful to do school AND prepare my house for family visiting.
I try to always schedule days off of school so that I can just focus on the family coming.
It is so freeing and helps me to keep my sanity as a homeschooler!
What do you know is coming up? Look at your schedule and start marking down when you’ll be off so you have a “light” to work towards.
***Check out my free planner at the end of this post for printables to help you do this!
8. Make sure people know your school hours
Do you have neighbors, friends, and family constantly calling, texting, and coming over when you’re trying to do school?
Do you feel pressure to shove school work to the side in order to keep up with those things?
It can be tremendously difficult to stay consistent with your homeschool lesson plans when you’re still trying to balance all the things you did before homeschooling.
There is nothing wrong with letting people know when your typical “school hours” are.
That way people know not to expect you to answer your phone or attend a play date during those hours.
Most people will be happy to respect that if you just tell them and make it clear.
9. Work to have breathing room in your schedule
Did you sign up for 400 extracurricular activities in order to “socialize” your children and now you feel like you’re drowning?
Do you feel like you’re rushing through lessons because you have somewhere to be every day?
Do you get exasperated with your kids if they take too long with a lesson because you’re going to be late to something you had planned?
Are you relieved when things get canceled?
Extracurricular things such as sports, scouting, co-ops, music lessons, etc. are great, but there are limits (especially if you have multiple kids).
If you feel like your hair is on fire every day to get all the things done – you need more “breathing room” in your schedule.
Carefully look at your schedule and start looking for things you can slice out.
Remember the majority of your focus and energy has to be on homeschooling. Everything else needs to get a smaller piece of you.
Maybe you can’t skip out on your commitments this year, but definitely make a list of what you’ll drop the following year.
I dropped three commitments last year and it has made such a difference for us!
10. Wake up before your kids.
I know, I know, I know.
You don’t want to do this.
But I promise you, it will be a game-changer for you.
When you have had a chance to wake up, take a shower, watch the news, drink coffee, look over your lesson plan, or whatever else – you will be ready to go for your kids when they get up!
You will be much more energetic, motivated, and engaged with your kids.
If you wake up late, walk around in your bathrobe while everyone yells at you what they want for breakfast, little ones try to climb in your lap so you can’t finish your coffee in peace, the kitchen is a mess with dishes because the dishwasher hasn’t been unloaded, and you still haven’t brushed your teeth…and then you see the school bus go by and you wonder what you are doing with your life…
You are setting yourself up for failure before you even start the day.
If you really want to get up early this post is a MUST read –
There you have it – How to Be a Consistent Homeschooler!
Those are my best tips for getting your head in the game when you just want to fill out their enrollment papers and go back to bed (we’ve all been there).
I know these tips will help you to be a more motivated and consistent homeschooler.
If you are looking to take it to the next level, if you want the next step towards being consistent – then you have to download my FREE Homeschool Planner!
I developed the Simple Homeschooler Planner to be a practical tool that you will actually use! It is stuffed with extra freebies (meal planner, chore charts, cleaning charts, routine card, and gratitude sheets) that I actually use to run my homeschool.
You can get it for free today when you subscribe to The Simple Homeschooler (No Spam EVER, unsubscribe anytime). You will receive Monday morning emails full of tips, encouragement, homeschool freebies, and laughs to start your week off right!
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