Monday morning was met with groans and moans about the first day of school, not at all what I expected! I prepared all summer for a perfect first day! It was bumped up two weeks early because of some changes in our schedule. I prepared the children the best I could, but they just weren't ready. All summer long I had made schedules, changed plans, and organized every inch of our curriculum but I never could have planned for grumpy attitudes. My horrible no good very bad day sent me back to the drawing board and through some prayer and advice of friends I came to these conclusions.
#1 Go back and read the Teaching Tips. You've probably over complicated something.
I sat down at the table Tuesday afternoon and talked with my good friend trying to disect what I did wrong. Surely I needed to change some curriculum. Its possible that the children are at fault in some way. I've just GOT to figure this out! Then God whispered gently to me, "Go back to the the Guide". Oh!! Im supposed to READ those teaching tips! They were designed for me by the Authors and if you dont follow them you will miss something.
#2 do as many lessons orally as you can. It shouldn't be a struggle.
Sometimes I just need to take my own child into consideration. As Charlotte Mason says "Do not put before the child anything that can not be done with perfection." This kind of learning model helps the child to see success. Just because they can not do the lesson in written form doesnt mean that they can not glean from the information in an oral sense. Just like the Lord never puts anything before you that He is not there to help you through. If God lead you to it, He will help you through it. Same with my children, if I lead them in a lesson I need to labor with them to understand it.
#3 Charlotte Mason praised the concept of short and varied lessons, see tip #2.
"Where there are many words transgression is unavoidable." Forward motion is the goal, not quantity of lessons accomplished in one school year. Slow and steady progress means quality lessons learned and materials mastered. Its not a race, its a marathon.
#4 Set a timer, see tip #3.
A timer! I find that setting a timer during lessons keeps not only the child doing the lesson on task but also the interrupters at bay. If anyone has a question they can usually hold on to them until the timer beeps at which I ask around the room who needs help before moving on to the next child or lesson. Also this habit of using a timer helps because Flylady says we can do anything for fifteen minutes! This is especially useful in the Spelling Power curriculum. I will get interrupted several times and the speller will get frustrated and I will be focused on finishing that list of words making the quiz take 30 min instead of 5. Mulitply THAT by 4 or 5 and imagine the time wasted on spelling alone! The same goes with other subjects. Just because we spend a long period of time on a topic that is hard for them to understand doesnt make it easier for them. But to spend 15-20 minutes of focused attention on the task at hand we can finish the lesson another day with out their minds being labored.
#5 Spend time with the baby first! Than work your way up, youngest to oldest.
Its so easy to neglect toddlers and babies when homeschooling. Make a notebook and group them with the kindergarteners, read a story, or do a short activity. Their attention spans are very short, it takes just a few minutes to make them feel included. Usually working from Youngest to Oldest is a smart move. An older child can usually begin more of their subjects independently, while the youngest are getting help. Its best to work in one room schoolhouse model where everyone is working on the same subject at the same time.
#6 Have you Added something?
Sometimes when I hit a home school speed bump I find that I have added too many irons to the fire and when that happens someone is going to get burnt out. Participate in less extra curriculars. Drop an extra workbook or program. (You know the one you added to be like Mrs. Jones awesome homeschool mom) Stream-line your morning with a good evening routine. Simplify the meal plan. Use Mothers Helpers like the dishwasher, crockpot, paper diapers and paper plates! Keep It Simple Sally "KISS"
#7 Last but not least, pray! Remember why you choose your curriculum in the first place.. (this should be tip #1)
The most important tip of all! Pray, ask, seek, knock and the Holy Spirit will guide you. Mostly in my situation I was dealing with a heart issue on MY part! I had stepped out of some wisdom I discovered last school year to mimic another Mothers home school. While bouncing ideas off each other can be priceless in some instances but always pray about those things. Remember God gave her a plan for HER children and YOUR children are very unique and different. And when you do have a horrible, no good, very bad, day go back to the Lord and seek His Wisdom on the situation.