Updated: Jun 2, 2022
I used to wake up well before my kids. Yes, I'm serious. It was amazing!
I had time
to plan our day
to drink my coffee
to do something I enjoy
All that extra time, I thought made me a better homeschool mom.
I was always on top of my game. We got all the things done plus some extras. Then winter happened—it was cold, it was gray and it was raining all the time. I'm originally from Florida (we don't participate in winter lol) There is always some sun to help perk you up. Living in Tennessee has been an adjustment. Winter I've discovered has caused my depression to take control more often than I'd like. All I want to do is curl up in front of my fireplace with a good book. I dread having to put my feet on the freezing floor and do anything that requires getting out of my warm bed.
At first, I just slept in a few minutes—an extra ten to twenty minutes here or there. Soon those stretches grew longer and longer until now, often my kids are waking up me, forcing me to put my reluctant feet to the freezing cold floor and shiver through teaching them all the things (or, if I'm being completely honest, some of the things some things take to much effort).
The end of Christmas break is also a very trying time for a me as a homeschool mom. It means packing away all the pretty lights and decorations that gave me a feeling of warmth in the cold gray winter. It means starting back to earlier mornings after a lovely break of doing nothing. Gray skies, cold temps, kids with cabin fever, and homeschool fatigue can be a dastardly combination. While everyone's homeschool kryptonite may be something different—a long illness, a family member moving in, home renovations, a death of a loved one, a new baby, a big move, demands on your time from extra curricular activities, or a change in family dynamics.
Is there a way to feel a sense of homeschool success when you can’t seem to locate any motivation? Will I mess this all up? Can I get back on track?
I’m going to share with you what works at my house when my motivation takes a nose dive. I want you to think of what you are great at doing. Everyone is good at something! What do you do well?
What is the one area or subject in homeschool that you never have to worry about? What is that one thing where you are always on track and feel confident?
Do you rock science experiments?
Are you a math genius?
Is STEM/STEAM your passion?
Is reading and writing your jam?
Can you paint or sculpt well?
Are you computer savvy?
Whatever you are great at, whatever makes your heart happy, whatever your child/children do well with —DO THAT FIRST.
I know it may seem counterproductive to start with the one subject or thing that where you are actually on target or ahead when you feel like you are behind in everything else. Hear me out for a second though.
This is what happens when you start with what you and your kids are great at:
You cross something off that never-ending to do list.
Everyone is happy because they are doing something they like.
You get to start the day on a positive note.
When engaging in something you are good at, you feel more confident.
Confidence and success will spark motivation, even when that motivation is low
Small victories spur you on to tackle the mountain you are avoiding
Winter always makes me want to curl up with a good book? Why? Because reading is something I love and I've always been awesome at reading. I never felt like I'm behind in the reading department. In fact by the time I hit third grade I was reading at a high school level. Math, History, and Writing has always been my achilles heal. I've felt an urgency to catch up in math... and history... and writing for my kids. So I usually start our day with one of those subjects to ensure we get it done and don't "fall behind". This resulted in power struggles, crabbiness, and tears especially when the winter blues set in. So when I switched things up and started the day with something we were really good at, an amazing thing happened. We started our day happy, laughing, and motivated to tackle the harder subjects.
That one tiny change has made all the difference in our homeschool day. It resulted in more cooperative and happy kids. By starting off with something we do well, we accomplished more during the day. Do we always accomplish everything? No, we don't. However we are happier and that helps a lot.
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