Monday, August 22, 2016

The Day I Took my Own Advice

We are now one week into our homeschool year. Anja is a third grader, Greta is a second grader, and I started our year as a homeschool instructor one hundred percent lacking in motivation. Our first days back were rough. Nobody was feeling it, nobody wanted to buckle down and learn, we couldn't find our groove... I felt like I was failing, big time. I told Martin—we take this homeschooling thing year-by-year, child-by-child and maybe this is the year that they need to go to school. We struggled through the first week of math review... tears over addition and subtraction they learned half a year ago was suddenly causing them endless anguish. Five full days went by with the same schedule on each day of my planner with almost nothing actually getting done. We didn't learn the St. Michael prayer. We did the cursive workbooks, but we didn't follow up with the full Geography lesson I had planned for each day. Poetry? None. Copywork? Zero. We did take a nature day on Friday, which was very successful and educational, but I count that as my single success of the week. Other than that, on the Train of Success, I was riding on the caboose. 

We had an extremely relaxed weekend. Usually our weekends are spent running around, but somehow it ended up not that way this past weekend, and it seemed to be just what we all needed. A nice, relaxing reset for our tired minds. Today everybody woke up cheerful. We didn't even have a nutritious breakfast, but all the girls were being super kind to each other, and so willing to do their work! It was amazing! They helped each other through math and the older girls helped Elka with her alphabet and color-by-numbers. 

Then, just when I thought surely my luck was going to run out, we had a peaceful lunch all together, followed by more schoolwork, done with cheerful smiles. It was..... incredible. 

And I thought at the end of the day, how was that day so good? How did we make that day so much better than the past week had been? 

And I realized, just maybe, it was my own attitude. I started Monday feeling good because Ingrid, who had woken up at an insane hour that morning, had gone back to sleep around 8:00 and I knew that her little morning nap was not only going to make our morning easier, but it was going to make her super cheerful when she woke up. I was looking forward to her waking up, knowing how cute she was going to be. I was calmer and more relaxed in our lessons because I was in a better mood. Surely, the girls sensed that and were their good natured attitudes were a reaction to my own. I didn't nag them about anything. The morning flowed easily at it's own pace. We STILL didn't get our Geography lessons done. But I didn't worry about it... I willingly put it off until tomorrow and filled the time with extra reading time, which we all enjoyed. We started The Wind in the Willows and instead of staying inside to read it, we went to the porch where everyone colored in their sketchbooks as I read aloud to them. (I was tickled that Anja loved it so much. We tried starting it last year at this time, and she was not ready... this year, they love it!) It was a picture of how I envision homeschooling in my most lovely homeschooling fantasylands. It was really great. (Until Ingrid fell off the porch swing onto her head and I, in a rush to try to catch her [I didn't] flung Elka from my lap, causing her to fall on her head as well. Many tears, but even that turned into a cozy time of togetherness. I'm telling you, this day was magical.) 

Slowing down really worked. When Martin got home from work, we were all still in good moods. The girls had had a lot of time for free play that afternoon and had been very involved in their doll games. I was able to get dinner made and we all sat down together to eat. Martin gave them even more impromptu schooling. After dinner we took a family walk and when they asked if we could take our walk up to my parents' house, even though it was after bedtime, I realized that our days of walking up there were very limited and I said yes. 

It was a great day. I'm hoping that the rest of the week follows (I know it probably won't) and that we have a learning-filled week of happiness. This was just the change I needed to get me appreciating our choice to homeschool! 

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