Spring is notoriously the most difficult time for me to stay strong when homeschooling. All of the lazy habits I've allowed to slip in over the course of the year come to fruition in the spring.
The backsliding is not always all due to my laziness. Legitimate detours arise during the year that our family does need to attend to. Even then, the consequences of those detours catches up with me in the Spring.
Typically, everything in me says, "Just forget it. Take the rest of the year off, and we'll try again next year." Am I alone here?
Thankfully I don't give in to my flesh, and I push through. I've found some spring cleaning in your homeschool can really help get things back on track and headed in the right direction to finish well.
1. Spring Clean Your Work Space
Whether you have a homeschool room or a dining table, it helps to recharge your motivation to keep going when you can work in a clean space.
I know it's not realistic for everyone to add on to their home, but rearranging or simply sifting through that large pile in the corner of the room can really lift the spirits and renew motivation to finish well.
2. Adjust Expectations
While you might have made a beautiful plan at the beginning of the year, if you find yourself way off course, revisit your expectations before you dive back in to catching up.
Guilt can be a very dark force in keeping your family from finding success in homeschooling. His best friend is Fear. They like to buddy up and tell you stories about how that blogger girl has everything together. If only you could be as perfect as her family.
They're lies. We all struggle. I just don't photograph the struggles because they're not as lovely...and I try to protect my kids. All you need to know is that I'm writing this because I need it, not because I heard you talking and thought I could write about that poor mama who finds herself behind in March.
Back to managing expectations. Revisit what your end goal was at the beginning, and adjust your hopes for the end of the year or even when you're going to end your year.
Setting small achievable goals will encourage finishing strong. Everyone will be able to work harder than you imagine when guilt and fear are not part of the equation.
3. Clean Up Attitudes
Starting with your own, you can dust off your bad attitudes that have been cultivated over the last couple of months struggling through the work. It's easy to let your own annoyances creep in and overwhelm the atmosphere of your home.
When you re-frame your own perspective on the work that needs to be done, your students will be encouraged to do the same.
4. Remind Yourself of Your Purpose
My favorite way to refresh my purpose is to go to a homeschool convention. I don't even go to purchase materials, even though I usually end up leaving with a pile of new books. Mostly, what conventions do for me is shore up my resolve which enables me to finish the year with a renewed determination.
5. Reestablish A Love of Reading Together
Our family read alouds are the anchor of our home. When we get weary, it always helps to regroup and read together. A new book series or an old favorite generally does the trick.
If you're extra tired, get the audible version of a book you want to read together and let the kids build with LEGOs while you all listen.
Sometimes just that little bit of reading time can refresh the soul of your family and invigorate a renewed desire to work with excellence.
6. Air Out Nature Studies
If spring is in the air, go out and enjoy it! There are so many wonderful joys that come from nature studies. The magic of nature studies is that in cultivating wonder, you are equipping your kids to be self motivated learners. If they can get excited about what they're learning, you won't have to drag them along. Sometimes that is the most wearisome task of all.
Soak in the handiwork of the Lord, and let His creation nurture your souls.
7. Dust Off Spelling
Maybe it isn't spelling for you, but dust off whatever subject you've neglected that is hanging over your head like a ton of bricks. Pull the materials off of the shelf (because you've been avoiding them), and just do ONE lesson.
Maybe that lesson is just a quick refresher, or it's a half day mini conference. By starting it back up, you've accomplished have of the challenge in getting it done - simply doing it. The amazing thing is that the simple act of looking your nemesis in the eye dissipates its power over you. Freedom comes by just choosing to pick it up and start making some forward progress.
8. Utilize Educational Videos
You are not a failure if you take advantage of the amazing learning opportunities out there with educational TV. These video series will not only give you a much needed teaching break, but they will also inspire all who watch. Here are some of my favorite resources for educational videos:
- 10 Netflix Documentaries for Tweens and Teens
- Teaching Language Arts with Netflix
- Homeschooling with Netflix | Nature Study
- Studying Science in Your Homeschool with Netflix
- Teach Ancient Civilizations with Netflix
9. Put Educational Games to Work
Another wonderful group of tools for weary homeschool moms are educational games. Playing together strengthens your relationships which makes for better working conditions. Here are some great game playing options for learning.
10. Refresh Your Praise
Above all, find new and fresh ways to encourage and praise your kids. You'll be amazed at the power of your "well done" in motivating working students.
Maybe you feel like you already do this well, but I imagine it's always nice to hear praise in a new and fresh way. Think outside of the box. Here are some excellent reading resources to help you tap in to being a powerful encourager of those around you:
Sometimes your homeschool just needs a bit of refreshing in order to finish the year strong. Spring cleaning isn't just beneficial for your house, it can also be beneficial for your heart.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.