There may have been a single reason that you began to homeschool or multiple reasons, but no matter what drew you into homeschooling in the first place, you will find that some days will be harder than others. Some days will seem to steal your joy away and going about your daily routine for schooling will take every ounce of energy that you have. This isn’t unlike other jobs or careers. It’s just the way it is, even when we love what we do. So how do we keep the joy in our homeschool program? These four tools will help!
First, remember what drew you into homeschooling in the first place. You had goals and aspirations for your family and for your children. Stop to reflect on what you are doing each day and make sure that the daily tasks and curricula are helping you to reach those goals. Stick close to your vision statement for your homeschool, and your vision will remain true. Don’t let yourself get off the path or you’ll only increase your frustration.
Next, be spontaneous in your day. If you are struggling to find your joy, your kids might be as well. Homeschooling takes constant attention and commitment, so it can be tiring. Sometimes your joyful attitude can be recaptured just by doing something unusual. Is there a great museum exhibit going on in town? Go see it suddenly, even if it’s not in the lesson plans. Is math getting boring and full of drudgery? Play a math game today before you do your lesson. If you weren’t homeschooled yourself, you can probably remember the days when your teacher would throw in a spontaneous game of “Heads Up, Seven Up,” or something similar. Those are fun “interruptions,” and they quickly create joy, so be spontaneous.
On occasion, if the whole family is suffering from joy-less homeschooling, add in a day off. The school work will have to be caught up somehow, so use this tool cautiously, but every now and then, it’s okay to take a day off from your studies. Families who homeschool focus much of their time on thinking, learning, working, teaching, etc. Sometimes, it takes time to focus on relaxing. That may mean taking a day off together to watch movies, go shopping, sit in the sun, visit friends, or something else that has nothing to do with school. But it could also mean a “sleep-in” day or a “stay in your pajamas all day today” day. Your kids will love the occasional permission to be “lazy” and you will be amazed at how much happier and joyful they will be when you return to school.
Finally, decide to be joyful. Instead of focusing on the difficulties, focus on the blessings in your homeschool. Replace your negative attention with attention to the things you can be joyful and positive about. If you are feeling like you’ve lost your joy, then it may just be because you’ve allowed yourself to take your eyes off of your blessings. Keep them there, and joy will stay with you much longer.