Who has a homeschooling slump in the fall?
In all of our years of homeschooling (11 so far!). I, we, have never had such a dramatic slump in the middle of fall. January, February, or March? Of course. Especially when we lived in Michigan. Limping along at the end of May? You bet. But fall? Fall is my jam. Normally the first half of the year is rolling along with little to no worries. NOT perfect of course, but rolling along adequately enough.
Until this year.
Our first term was glorious. On schedule, very few if any interruptions, no sickness. Our next term? We have been like turtles stick in quick sand. Dental appointments, ortho appointments, a broken finger, academic testing, and a virus that ran very slowly through all of the kids. Oh, and a couple of hurricanes didn’t helped either. All of these events have conspired to make this a fairly unproductive few weeks.
Kick Doubt to the Curb in Your Homeschool
A couple of “those days” aren’t a worry, but start to string more of “those days” together? Suddenly you have had one of “those weeks” and then a couple of weeks! Ack. Not good. Not good because those are the conditions that are ripe for doubt to set in. Then the whispers in your head start. “Maybe you should just forget this whole homeschooling idea“, “you’ve never been good at math anyway”, “your kids can’t even sit still for one uninterrupted chapter of a read aloud!“, “public school isn’t THAT bad”.
Yes, even after homeschooling for a long time, I still have those doubts and still hear those voices – even when I KNOW better.
Before you open your computer and start researching the schools in your area, take a deep breath. Take a few moments and whisper a prayer. Pull out your favorite notebook and pen, give the kids the remote to the tv (hey, at this point one more tv show isn’t going to hurt!), and make a list of all the activities that you HAVE been doing. That is exactly what I did and believe me, I felt so much better.
The beauty of homeschooling though, is that even even when we felt like we were doing “nothing” the truth is the kids were learning. Even if we hadn’t had days as nice and orderly (well, you know I mean “orderly”) as our first term, their brains hadn’t completely turned to mush. We still prayed our family rosary, still completed math lessons, still worked on reading lessons. The big kids still attended their homeschool classes minus one sick day. We were still even reading our family read aloud, although it was going much slower than I would have liked. Our days weren’t as neat and tidy as I preferred, but the kids were still busy with good things.
And yes, I can attest to “A bad day at home is still better than a good day at school!”
Yes. Yes indeed.
Whatever season of life brings us, there are times and opportunities for fresh starts. This week found us finally back to our regular Power Hour routine. Such an important reminder to me that our Power Hour is the anchor (or maybe compass?) for our whole day. If Power Hour gets brushed off, it seems like our whole day can easily veer off course. The days that our Power Hour gets rolling, so does the rest of our day.
Homeschool Slump Back on Track
My oldest son is a golfer and when he is not playing as well as he would like he says “I’m on the Struggle Bus!” To which we reply, “get yourself off at the very next stop” Here is my advice to you on getting yourself OFF the Struggle Bus.
Get your Power Hour (Morning Time!) rolling. No ifs, ands, or buts, just DO IT! New to Morning Time in your house? Click over and see Pam 😉 My kids enjoy our Power Hour as much as I do, as well as the tweaks we made to our morning routine. There is really no excuse for not getting the day started on the right foot, well, except for the stuff I mentioned above.
Start a great new read aloud. Here are a few of our recent favorites: Ember Falls, Understood Betsy, The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Time spent reading a good book with your kids is always, always, always going to be time well spent. Always!
Get your hands on an inspiring book, just for you, that refreshes your soul. Right now I’m reading Gracious Space: Fall The essays are short enough that you can read one in the morning before the day gets started. Julie Bogart knows what it’s like to have “one of the those days” even when they are all strung together into many. One essay was so perfect for our family that I told my husband “before you do anything else this morning, you have to read this!” Do yourself and your family a favor and make room in your day to refresh a bit.
Before you know it, you will have a couple of great days under your belt and together we can be over the homeschooling slump!