Let me guess. You spent the entire Christmas break reading math curriculum reviews. You compared and contrasted, and asked questions in forums. What you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working, so you’re looking for something else.
And language arts is stressing you out! Your kids hate diagramming sentences, or writing in cursive, or practicing phonograms, and you’re ready to pull your hair out. You longingly watch a school bus go by.
Once again, you hit the trusty Google machine, looking for that perfect English curriculum. More forums, more reviews, more homeschoolers, each with his or her own opinions on which curricula are the perfect fit for your family. They all seem to believe they are right. With every voice, you feel more and more bewildered.
You look up your local school district website, and check out the parent partnership program that they have near you. Just to see. You examine the nearest middle school’s website, noticing they have sports and band and a robotics team and… And you feel like you just might want to check it out.
Welcome to January in the life of a homeschool family. January always brings new beginnings, but it also can bring to head old frustrations or perceived inadequacies.
Notice I say ‘perceived’.
If you were to describe to another homeschool mom what your kids are doing and everything that you do with them, she may feel the same way: inadequate.
January is often when we ditch old programs that aren’t working, and start new ones. It is when our kids start to get just a little bit of cabin fever, already tired of the lack of outdoor time and activities they had during the summer and fall.
You need to realize that this happens to all of us.
The mid-year homeschool blues strike after the high of the Christmas season is over. Vacation is done, presents are put away, and the lesson planner comes back out, facing kids who would probably rather do anything but school work.
This is not a good time to make extremely drastic changes.
I liken it to making life changing decisions while grieving, or suffering postpartum depression. The after Christmas lull is no time to decide to send the kids to school. A curriculum change might be in order, but it can be done without traumatizing yourself or your kids.
Here are some tips for beating the mid-year homeschool blues:
1. Ease back in after Christmas. Don’t hit 8 subjects your first day back to schoolwork! Add a couple subjects each day until you’re back up to your regular work load.
2. Allow time to readjust to schedules. Alarms ring early when you haven’t used one for a while.
3. Plan out of the house time. It could be a field trip, weekly bowling, hiking (weather permitting) or join a PE class, 4-H group or interest based club.
4. Don’t compare yourself, your kids, or your homeschool to anyone elses.
5. Give yourself grace. You aren’t the only one who feels this way right now. This is not a deal breaker.