I am a member of a homeschool moms support group in our local area. Once a month we meet and veteran/retired homeschool moms impart wisdom and share some of their woes during their own homeschooling adventure. This transparency and sharing, in turn, gives moms like me encouragement for the road we’re on and a sense of comfort knowing that someone understands the intricacies of this thing called homeschooling.
One of those challenges is the dreaded mid-year slump! Aarrggh! How does this happen? Well, in short, the extended winter holidays come and wreck the steady momentum we’ve been building up since the start of the school year. After that, it’s just oh so hard to rev up again.
So, what do we do to persevere and carry-on? Here are some tried and true tips I learnt from those veteran homeschool moms who have been there and done that. Collectively, there isn’t much they haven’t seen or experienced. I’ve expanded on their advice and added some practical ways to use the following tips.
- Plan accordingly
- Know yourself
- Encourage yourself
- Stay connected
The most proactive thing you can do is plan ahead to avoid the slump altogether. One way to achieve that is to not take a complete break from homeschooling. Build and plan around the downtime by doing different, more creative, things that still involve learning just not in a typical way.
For example, incorporate some health and (kitchen) science by letting the kids help with a meal. Math, health, science and language arts can be taught very easily by preparing a meal. Measure ingredients, talk about nutrient content and food groups using my plate, hypothesize and observe chemical reactions as foods are combined, give oral spelling using unique ingredients listed on spice containers, etc. If they are older, challenge them to create a new healthy recipe, with specific calorie counts, dietary considerations, etc. The point is, mix up the curriculum, and have lighter moments, but resist the temptation to do no school at all. (Remember to take pictures, or use worksheets to record what you’ve done for those of us whose States require “evidence” of homeschooling).
To ‘know yourself’ is golden advice. It’s simple. If you know you have a tendency to slack off easily (understandable though it may be, considering the holidays), the best thing you can do is get some accountability! On the other hand, you may be the total opposite and still want to keep up a rigid pace, in that case, try to be flexible even while being structured. Know your tendencies and share it with a trusted mom friend so she can help hold you accountable, one way or the other. Trusted friends are really good at helping us see ourselves. Ask me how I know? I’ve got a couple trusted ones that are lovingly honest with me. 🙂
There is a song by the same name “encourage yourself“, one of my favorites and it is true for me many, many times. It says “no matter how you feel, speak the word over your life…”. So, encourage yourself through the word of God. Read and meditate on His truth and His promises, sing His praises. It may sound cliche, but it still works and it will always work, if you do it in earnest.
Some helpful scriptures (from one of the veteran moms):
- Proverbs 3:5-6
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
- Mark 11:22-24
- “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
- Psalm 37:4
- Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
- Psalm 84:11
- For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
A slump can be used by the enemy to keep us from our task at hand. Speaking the word to encourage ourselves will thwart his efforts.
If you’re like me, human, that is, so many times when we’re in a sticky place we forget that we’ve either been here before and were able to recover or we’ve been even more difficult circumstances and made it through. The slump is a good time to reflect on His goodness and what He’s already brought you and your family through in this thing called homeschooling.
A practical way you could do this, is writing out in your journal (if you keep one), or any random notebook paper. Writing it out causes you to think intentionally and recall to mind those situations you’d forgotten. Just seeing those words looking back at you, does something to the spirit. It confirms that if He helped you before, He’ll help you again.
Stay connected to people
This one’s a biggie. If you ask me, staying connected to (healthy) people is important before, during and after the slump! Lol. It’s especially key though when you start to feel like you’re all alone in this and that maybe no one else understands because they don’t have your unique set of circumstances. Or, the comparison culprit starts to tell you that every other homeschooling mama is doing a way better job than you. That’s the evil one talking, you know? The father of lies, because nothing could be further from the truth. We ALL have circumstances constantly going on in our lives and there is a freedom and release that happens in our Spirit when we come together to share. We were never meant to bear our burdens alone, it’s too much for us. Jesus helps us in the Spirit and He brings people in our lives to help us in the physical and practical. So, phone a friend, find a friend or a homeschool mom support group, (or start one of your own) and stay connected to them.
It can be a challenge to overcome the slump, but it’s one we must conquer to finish the school year strong. It’s the little daily, disciplined efforts that are going to take us to the finish line one day. So, plan for the downtime, get accountability, reflect and stay connected.
If you’re experiencing a slump, do something different, try a couple of these tips to get you going again. Then we can look forward to the coming school year with zeal and excitement knowing we did our best.
How do you recover from the dreaded slump? Or maybe you don’t even allow it to get there.
**Feel free to share this post with a mom who may need it.**