The holidays are done, and the new year stretches before us. It’s time to begin a new semester of school…and I’m guessing that some of you may not be feeling very excited about getting back into a school schedule again.
Maybe you feel a bit overwhelmed with the idea of a whole new semester ahead of you. Or there was a difficult subject that you’re not looking forward to teaching again. Maybe it’s just that the daily school routine has become boring and you need some changes to happen.
Sometimes homeschooling can feel like a lot of work, right? I remember only too well. Other families are sending their kids off on the bus and you’re teaching your kids again AT HOME. And YOU are responsible for what they learn. It can feel like a heavy burden at times, even though it’s what we’ve chosen, right?
So how do you find joy and motivation when you really just want to go back to bed, or go read a good book, or go hang out with a friend instead of doing the “school thing”?
If this is you, let me give you some ideas for how to find JOY IN YOUR HOMESCHOOL JOURNEY AGAIN!
PRAY AND SEEK THE LORD each day! Rest in Him…
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this homeschool thing! God is with you and wants to help you and give you wisdom for every day and every situation as you teach your children. As you begin each day, spend time with God, seeking His strength and asking Him to give you a thankful and joyful attitude. Many times, when I’m feeling discouraged or unmotivated, I really just need the Lord to help me change my attitude so it’s in line with His will in my life. He can help you get motivated and find joy in each day. He can help you look for things to be thankful for as you go through each day. I remember one year when I was feeling down and discouraged, not really looking forward to each homeschool day. I sought the Lord’s help and He reminded me of the many blessings I had and helped me to look for things to be thankful for each day. He also helped me see that I needed to take better care of myself…more on that shortly.
Remember that your attitude will rub off on your children! If you’re excited about a new day, looking forward to all God is going to teach you, your children will be too! A joyful attitude is infectious!
Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
REMEMBER IT’S REALLY ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS!
We often get so focused on academics and making sure we’re getting everything accomplished that we forget that one of the most important things about homeschooling is that we’re building relationships:
- Our children’s relationship with God
- Our relationship with our children
- Our children’s relationships with each other
- Outside relationships with others
Ask the Lord to help you make relationships a priority this semester.
- Focus on helping your children grow in their faith and in godly character. Check out my blog post on ideas for building your child’s faith: Resources and Ideas for Building Your Child’s Faith. I also have several posts on godly character – just put that phrase in the search box and you’ll find them!
- Focus on spending quality time enjoying being with your children, playing a game, reading to them, or just snuggling.
- Focus on helping your children love one another, helping them to develop a deep friendship with their siblings.
You’ll be surprised at what this change of focus will do for your family and your homeschool days!
TAKE A LITTLE TIME TO RE-EVALUATE
- Are you possibly struggling with burnout? Do you give so much of yourself that you’re not taking time for yourself and your needs? Homeschool burnout is very real! You need to take care of yourself, get proper rest and exercise and eat well plus allow yourself to enjoy the things you like to do sometimes in order to avoid burning out. That same year when I was so down and discouraged, I realized that I needed to get more regular exercise and so we joined a gym as a family and I found that getting regular exercise was good for me and also for our children! Check out this blog post: “Encouragement for the Burned-out Homeschool Mom”
- Do you need to consider a change of curriculum? Are you finding you dread a certain subject? Or have you noticed your children seem to complain about doing some subjects? Maybe it’s time for a change of curriculum. Check out cathyduffyreviews.com for new ideas on curriculum and read this post on Choosing Curriculum.
- Focus on developing a love for learning using delight-directed studies and adding some fun ideas and games into your school day. One year I was just so tired of the “same old, same old” everyday, and so I purchased the book “Ignite the Fire” by Terri Camp. It was so helpful to get me out of the rut we were in! One idea she had was to have the kids each make their own mailbox (decorated shoe box!) and then write letters to each other (creative writing). The kids loved it! She has many wonderful ideas to help your children love to learn!
Also check out these blog posts on delight-directed learning, teaching tips and using games to help make learning more fun:
- Delight-directed learning: Igniting the Joy of Learning in Your Children
- Teaching tips: Homeschool Teaching Tips
- Using games for learning: click on the titles to link to the post
- Download my free “Homeschool Evaluation and Goal Setting PDF” available on the sidebar to help you assess any changes you may wish to make for this second semester.
BRAINSTORM with your spouse or other homeschool friends on ideas to make this semester better for you and your children…
so school is something you DO look forward to! I also do homeschool consulting and would love to meet with you to help you think through how you can bring more joy into your homeschool days if this is a struggle for you. For the month of January 2019, I’m offering a 15% discount for consultations as well!
RELAX AND ENJOY LEARNING WITH YOUR CHILDREN!
So much learning can happen without textbooks. Allow yourself to relax a bit, to allow some learning to happen naturally as your children ask questions about life and things that happen in their world. That’s called Discovery Learning – and because it’s something they’re interested in, they will be much more attentive as you research together about the topic of interest. Discovery learning provides some of the best learning and often the information you learn through these types of teaching times will be retained better than when you use some fancy lesson plan!
to yourself and your children as you get back into the routine of school after a holiday break. Don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes you a week or more to get back into a regular routine with school and life. REST in the LORD on a daily, moment by moment basis as you teach and have a blessed school year!
Please comment below if you have other ideas that have helped you find joy in your homeschool journey… I’d love to hear your ideas!