How to Get out of the Homeschool Slump

Shoot for a Target.

I am always more motivated when there is a goal and a deadline.  For example, we are highly motivated to complete assignments for our homeschool group or AWANAS at church.  I am a part of several homeschool groups, each with their varying opportunities.  We can sign up for a Spelling Bee for motivation to get going on our spelling practice, or sign up for a history or science fair, which provides a deadline to finish up some projects.  Form a book club with some other homeschool families for that extra nudge to read and study a book that you just don’t seem to get around to.  We have participated in co-op classes and I have taught my children things we don’t seem to get to at home – mad libs and word games or science experiments or sign language and music.

What if you don’t have these group activities to motivate you?  Create your own event and deadline.  For example, we have a yearly Grandparents Night in either May or June.  This motivates us the last few weeks, when we are itching for summer break.  It is a nice way to wrap up the year, finishing projects and reviewing.  Or have your child explain what they are learning on video.  My younger children have recited verses on video and practiced counting money on video.  My older ones have explained posters they have made, given oral summaries of books they have read and  recited poems on video.  We also like to make up songs and skits and put those on video.  The kids enjoy watching themselves and then if we can review when we watch the videos next year.

Evaluate why you are struggling and come up with a solution.

Here are some possible scenarios:

  • Your schedule is thrown off because life happens.  Children are sick, family crisis happens, job change or moving, having a baby, too much activity outside the home.  All these things can throw off the routine and can claim emotional energy as well.  To solve this one: make your mind to move forward, without stressing about any loss time.  Set a new routine if necessary.  Don’t stress about finishing every last page of your curriculum – that don’t even do that in public school!  Decide to start moving forward again, even if the pace, curriculum or routine has changed.
  • Consider changing curriculum or skipping something in your curriculum.  Maybe you and your child all dread reading through a particular book.  Move on to something more interesting.  Maybe a particular subject is causing tears and fights between mom and student, then maybe its time to try a new approach – a new curriculum or something that appeals better to their learning styles. Or take a break from a subject altogether and spend more time on the other subjects until everyone feels ready to try again.
  • * Maybe its just general lack of motivation.  That’s okay and normal.  Maybe you need to be a part of a homeschool support group.   I find the accountability of Classical Conversations and AWANAS as highly motivating.  Other co-ops may be what you need.  Also, don’t be hard on yourself.  If regular, open the textbook and complete the worksheet type school is not happening now, remember that reading with your child is not nothing.  Watching educational programs and drawing and working out in the garden are valid parts of school.  You may feel like you are getting behind in school, but learning is still occurring.
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