Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Back to homeschool: surviving the difficult days

Welcome back to the Back to Home School blog hop. This is Day Three. 

Day One: The Overview
Day Two: Lunches for every day of the week

Today, I'm looking at surviving the difficult days. We have home educated for over five years now. Whilst it would be lovely to say that there are no difficult days, that just wouldn't be true. So what helps for those days when the children are grumpy, Mum is tired and grumpy too, the whole family has colds and it is a grey day in February?

These are things that have helped us but please don't think I've solved difficult days-I haven't!

  • Is one of the children ill? We've thankfully had very few days when the children have been unwell and even on those days, they have generally been well enough to do the basics. But a child who is slightly unwell may find work difficult. Is it time to give up and read a book?

  • Does the child find a subject difficult or unpleasant? Some things just have to be done. We have found that a daily routine helps. If the child finds writing difficult, having to write every morning somehow becomes easier.

  • This is a bit controversial but we use a spiral maths curriculum. If a child finds a topic difficult, we tend to drop back a year for that topic and then do the current year's work. The difficult topic then gets exchanged for something quite different e.g. long multiplication for geometry, but I know that the topic will recur the next year so that it can be gone over again. 

  • Don't think that we don't have character issues, of course, we do and not just the children. I have then too but we haven't ever put aside work for a few days to deal with character issues. The reason for this is that work is character training. I know that if I stopped the children's studies to deal with character issues, the atmosphere would become tense and difficult. Keeping the children occupied, in a productive way, means that they are learning and not frustrated but that the character issues come up in a natural way.

  • Having a plan. On a sunny day, when a sparkling new book has arrived, work can be easy but on a grey day, having a plan makes all the difference between achieving something or nothing. Knowing that child A has to learn about -ow words and how that will be taught and how they will practice these; that child B has to work on cursive writing and child C has to start with maths saves effort and probably the day!

  • Take advice. My husband is a great sounding board as are some home educating friends.

  • Going outside! Sometimes, putting everything aside and going out cheers everyone up.

  • Pray. Pray without ceasing! 
How do you deal with difficult days? 
Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

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  1. Sometimes I read something and it is like a light bulb going off! This is how I felt today reading your spiral maths point. I had never thought to skip a chapter they found hard, knowing it would come up again next year (when they would be a year more mature and probably handle it well). Controversial or not, I think it is very wise and sensible and I thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Claire. I'm sure that maturity makes so much difference when a child gets "stuck".