Written by Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley of My Little Poppies
Put it in your back pocket: Preparing for homeschool slumps
This summer, we started our mornings with Coffee and Books on the back patio. As the kids ate breakfast, I read aloud. For much of the summer, this was the extent of our homeschooling. I’d read until they lost interest, or until it was time to head to the pool.
Our days were fluid, open-ended, free.
But this week, the air has changed. Once heavy and thick, it is now light and crisp; the breeze carries a familiar chill.
This week, Coffee and Books was interrupted because the kids needed to head inside to grab hoodies and – gasp! – shoes.
And this week, for the first time in months, I had a child ask when we would start “our regular homeschooling.”
The change of season helps with the summer-to-homeschool transition. It awakens something in us. After a summer of fun, we yearn for structure and routine.
I have loved back-to-school shopping since I was a little girl.
That new book smell
Brand new markers and crayons, sharp colored pencils
September is a clean slate. As a homeschool mom, I start September with a plan. I am energetic and inspired, ready to make this year our best homeschool year yet.
There’s something really special about autumn. I love the brilliant, ever-changing colors, the crackling of leaves underfoot, cozy sweaters, apple picking, and pumpkin everything.
Change is good. It keeps things fresh…
…But, this year feels different.
This year, I am feeling that September excitement but, if we’re being completely honest, I’m also feeling something else: trepidation.
I know what comes after the excitement, apple picking, and pumpkin everything.
As much as I love making new tracks on fresh powder and the way a fresh snowfall envelops the world in silence, I know what is looming.
Some seasons of homeschool are harder than others.
As we embark on our third year of homeschooling, I am all-too-aware of the November Slump and February Blues.
The days will be darker, grayer.
Kids will bounce viruses back and forth for weeks on end.
And somewhere along the way, despite best-laid plans, my motivation will plummet.
It was a great summer.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Zac Brown Band in concert at Fenway Park. My husband and I parked outside our first apartment, walked past old haunts, had dinner at a favorite restaurant.
It was an amazing night filled with music we love. I spent the evening dancing and singing to favorite songs, lost in the moment.
I was completely present, over-the-moon happy, wholly grateful for my place in the universe, entirely at peace.
(How often does THAT happen?)
It was a perfect evening.
At one point, Zac addressed the crowd. It was almost as if he was reading my mind when he asked, “You know this feeling? What you’re feeling right now?”
He went on to say that he wanted us to take that feeling, put it in an envelope, and tuck it in our back pocket for when things get cruddy. (Zac used a more colorful word.)
And I thought to myself, “YES! THIS!! But how??”
Summer concerts bring me joy but that post-concert high – no matter how hard I try- never lasts more than a few weeks.
Kind of like my September homeschooling momentum.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’d love to have some September momentum saved in my back pocket for February.
Preparing for homeschool slumps
Right now, we are all excited about the new year.
We are armed with new books, fancy pens, and sharpened pencils.
We have big plans and exciting ideas.
We are inspired, fresh, present.
But those of us who have been here before know it won’t last forever.
Well, Kara and I are planning something. We’re brainstorming because we’d like to have some tricks in our back pocket for when February hits.
So, stay tuned! (And while you’re waiting, be sure to read this post from Kara because she actually has a February envelope!)
Here are some inspiring books to keep in your back pocket…
Now, it’s your turn. Tell us: How do you prepare for homeschool slumps? Share here!
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