Monday, November 8, 2010

Homeschool Isn't for Every Day

The past week was a hard one for me. I was under a lot of pressure to meet two deadlines for some pretty major projects, as well as juggling sick kids, company from out of town, and - eventually - a sick me. So needless to say, our homeschool schedule was sort of shot. But I kept trying to make it work anyway, and the result was impatience, frustration, resistance, and some tears.

Some of my friends who have been homeschooling a long time had already warned me about this possibly happening. But sometimes it is hard to learn a lesson until you experience it yourself.

So here are a few things that I realized in the wee hours of the morning, as I was lying in bed with an aching neck, head, and sore throat:

Not Every Day (or Week) Will be Perfect

There are times when your kids are not going to perform well during your school time. I imagine this includes kids in a traditional school setting, as well. Yes, there are probably many things that can affect their performance, but a few of the more common culprits I want to mention include sickness (theirs or someone else's), the birth of a sibling, company, holidays, looming vacations, poor diet, and restlessness. I could probably write a complete post on each of these, but not today. I do, however, want to mention another biggie: the parent's frame of mind.

Teaching takes time and a lot of patience. Neither of which I had much of this past week. And that is something that is easily picked up on by our children/students. If you are not giving to them 100%, they know it. If you are anxious, impatient, or snappy, you can expect a similar reaction from your kids.

Know When to Stop

When your lessons start turning into what seems like a battling session between two bighorn sheep, just STOP! It's better to just wait until later that day - or the next - to come back to the subject with fresh attitudes.

Throw Out the Guilt

The truth of the matter is that your child is probably ahead of the game anyway. When you are homeschooling, you often cover a lot of ground at a faster pace because you are allowed to go as fast as your kid can learn. And if not, that's okay, too. There's no comparison here. Your goal is to help your child learn in the manner that works best for him or her.

One of the greatest things about homeschooling is that families can take breaks more frequently if they so choose - provided that they are getting the work done. So if you are working hard and your kids are completing a lot of material, sometimes, it is even better to work in more breaks. I remember reading a while back about a family that works in 4-week blocks, with 2-week breaks in between. I don't think that would work for us, but each family functions differently, and I say, "Hey if it works for you, go for it!"

So in the end, I spent most of this morning and afternoon, just laying on the couch snuggling my kids, watching cooking shows on public television, and catching up on all the catalogs/magazines that show up in my mailbox. It was so nice!

Incidentally, the two projects I was working to complete are now more or less over. One was a fundraiser at the park where my husband works, and I was in charge of organizing the live auction (Gracias a Dios, I was not the auctioneer!). But it was overwhelmingly successful, and for that I am grateful.

The other was the launch of a gift guide that has required a lot of communication with other moms and small business owners.

I'm ready for the break and to focus solely again on my kids.

Con mucho cariño...

Did you enjoy this article? Are you thinking about homeschooling your child? Let me help! My book - The Latino Family's Guide to Homeschooling - covers everything you see here and more. 


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