The signs are obvious: wiggles and squiggles, wandering gazes, attempts to cut out early or not do school at all.
And the kids are restless too.
It happens every spring. If you’ve been homeschooling for any length of time, you recognize signs of Spring – Spring Slump, when even scrubbing showers and organizing the garage look more appealing than working through one more word problem.
The question is, what can we do about it? Browsing the shiny new catalogs that flood the mailbox with promises of classical education being anything other than what it is—hard work—only fuel the discontent that hits after months of carefully adhering to a rigorous academic schedule. Let’s face it, the Spring Slump can happen even if we’ve not quite met our own high standards and are doing our best to eke out one more day.
A few adjustments in the days and weeks that inch along until summer can make all the difference in attitudes…and results!
* Change of scenery. The easiest way to quash the Spring Slump is to get out of your schoolroom, office, or dining room. Weather permitting, it’s time to take the learning outside, to the library, or to the coffee shop. There’s something about changing your surroundings that helps kick start your motivation. Funny thing is, with other people around, my kids suddenly behave like angels. Go figure.
*Alternative learning methods. I rarely advocate substituting videos for good old-fashioned books, but a carefully selected documentary is better than poking my eyes out with a sharp pencil when school isn’t going well. There are myriad ways to learn besides books and videos. How about games, puzzles and, dare I say, crafts? The fun learning is what I usually axe in the daily quest to “finish the list,” but ironically those are the activities my kids often glean the most from to solidify information.
*Field trips. Don’t groan! As basic as this suggestion is, kids have the opportunity to casually pick up more knowledge when an activity doesn’t scream, “learning, learning!” Trips that tie into what you’re already studying are good—museums, an observatory, national parks—but how about a trip to foster your child’s particular interest? A bakery for your budding baker, a seamstress’ shop for a child who loves to sew. Not only will they learn about something they already enjoy, but it may plant the seeds for future mentorship opportunities.
*Kid takeover! Let’s face it, kids love to be in charge, especially when they can be in charge of one another. Each child can pick a subject to lead. If they put in the time to prepare and master the material so they can teach, they will benefit. It’s also a good lesson in courtesy and being an attentive student.
*Kid swap. This one is not for the faint of heart, and frankly I’ve been too chicken to try. Trade kids with another homeschool family for a day. I can almost guarantee kids will be more focused and work harder for someone else. Plus it gives children the important opportunity to learn from other adults. The bonus for you is getting a free peek at other curricula!
If all else fails, it might be time to take a short break. I’m not suggesting entire weeks off school—perish the thought!—or even days. Surprising the kids by allowing them to sleep in for a few mornings or spending time snuggling in the afternoons might be just enough of a break to help you power through until summertime, when you and your children can gleefully toss out the schoolbooks in favor of brain-candy novels and trips to the pool.
How will you take advantage of the flexibility homeschooling offers and recreate your day?
Georgiana– Georgiana resides in the beautiful mountains of Arizona with her super-generous husband, and three talented daughters. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, and now has the privilege of homeschooling by day and wrestling with the keyboard by night. She’s the author of Table for One and A Daughter’s Redemption, and is exceedingly thankful for her own happily ever after.