It’s homeschool slump season! When the excitement of the new school year has faded. And the days have become shorter and much colder. As a result your family has been spending much more time inside the house. Motivation to complete school work has disappeared. And some homeschooling parents are now asking themselves, ‘Why am I doing this?’ Welcome to the November Homeschool Slump. A very common, and normal feeling that homeschool families often face at this time of the year. So, let’s figure out how to beat the November Homeschool slump and get back on track with learning.
First of all, know that this is completely normal.
Lots of homeschool parents report feeling like they’re in a slump at this time of year. Sibling arguments are increasing. While motivation to get school work done is decreasing. Subjects that perhaps your child was excelling at are suddenly sub-par. The situation quickly turned from your kids being excited to open their fresh, crisp workbooks for fun learning, to everyone wanting to throw in the towel.
Maybe the feeling of wanting to quit homeschooling has become much more persistent in your mind. Your overwhelm as a parent-teacher has become pretty consuming. Before you get down on yourself, please remember that these feelings and frustrations are not at all a reflection of how you are as a parent, or a parent-teacher. These heavy feelings are directly related to the November Homeschool Slump.
How to know if you’re in a November Homeschool Slump?
These are some key characteristics that point to the November Homeschool Slump.
- Forcing yourself to paste on a smile when you’re trying to teach your kids a Math lesson.
- Trying to appear motivated for your kids, while you feel like you can barely put one foot in front of the other.
- Counting through how many weeks are left of school, over and over.
- Feeling like you want to quit homeschooling.
- Dreading another day of homeschooling.
- Feeling tired and fed up with learning.
- Losing patience when it comes to teaching.
- Finding your curriculum to be boring.
- Your kids groan and grump when you say it’s time to do school.
- Feeling like you’re failing as a homeschool-parent.
Do these sound familiar at all? Please know, I totally understand how you’re feeling. Because as I write this, I’m in the middle of a homeschool slump with our own homeschool. The truth is, homeschooling is incredibly difficult. Even if you have the very best curriculum, an amazing routine, and are maintaining the happy, supportive, homeschooling-parent role. You will find that a homeschool slump can sneak in out of the blue.
Maybe you aren’t the one that is experiencing the slump. Perhaps it’s your child that is feeling the strong lack of motivation, mixed with agitation and frustration. Whether it’s you, your child or both of you that are struggling with a homeschool slump. It’s important to be able to spot the signs and know how to overcome it.
So, how can you beat the November Homeschool Slump?
Or, any homeschooling slump for that matter. While specifically we are talking about November because, well, it’s November. It’s important to remember that homeschool slumps can occur at any time of the year. Most common times though, are the November, and January – March slumps.
So let’s fix it.
Step one: Know the signs.
Did you skim past them? Scroll back up and check out some of the signs of homeschooling slumps. It’s a really good idea to know what these signs are. So that you are able to catch the slump before it becomes an issue with your homeschool. Write them down if you need to. Or bookmark this blog post so that you can easily reference it when you suspect that a slump might be just beyond the horizon.
Step two: Chat with your kids.
Ask your kids what subjects they dislike the most. Their answers might just surprise you. We often have a feeling as to what they dislike. But occasionally there might be another subject that they really don’t like but force themselves to do it. Which then leads to a frustrating next subject. Make a point to ask your children what they don’t like, be sure not to try to direct their answers. Just give them free space to talk.
Step three: Mix it up!
Think about some ways to make learning fresh and enjoyable again. Are you curious how you can mix things up even more? I mean, you’re already homeschooling, isn’t that enough of a mix up with education? The answer is, no. There are so many awesome ways to mix things up when it comes to your homeschool. Check out Pinterest for some amazing ideas.
Step four: Play more games!
Learning games are an incredible avenue for creative education. They also make learning more fun. While amping up engagement quickly. Another huge benefit of adding games to your school time: They require little to no prep time! And there’re so many educational games available! If you’re having an off day, and can’t seem to get the kids to want to learn via book or normal curriculum. Add in some fun learning games. The brain learns so much better when it’s having fun.
Step five: Go outside!
Maybe you’re avoiding the outdoors because you just really don’t like being cold. I get it. However, it’s super important to get your kids (and yourself) outside for at least 20 minutes a day. As going outside has so many benefits.
For both your child and yourself, the outdoors offers improved short-term memory, restored mental energy, stress relief, better vision, improved concentration, improved thinking and creativity, immune system boost, and more. You can learn more about these incredible scientific benefits here: Business Insider – 11 Scientifically Proven Reasons You Should Go Outside.
Additionally, there are major benefits for your child when you bring them outside. According to Today’s Parent, playing outside boosts academic performance, improves sleep, increases happiness, reduces ADHD symptoms and more. You can view that article here: Today’s Parent – 5 reasons why every kid should play outside.
Clearly the outdoors is an excellent solution to the homeschool slump that you’re finding you and your family in. Schedule in some time each day to head to the great outdoors.
Step six: Get up and Move!!
Sometimes going outside can be difficult, for example: It’s freezing rain and dangerous to head outdoors. Or it’s just pouring rain and you don’t really want to be soaked and cold. You can still get up and move around the house! A known fact is that kids don’t like to sit still for too long. So, if you’re trying to get your kids to work on their curriculum for hours at the table, because you are a bit behind. Nothing good will come from that situation. Take breaks for movement. Run around the house, go up and down the stairs, play indoor tag, or add in a quick game of the floor is lava? There are so many awesome opportunities for movement. So get moving!
Step seven: Schedule out of house days.
They don’t need to be fancy. You don’t need to always have a perfect plan in motion for what you will do on any given day. But scheduling some important ‘out of the house’ days can be super helpful when it comes to homeschooling slumps. Are Thursday’s the most difficult learning day out of your school week? Then plan to go for a nice breakfast at a local restaurant together. Or plan park afternoons with other homeschool friends. You could also sign your kids up for homeschooling activities. Like homeschool soccer, gymnastics, or art classes. There are so many opportunities available.
Step eight: Join a homeschool group.
Not sure where to start? Ask around! Chat with local homeschoolers and ask them what group they are a part of. Google homeschooling groups in your neighbourhood. Because having a ‘real life’ homeschool group to be a part of is really good for both you and your child. Being a part of a homeschool community offers you and your children the opportunity to socialize, and participate in ‘out of house days’ with scheduled homeschool activities. There’re also opportunities for online homeschool groups, you can check those out! As often times you will find local homeschooling groups through the benefit of online homeschooling groups.
Step nine: Schedule Field Trips.
Clearly we are talking about getting out of the house a lot. Because, it’s important! Scheduled field trips are different from ‘out of house days’. Because scheduled field trips can be unique day trips to museums, local farms, sugar shacks and more. Some really fun scheduled field trips that my own homeschool family has participated in include: A day trip to the Ripley’s Aquarium, The Science Centre, art exhibits, rocks and mineral museums, history museums and so much more. There are so many opportunities all around us. So, do some research, ask fellow homeschoolers if they’d be interested in joining you on a field trip and start planning!
Step ten: Lower your expectations.
Holding yourself to high expectations is a quick trip to homeschool slump which is a hop, skip and jump away from parental burn out. Your homeschool doesn’t need to be perfect. I understand you might feel pressured to make it be that way, or appear that way. But all that added pressure will only add a high level of intensity to both yours, and your children’s frustrations. It’s ok to be a little behind with your homeschool. And it’s ok to have days where the lesson is a flop. It’s ok if your child isn’t learning as quick as another. Which leads me to the next step.
Step eleven: Never compare your homeschool to someone else’s.
Comparing is a terrible, terrible habit to get into. So avoid it at all costs. Is your child struggling with reading? While your friends child has been reading since they were 3? Never compare your child’s learning pace to another child’s learning pace. Additionally you should never compare your homeschool to another families homeschool. Every family is unique and has their own learning vibe. When you compare yourself and your family to another, you are messing with your own homeschool vibe. So don’t do that!
Step twelve: Utilize independent work time.
Parents often feel the homeschool slumps more than their kids do. If you suspect it’s you that is struggling the most, plan more independent work for your kids. This can look like: Simplified Math worksheets, novel studies, or creative writing. Adding in some independent work time can be very helpful for you but also for them. As independent work time offers children the opportunity to practice their independence.
Step thirteen: Freshen up your curriculum.
It’s excellent to have a base curriculum to keep your family on track throughout the school year. However, it’s also a great idea to add in specialized studies and lessons around certain times of the year. For example: If your child is struggling with their basic Math curriculum, you can add in a fun mini unit which has unique math sections included in the lesson plans.
Adding in mini units to your study is a great way to freshen up your curriculum, and get a slight change of pace that will help you and your kids get over the November Homeschool Slump.
You can browse the Schoolio Marketplace for fun mini units for your homeschool. Schoolio Marketplace
Step fourteen: Don’t be afraid to take a break.
It’s ok to take a day off or two every so often. And it’s ok to take a week off here and there if you need to. I know that you are worried that your children will fall behind, but they won’t. The fact is that it’s better for everyone to take a break and mentally reset vs. Forcing learning during frustration, impatience and agitation. Learning just won’t happen in the right way under those circumstances. So, take a break!
Step fifteen: Don’t feel guilty.
Please don’t feel guilty. Parental guilt is never a good thing. And, homeschool parents often feel much more guilt than the average parent. Always wondering if they’re doing a good enough job, feeling like they’re failing at their child’s education. Doubting if they purchased the right curriculum for their kids. Feeling guilty when you do take a break or when you force everyone to do copy-work, and are short with them in reply. Please, don’t feel guilty. Homeschool parents are one-of-a-kind. Specializing in self-discipline, patience, and motivation. Homeschooling is not for the weak. Just because you’ve had some bad days or you’re facing a tough homeschool slump. Doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. Please know that you’re right where you’re supposed to be. You’re doing an excellent job. And the good days will always outweigh the bad. Keep going!