While I plan over the summer, everything looks great on paper. The Amazon.com boxes begin piling at the front door and I carefully stack the freshly copied pages on clean shelves. It is going to be a great year! I think to myself. Then, a couple months in, I realize that something isn’t quite working.
It is hard to get all the school work done, the house chores completed, the errands run, dinner made and still have time to re-think what we are doing and what exactly isn’t working. That is where I was two weeks ago. I couldn’t figure out what was making life so much harder and more time consuming than last year. I finally realized, I needed a day to re-plan.
Here are some things that helped me find my way back on track:
- Ask for some quiet time to think. Get a sitter, have your husband take the kids out for pizza, or just let the family know you will be unavailable for a couple hours and lock yourself away in a quiet room. You need a chance to be alone with your thoughts and lots of interruptions will make things harder.
- Define what is important in your day. For me, that was meals on time, school done close to noon, Bible everyday and the house not being completely trashed.
- List what IS working. I knew we were eating all our meals on time, reading and math were getting done daily and on time and our home was livable.
- List what is missing. I felt like we were pushing through and lacked joy in daily things. We were not getting to the science and history as often as I would like, and we weren’t finding time for all the fun projects I planned. Also, I wanted the children to have more time to play with other children.
- Search for alternatives. I knew I couldn’t get all the experiments done that I wanted the kids to get to do. I was just too tired and I didn’t have enough time. So I asked my husband if he would do the “labs” with the kids if I did the reading parts. Now, on Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, I can have an hour to clean or prep (or relax!) and my husband gets to do something fun with the kids.
- Pull everything out if you need to. I had no idea how to get in all the Tapestry stuff I really wanted to be doing. So I pulled out all the history resources I had bought for the year and started breaking it down into mini lessons. The Charlotte Mason part of me loved the short lessons and I knew I could manage it in pieces much easier. Also, the shortened lessons let me stick pieces into empty spaces in my day, like reading church history to one child while the other was taking her ballet lesson.
- Put it back on paper. It was hard for me to remember how I decided to rearrange things, so I drafted up a new schedule (I didn’t use times on it, just a general outline). I can now refer to it when I need to.
- Try it out for a month, then repeat if need be– with help. If you get to where things are better, but still something isn’t working, have your spouse or a homeschooling friend sit down with you and look for solutions. I am constantly amazed at how my husband can easily think of solutions that never occurred to me and completely solved my problem.
This post is linked to Helpful Homeschool Hints.
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