When we talk about visualizing success and earning rewards, whether in homeschooling or in life, we often find ourselves face-to-face with the realization that it’s much easier to see the struggles than the successes. That’s why it’s so critical to be intentional about these steps of encouragement!
Once of the best ways to accomplish this is by using tough homeschool days for our advantage. Instead of letting them get the best of us, we confront them head on and with intentionality. We address them, deal with them, and find ways to use them to help us visualize success and reward ourselves for progress — yes, even right there in the middle of the toughness!
How do you face a tough homeschool day?
The Well Planned Gal team has learned a lot of strategies over the years! Here are some of the things they would do with their elementary and middle school aged children to turn tough homeschool days into opportunities to visualize success and earn rewards.
After a tough homeschool day, I would release myself from all unnecessary housework. Then I’d simplify supper, even if it meant we ate peanut butter and jelly.
Some days, we got all our evening chores and baths done early so that we could watch a movie or have story time to end the day on a positive note.
On the worst days, I’d turn everything over to Dad and go hide in my bedroom.
Tea! Lots of tea!
Actually, taking a hot cocoa or popsicle break worked for us. If the kids were just antsy, I’d send them outside for a bit. If they just needed to chill out, then I’d have them listen to a chapter of an audio book or an episode of a radio drama together.
If I was the one who needed the break after a tough homeschool day, I’d give all of the kids something to do and just step back for a minute. Pray, read a Scripture, or just breathe. It’s much better to take a step back than to push your kids or yourself to the point of lost tempers and hurt feelings.
When we had a tough homeschool day, I’d attempt to put on my best Scarlett O’Hara and remember that “tomorrow is another day!”
In the meantime, I would try to switch gears. If it was a subject that was causing us trouble, I’d try a different approach or even put it away for the day.
If it was attitudes, I would sometimes send everyone, including myself, to separate rooms to spend a little quiet time. Other times I’d crank up the praise and worship music.
And after a really tough day I would sometimes call one of my two good homeschooling friends who were often able to help me put things into perspective.
Tough homeschool days tended to sneak up on us, complete with tears and dissolving productivity. I used to cancel school on those days, but then it dawned on me that I was teaching my kids to hide away from the tough days instead of learning to conquer them, especially as I learned more about some of the learning issues we were dealing with.
So, we began to actively work together to find ways to make tough homeschool days easier. We went through the to-do lists and whittled them down to the essentials. We found little opportunities for extra snuggles or playtime. Sometimes we even tossed in a batch of homemade cookies.
But, most of all, we verbally encouraged one another and found ways to make each other smile, rewarding our hard work instead of hiding from the struggles.