Coping with those Rotten Awful Bad Homeschooling Days When Everything Goes Wrong
by Beverley Paine
Bad days. I had more of those than any other kind. Take a look at some of the articles on my website under http://homeschoolaustralia.com/sitemap.html#managinghomeschoollife (there are probably some others worth reading under 'motivation' too).
It's okay to have rotten days, do nothing days, terrible hate-yourself and the kids days. Actually, it's normal.
That's something the story books, films, movies, TV shows and parenting guides don't tell you. They tell you that yes, it happens, but that it's your job to make sure it doesn't happen again.
It's okay. Tomorrow is another day. It will be different. And if it isn't, the day after will be.
The best and quickest and most effective way to deal with bad days is simply experience them. Don't try to change them. Wallow in them. Enjoy them. Accept them. Celebrate them. Don't get hung up on them. Go with the energy that is flowing even if it is horrid and slow and depressing. Just let it flow and go. The more we try to stop days like this and intervene and make them better the crappier they get. Because ultimately, these days result from something that has happened before - a late night, illness, money problems, irritating visitors who insist on criticising us, etc, etc, etc.
We can't change the past... all we can do is make a note to try and avoid stuff like that happening again. Protect ourselves from falling into this mess again. Which means, basically, looking after ourselves. Not having late nights. Make allowances for whatever is happening. Have takeaway instead of cooking that super nutritious meal because you have been busy tending sick kids all day. Put away the bookwork and watch a movie together. Go for a walk instead of doing the housework. Paint string pictures instead of washing the dishes, then eat out again. Whatever it takes to de-stress the environment. Gradually, bit by bit we will adapt and change our behaviour so that the precursors to bad days stop happening.
I had a zillion bad days. Really bad days. Anyone who has met my (now adult) children can attest that bad days aren't a recipe for parenting disaster. We aren't going to stuff our children up forever, either developmentally or educationally because we have more than our fair share of bad days. Our children are amazingly resilient and bounce back, much faster than we do. We need to learn from that, from the lesson they offer us about bouncing back and getting on with life, moving on to the next moment and letting go of the angst and guilt we like to dump on ourselves.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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