Yeah, I had one of those days last week. I wanted to give up on homeschool.
For whatever reason, Tommy woke up on Wednesday determined to do everything except what I wanted him to do. He refused to do his school work. He said all sorts of nasty things. I tried to be kind and understanding, but secretly I wished I could just send him off somewhere – anywhere – for the day.
There was a lot of crying, mostly from my end. We ended up going to the gym (aka My Sanity) and I cried to my husband on the phone for a good 30 minutes while the kids happily played in the child care. I felt like a bad mom. I felt like a horrible teacher. And I seriously wondered if my kids (and me) would be happier if they went to school.
Now, I recognize that homeschooling is not the right choice for everyone, but for those of us who do homeschool, how do you get through days like this? How do you not go running to the nearest public school in a frazzled mess and enroll all your children on the spot?
This is how I got through this week to get our homeschool back on track:
- I recognized that all families experience difficult days, whether they homeschool or not. If my child doesn’t want to do his homeschool work, what makes me think he will happily do his homework after a long day away at school? And what makes me think that sending my child to school will make him more amiable and more obedient at home?
- I called my husband for support. Everyone needs a cheerleader, right? Sometimes it’s my husband, sometimes it’s my mom, sometimes it’s a friend.
- I asked some questions. Does he need a little brain break? Is he feeling a lot of pressure? Is there something else that is stressful in his life that is making him act out and resist? It turns out that he was super worried about an impending dentist appointment (which he rocked, BTW) and was taking it out on my efforts to give him an amazing education.
- I switched things up a little bit. Does he need more/less structure? Does he need a different curriculum? Does he need to do school at a different time of day or in a different place? I’m still pondering these questions.
- I wasn’t afraid to take a break! This time we got out of the house and went to the gym, a place the kids love to play and I love to work out my frustrations. On other days we have taken the day off or gone on a field trip. Some days it’s as simple as turning on some music and having a dance party in the front room
- I came up with an incentive. This isn’t a bribe. Tommy doesn’t do bribes. There is a huge difference between, “If you are good, you get X,” and, “We can get through these hard days because next week we get to go to this really cool place you love!” This gives us something to look forward to when school gets rough.
- I remembered that I know my child better than anybody else. I also love him more than anybody else does. I have confidence that I can meet his needs more effectively than anyone else can.
Have you had days like this? What would you add to the list?