Hey hey! My name is Amy and I have a homeschool blog over at Busy Boys Brigade. I am beyond thrilled to be sharing my thoughts and feelings over here at Kingdom First Homeschool. Forest is an absolute delight and I am deeply privileged to add my small contribution to her site.
Are you a homeschooler? If so, I have a few questions for you:
- Do you ever feel like you are on a roller coaster ride-in your own homeschool?
- Do you experience the ups and downs of homeschooling? The extremes of elation to the depths of despair?
- How about the twists and turns of your homeschool day? Moments of pure jubilation to pits of misery?
- What about those record setting speeds of shooting through lessons to those times where you are all stuck, helpless at the top of a mountain of work to be completed?
Raise your hand high if you have experienced these sensations in your very own homeschool! Nod your head in agreement if you can answer yes to any of the above questions. Shake your sillies out if you feel giddy with knowing that at least one other homeschooler can relate!
Hands down, homeschooling is one of the biggest blessings that I know. And, hands down, it is also one of the wildest rides that I have ever experienced!
My five boys (yes, five! ages 2, 5, 7, 11, & 13) started back to homeschool this week. The week started off with a bang of celebration and excitement. Second day was pretty much the polar opposite. Yup, that bad!
We went from shared moments of happiness to shrieks of frustration. Tickles to tears-in what felt like a few seconds! With the whirlwind of emotions and attitudes (I remind you that I have a teen, tween, & toddler in the mix), I wondered if we would survive that day’s ride.
The roller coaster ride leveled off and things have cooled down-for now. I am, however, gripping myself for the next bump and twist. After five years of homeschooling, I have come to understand that it is better to have realistic expectations and be prepared.
Therefore, this momma wants to be ready to deal with the emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual ups and downs of our homeschool year. And (as I am sure you are aware) this roller coaster is not limited to just the homeschool year. Oh no! Homeschool roller coaster rides can also occur monthly, weekly, daily-even hourly!
I share these ways to overcome the homeschool roller coaster to gird myself-and hopefully you-for the times ahead. And because one of my biggest fears is roller coasters! (For real, I have an extreme fear of heights!)
7 Easy Ways To Overcome The Homeschool Roller Coaster
Let’s agree to use these easy and practical ways to overcome those moments where one or more members jump aboard the homeschool roller coaster. Instead of holding on for dear life, we can look to these tips to level out the experience and enjoy the ride.
How is everyone feeling? Are nutritional meals and snacks being planned and prepared? Is everyone getting enough fresh air and exercise?
I struggle with meal planning. My approach to eating is very relaxed-to the point where I am considering dinner only minutes before it needs to be served.
I look back on our second day of school and realize that the boys probably did not eat enough at breakfast time. I did not have a healthy snack prepared and we all suffered. Kids and mommas need plenty of good brain food to keep tempers in check and energy levels up.
Has everyone had enough water and other healthy liquids? When the boys or I start to wither, the most common reason is that we have forgotten to drink enough water. Designated water bottles for all can definitely help. We have used Reduce Waterweek Bottles with great success.
Lack of quality sleep is a huge cause of homeschool roller coaster rides. Do you find yourself or your kids frequently yawning, cranky, or out of sorts? Look back on your sleep schedules and see if this area needs an adjustment.
Our family struggles with sleep issues. Between late sport practices and early risers, we also have light sleepers. Early bedtimes (when possible) and sound machines are tremendous helps. Light snacks, like fruit and pretzels, about an hour before bed also help keep tummies from rumbling us awake.
4. Check In With Your Kids
I have found that our homeschool roller coasters are often the result of my lack of knowledge that one or more of my boys are having an issue. I may be whistling along, thinking everything is hunky dory. Unbeknownst to me, a boy or two is internally struggling with an intense emotion like anger or anxiety.
Make close observations of facial expressions and body gestures. Tune into what is being said and how it is expressed. Pause and take time to connect when you notice anything out of sorts. It can be hard to put the brakes on your homeschool time (especially if you are like me and want everything to flow along smoothly) but, believe me, it will be worth the few minutes time it takes to find out what is going on.
5. Morning Time Board (Or Basket)
Establishing and following a morning time routine has been a tremendous blessing in our homeschool. We use a morning time board to get our day off to a great start. On days when we miss this opportunity to gather and start our day in prayer and unity, every single member of our homeschool is off. Also, we cover quite a few homeschool subjects during this time so it is a great way to feel like we have at least accomplished something!
6. Brain Breaks
I am a huge fan of homeschool brain breaks! Honestly, I do not know how we would get through a homeschool day without taking a few brain breaks. My recommendation is to look at your kids and their learning styles. Adapt brain breaks accordingly. Also, take the role of homeschool weather person and gauge the atmosphere of your homeschool. Need a jolt of energy or a calming time? Adjust the type of brain break to what is needed.
When in doubt, stop, drop, and have fun! I give you permission to hit the pause button and find an activity to enjoy with your kids. Even if you only take five minutes, a fun activity like Mad Libs or charades can be enough to disengage from the homeschool roller coaster ride. Also, make sure to include fun activities and events into your homeschool plans to break the monotony and inject enthusiasm.
Believe me, I know how easy it is to get caught up in short-term situations and become overwhelmed with homeschool roller coaster rides. When I switch tracks and focus on long-term goals and overall educational experience of my boys, our rides level off into enjoyable and manageable jaunts.
I pray that these 7 Easy Ways To Overcome The Homeschool Roller Coaster bless you and your family!
Amy Milcic is a mental health therapist turned homeschool soccer mom to 5 boys. Her passion is to show that homeschooling can be authentic, effective & fun with the right resources & support. Join her every weekday morning for Homeschool Coffee Talk @ facebook.com/RockYourHomeschool. She blogs at RockYourHomeschool.net and she’s also co-owner of Planner Squad, a site dedicated to uniting the planner community.