If my homeschool walls could talk, they would be revealing a very sad truth.
You see, here in West Tennessee, it’s back to school time. Our local homeschool group and 4H club have already had their first meetings. Public schools are gearing up. Every time I run into another homeschool mom, I get the question, “When are you starting homeschool?”
I have to admit, and the walls would certainly tell you, I am dreading the thought of starting a new homeschool year. I’ve never faced such a lack of motivation towards Sprite’s academics. Normally I’m eager to plunge into new curriculum and new books. What’s going on with me?
I guess I’ve still not found my American groove when it comes to homeschooling. It should be easier here, and in many ways it is — homeschool groups, extra-curriculur clubs, a public library. But there are unique challenges, mostly related to time management. There are so many options that we didn’t face before. Life was simpler in many ways. So I’m still adjusting.
But August is here, and I must eventually get back to homeschool! So I wrote this post to talk myself into a better frame of mind. (You’re welcome to listen in and get a boost of motivation if you are lacking too.)
1. Self, this is not about you.
Homeschooling is for my daughter. She needs this education. I cannot slack on my job just because I don’t “feel like it.” This must be done! Besides her academic work, you are showing her how to fulfill responsibilities even when we don’t want to.
2. Self, take it easy.
Yes, we have to start back to homeschool, but we don’t have to get crazy too soon either. Let’s think of some ways to ease into this, make it fun, make it appealing. How about a week of field trips to all those places you never made it to over the busy summer? Sprite can do some notebooking afterwards. That sounds low key. We can eat out and hit some downtown thrift stores in the process so the transition to homeschool is painless.
3. Self, go browse the teacher supply store and splurge a bit.
Go walk around the office supply store and imagine school projects with all of those nifty products. Splurge on some new pens or folders. Buying school supplies will help to get you in the mood.
4. Self, the motivation will come.
You know full well that once you jump in there, there will be joy in the process. The hard part is that initial plunge. Go for it! Jump in.
5. Self, pick the best books and curriculum first.
Don’t save the best for last. Come out with all guns blasting. Those good books you have sitting on the shelf are just begging to be read. Read the one you’ve been saving. You didn’t know it then, but you were saving it for now. That ultra-cool curriculum? Go ahead and use it. It doesn’t matter if it’s out of order chronologically. We need a blast of motivation.
6. Self, you don’t have to plan it all now.
Yes, in the past you have always made a yearly plan before the beginning of each school year. But if the planning task is keeping you from doing school, forget it! You don’t have to have a long-term plan to homeschool next week. Just start. You’ve got a general direction. You’ve got materials. Get busy.
7. Self, take breaks.
Call the homeschooling girlfriends for a coffee break on a school night. Or bake a prepared pizza for dinner and retreat to the sewing room for a night of creativity. You’ve got to keep yourself “up” for this homeschool task. Invest in your mental health.
Gulp. I’m feeling better now. I can do this! And I will do this! Anyone else suffering from the “Back to Homeschool Blues” along with me? You can safely confess here. I will totally understand.