Some homeschool days are just difficult.
With so much cold and rainy weather the past few months it seems that we have had our share of difficult days.
Sometimes even sunny days can be dreary homeschool days. You know what I mean.
Changing moods of mothers and children, unexpected illnesses, and LIFE in general, lead to days that can challenge me in HUGE ways.
At the end of the day, however, when things are quiet and I've had a chance to look back on what has transpired, I can always pull some good out of the day's events. I'm also learning how to deal with those dreary days, and sometimes even to reverse the course of a dreary day.
Perhaps these five tips (that seem to work quite well in our homeschool) might work well for you, too.
Lower Your Expectations
When I can just tell things are going south in our day, I try to lower my expectations. Maybe we won't get every single thing done I had planned.
Is it more important to ram through every subject (trampling little hearts in the process), or is it more important to put "work" on the back burner and just be present with our children?
This is SO hard for me. I am a list type of gal. I like many things to be accomplished in a day. I am not a person who doles out sympathy easily.
As a dear friend texted me just today... our children are "holy sandpaper". Think about that. Our children are refining us every minute of every day. Sometimes it is rough, isn't it?
Play Games and Read Books
On a recent "dreary" day I ditched formal schoolwork in lieu of games.
And guess what?
You often can learn MORE when you are playing games than when you are doing bookwork.
Our new favorite learning game is Rummy Roots. This game is basically a Go Fish game for Latin and Greek word roots. It has lots of levels and can get quite hard. We're on the easiest version now and I'm learning lots, too.
There's nothing like building some great vocabulary skills on a dreary homeschool day. It's even ok to laugh while you are playing. I think I even caught a dreary face smiling.
I've also written about our favorite card games - we especially love Salute the King.
Whatever it is that your children love to play, pull it out and PLAY IT WITH THEM. Sometimes we just need to be moms and not drill sargeants, right?
Reading aloud also has the power to soothe most anything.
This week we've been reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. Try reading that book aloud without laughing. I dare you.
Listen to Music
You know what an advocate of music I am!
We have some favorite music that always makes us happy. Even my middle grades daughter (who is increasingly hard to make laugh these days) cracks up when I turn on these tunes.
Personally, The Hamster Dance always makes my kids laugh, as does anything Veggie Tales and Beethoven's Wig.
Or, maybe it's as simple as letting your kids get out the paints and colored pencils and putting on relaxing classical music while they create art.
You know your children and what they enjoy.
On dreary homeschool days, give it to them. It shows your children that they are more important to you than having a perfect homeschool day.
Talk to a Friend
I have one friend in particular whom I can text any time during the day. She is supportive of me no matter what and always has something encouraging and helpful to say.
Another friend offers encouragement to me via social media. Just today she tweeted me a free printable: The 10 Point Manifesto of Joyful Parenting from Ann Voskamp. She knew I was having a hard day and ministered to me in such a tangible way.
Checking my Twitter feed was such a blessing!
Print the manifesto RIGHT NOW and put it up somewhere prominent in your home.
Do Not Take It Personally
This is SO HARD for me.
As we are entering the pre-teen/teen years in our home I know I need to work on this.
I cannot take a dreary homeschool day personally. Somtimes life isn't perfect and sometimes there are just BAD DAYS.
My sweet friend Christine reminded me of this fact today, and I am thankful for her.
I believe homeschool moms are very hard on themselves. It is a blessing and a curse. We cannot take the bad days to heart or else our spirits will grow weary.
These 5 helps are good strategies to combat a dreary homeschool day, but the very best defense mechanism is PRAYER.
I've resolved to keep a quiet place in my house where I can go to regroup, refocus, and pray, when a day isn't going in the direction I had hoped. How about printing encouraging scripture to keep in your special place?
What about you? How do you combat a dreary homeschool day?