Getting Our Goove

This year has not been easy. About a week into school this year I was really beginning to question my ability to handle a second grader, a fourth grader and a soon to be three-year-old preschooler. My days were erratic and my kids were resistant. A good friend of mine who unschools her children told me

Reconnect with the kids.
They have to trust you. 
At that particular time I didn't even trust myself. I was yelling a lot and there were lots of tears going around. I decided to put the books away for a day and have a game day. We pulled out game after game, sorted the pieces, relearned rules, and had a real good day. I proclaimed the day a success, felt quite proud of my brilliance, and went right back to my old ways. Needless to say, things only got worse. Two days later, I am at my wits end. My husband, who never interferes with my method of teaching told me to take a week off. Two things caused me to agree to this even though it went against my nature.

1. He NEVER interferes with my teaching! 
(Have I said this before? Well, it's true!)  
2. He's usually right. 
(Yes. I put it in print. He'll never let me live it down!) 

So, did it work? Yes. The kids had a great week of doing absolutely nothing. Somewhere in my deluded mind, I envisioned them coming to me with books saying things like "Mother, I'm bored. May I please do some math?" or "It's so much better having something to do. Could you please start school again?" But no. Shockingly, they were content with their Legos and video games. This would never do. They were happy but I was a nervous wreck! How would I ever teach them all that they need? Am I a failure at homeschool? What now? Again, my husband came through. These are the suggestions he made that saved me:

1. Book work only until lunch. 

The kids are so much more productive when the end is in sight. Today, my son woke at 6:00am and decided to get started. He flew through his books and completed three subjects before his school buddies could even get inside the building! Also, I no longer feel stressed about getting in just a bit more after lunch. There is always tomorrow!

2. No TV or other screen time for any of us until after 4:00pm

This is tough. I hadn't realized how much television I was allowing the preschooler to watch. I always tried to give her something educational while I focused on the other two. Unfortunately, she was feeling left out. Now I start with her. I make sure she has something fun before I do anything else. She feels much more included and I feel relieved that she's getting the attention she deserves too. 
The other person who was getting too much screen time was me. Guilty. The computer was eating hours of my time that is better spent elsewhere. Now, I am stopping less frequently and still getting things done.

3. After lunch is project time.

My oldest is involved in several projects and feels the pressure to maintain them. By setting aside these hours for her violin practice, calligraphy, sewing, and various other interests she is more relaxed, getting more done and enjoying things much more. My son uses this time for Lego projects and drawing or outside play. He never tires of any of these.

These simple guidelines have really helped us out. As long as I keep focused on them and don't slip into an overdrive again. I think this year is going to be just fine. 

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