So often we try to fit a mold, an idea, of what homeschooling should be, or could be, or looks like. Yet, it's not about a mold; it's rather about freedom, discovery and learning to do life. We need to learn from veteran home school families - taking breaks is not cause for guilt or discouragement. Just like in a garden – the soil must be left to rest and rejuvenate. Everyone reaches a point where rest and a different approach are sorely needed. Sometimes the best way to rejuvenate yourself and your kids is to break the normal routine.
1 — Take a look at your curriculum. Look at each of your kid’s work — is it too much? Is it too little? Rest assured, its okay to switch curriculum in the middle of the year if it’s not working for your family. Over our Christmas and New Year's break, I take some time to look over the curriculum choices and then make the changes that are needed. Sometimes, I add something new and fun, other times I drop the mundane work or the lessons that a child is not ready for yet. Although, I’ve never entirely switched everything in January before — knowing that I can gives me the freedom to choose what works best for the family. Never base your curriculum choices on what other families are accomplishing – make sure your children are smiling after a school day, not frowning. Some suggestions for a change of pace:~ try lapbooks (A Journey Through Learning)
~ try a Charlotte Mason inspired nature walk (moments with mother culture)
2 — Declutter. Although this sounds like an “organizational tip” for the New Year, sometimes it might be just what your house needs in order to make schooling more enjoyable for all. So, put down the schooling for a day and declutter! First, go through the mounting piles of paperwork. Sort, file and throw away any excess. Next, consider moving on to the toys. Once again, get rid of the excess, the broken, and the missing pieces. Finally, go through your school supplies weeding out the old markers, dead pens, pencils, and more. My little ones love to spend time sharpening pencils – this is a fun activity that helps momma out immensely. Make a game of “Search and Find” - go through the house and find a specific number of things to throw away and then that same amount of things to donate. This makes decluttering even more fun.
3 — The Best plan is the one made not merely thought about. Some of us are schedulers and some are not, yet just recently I created some new goals for our family for the upcoming year. When you think about it, it really only takes a few minutes to jot down a Day’s Draft to the flow of your day. I have not always homeschooled with a loose schedule. My first year homeschooling looked so similar to a public school day, except that the kids were still in their pajamas and we were at the dining room table. Over the years, I’ve found that I do like to have a general idea of what we’ll be doing or fieldtrips we’re going on. Take a look at your day’s plan and see if your schedule is working for the family. Try something new:~ begin the day with family devotions
~ Plan on attending a Home school convention in the spring – it will motivate you beyond words.
~spend the day learning and cooking together
~complete the afternoon school work first and then the morning school work
~create work stations in your home that the children rotate through, having some activities that they can accomplish without much assistance
4 — Rest. Rest is so important, which is why in Matthew 11:28 - 30, God tells us to rest. . . Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
Make sure to take some time this week to sit and be still. Enjoy those children that you’re blessed to be able to homeschool. Play a game, read a book, take a walk, and sit with them. This is where our hearts and minds should be focused on – the eternal perspective of raising our children— the planning, scheduling, and decluttering can wait. Our family should be placed high on our priority list, but if you are weary, first rest your soul. Your children want a well rested momma, not one who is foggily flowing through her days.