It’s all too easy for me to sit here behind my computer screen and paint a rosy picture of our homeschool journey. I mean, really, who wants to air their dirty laundry for everyone to see? The reality is, however, that not every day is a picnic in my homeschool. On the contrary, some days are downright atrocious, and I’d be embarrassed for anyone to be a fly on my wall.
However, even when there are obstacles in my way, it’s important to overcome them in order to continue on this homeschool journey. I hope that by reading some of my ‘in real life’ obstacles, you’ll be encouraged to push through your hard days and keep your eye on your end goal.
Overcoming Obstacles In Your Homeschool
Obstacle #1 – Illness, Injury, and Doctors Galore!
I wrote recently about this being our toughest homeschool year yet, and it definitely ranks as my biggest obstacle to date. My 7th grader has been in physical therapy for over a year for what started as a dance injury. Since then, her therapist has determined that she may have a bit more going on, and it has resulted in one doctor’s appointment after another. In addition, she was sick for several weeks which has resulted in more doctor visits as we work through some food elimination diets.
Needless to say, it has thrown our homeschool into a tailspin this year. You can read more about how I’m currently working around this obstacle in my post, How to Keep Going When You’re Way Behind in Your Homeschool.
Obstacle #2: I’m my own worst enemy!
My teaching degree and classroom training has been a huge obstacle that I’ve had to overcome. I’d like to say that I’ve beat it, but it wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is that I have to remind myself to be flexible more often than I’d like. This morning, for instance, Emma woke up at 10AM. After breakfast, she felt sick and had to go lay back down. It was noon before we ever started our homeschool day.
My gut instinct is to rush her through her day, because that’s what’s most convenient for me. It is not, however, the most conducive environment in which to learn. After I snapped at her twice for petting the dog instead of grabbing her math book, I had to apologize. The freedom of homeschooling is that she can get a late start when she doesn’t feel well, because we can go later into the evening or even catch up on the weekend.
If I could learn to lighten up and bend a little, our homeschool days would run much smoother!
Obstacle #3: The kid who won’t work…
When my son was in third or fourth grade, he had a really rough year. He had a lot going on emotionally, and that was coupled with his already strong-willed personality. Until this year, that was my toughest year.
There were some subjects he truly struggled with, and I had to slow down and reteach a huge chunk of math before we could move on. He hated to write, so I started letting him dictate much of his written work.
On those days when his refusal to do work was flat out defiance, I had to get creative. Thank goodness for the wise counsel God surrounded me with that year, or we may not have made it. We set up reward systems for jobs done well. We withheld extra curricular activities (basketball practice, for instance) when the work wasn’t completed in time.
Then, there was the day we can sit back and laugh about now. On this particularly hard day, I decided that I needed to instill a little tough love. After a particularly raucous tantrum, I calmly asked him to put away all of his school books because I had a job for him. I took him in the other room (so my other kids could work in peace) and explained that if he wasn’t going to do his school work, it was my job to train him for the future. I then proceeded to pile on some down-and-dirty chores like scrubbing all the trash cans, cleaning the bathroom grout with a toothbrush, etc.
After the first chore, he was begging to go back to the schoolroom to finish his work. I held my ground, and he eventually finished all of his chores. The next day, he was more than ready to tackle his homeschool work with a great attitude. I won’t way that every day was easy after that, but that day was a lesson he didn’t soon forget.
See, we’ve had some pretty rough seasons in our homeschool. Even if you can’t relate to my exact experiences, I’m sure you’ve been faced with obstacles of your own – a new baby, a move, loss of a job, a chronic illness. How do you overcome the obstacles that threaten to crumble your homeschool?
This post is part of my ABC’s of Homeschooling series! To read the entire series, visit my ABCs of Homeschooling page. I’ll add to this page each day as the posts go live.