**This post may contain affiliate links to certain products we use in our home.
It’s true! I’ve quit homeschooling my kids… at least temporarily. We’ve had a busy hectic schedule here and everyone is off routine which means total CHAOS here. We originally planned to start back this past Monday, and we did, but things just didn’t ‘feel’ right. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been so stressed with everything going but I am just not in the right mindset at the moment.
I didn’t have time to plan like I had wanted so Monday and Tuesday felt so ‘rushed’ and ‘chaotic’ that I was ready to cry several times. We had planned a ‘First Day of School’ video but that didn’t turn out well either as partway through the video I realized we were missing some important pieces to our ‘Morning Table Time’. Sigh… it wasn’t pretty as I went digging through drawers and folders to find everything and then trying to find a place to put it back up was another matter.
I do have most of the first few weeks planned out on our Homeschool Manager app but I still had a few blocks that I wanted to ‘fill in’ with some fun activities. If I couldn’t find something I wanted to use I had planned on making a couple of things. Well, with my trip to PA that hasn’t happened. I just really haven’t felt like doing much of anything since we got back and it has really shown this week.
Lack of Space
We had planned a couple of projects over the summer to help out with space issues in our Little House on the Pond but they didn’t happen. That only led to me feeling more and more frustrated.
We also experienced several interruptions each day, many of them while attempting to make our video. Our homeschool area is usually right around the dining room table, although Joey has been using one of the smaller end tables for his independent work, and the table sits right inside of the front door.
This means that every time someone knocks on the door I have to go answer it if the door isn’t open. This causes an interruption and takes us forever to get back to what we were doing. Not to mention that on occasion guests want to chime in on our lessons. Please don’t get me wrong, I do love having others help out with lessons from time to time but I like to know about it beforehand.
Mr. Awesome is great with math and the kids really like it when he helps them with their school work. Plus hearing something explained in a different way from another person may help them to understand something they didn’t get when I first taught it. I usually want to have a little control over who is helping with what lesson because sometimes people tend to wander away from what the intended point of the lesson was or they get long-winded, like really long-winded.
Our house phone is also right by the door as well and the telemarketers can be relentless some days. I have been pretty good about keeping my phone away from our school area and not checking on notifications every time they pop up. (In fact I’ve been trying to implement a ‘social media free Sunday’ here at our home.) The interruptions just kept piling up one on top of another and when I was already feeling a bit stressed it didn’t help my mood.
On top of unexpected trips and having trees cut down we still have our normal busy schedules to deal with. We have dances at least twice a week and we are gearing up to start beginner classes next month. As the Publicity Chairman for our clubs I have a lot of work for advertising and communicating with potential new dancers.
Then I have some blogging stuff I’ve been working on. I’ve been trying to do a few webinars and courses to help me out. These will also, hopefully, end up benefiting the whole family but they don’t see that. All they see is Momma ‘playing’ on the computer and there is no way for them to distinguish ‘play’ from ‘work’. That’s the life of a work from home Momma, right?
I also had and still have a few blog posts that I need to work on. There are quite a few ideas running around in my head as well as an Inbox full of requests and offers that I need to take care of.
We have also been doing a few ‘side jobs’ like some painting for family and we have a couple of events that we have been planning for the upcoming weeks as well. When we do a square dance event for a company, organization, or other party there are contracts to draw up and schedules to organize. Not to mention that I often need to find child care for those events because we don’t really like to take the whole brood with us to a location we haven’t been to before.
Then yesterday we picked up a nail in our tire when Mr. Awesome went to look at a job. I noticed the warning light come on as we sat outside waiting. It went off after putting some air in the tire but came on again a little bit down the road. After calling the dealership and making an appointment to get the tires checked and an oil change we headed to get groceries. (I hadn’t been grocery shopping since before I left to PA!)
Walking back to the van from taking the carts to the corral I noticed that we had a flat, very flat, tire. We do have insurance where someone will come out and change it but it was starting to rain and the kids were tired and hungry. (I was tired and hungry too.) I felt it would probably be best to try to change it without waiting for help as Mr. Awesome was with us. About 20 minutes later we were on the way home and in desperate need of a shower.
I know that these things are a part of life and they can’t always be avoided so I try to make the best of the situation and remind myself that there is a reason for everything.
Lack of Routines
OK, this is probably one of the biggest downfalls to our homeschool attempt this week. While I was only gone for a weekend that was long enough for the kids to get out of routine and for the house to get more than a little chaotic.
The kids have been sleeping in a lot later than normal which has proven to be a very hard thing to get them out of. They also did very few chores and did not keep up with their household responsibilities. Part of this lies on Mr. Awesome for not keeping up with it but I know he was just trying to keep things simple and easy.
The fact that the routines had not been enforced means that the kids have ‘conveniently forgotten’ a lot of their normal chores. This puts more work on everyone especially myself. While ‘forgetting’ to brush your teeth for a weekend may not kill anyone the ‘forgetting’ to empty the trash might when the smell is enough to knock you off your feet when you open the door after being gone all day.
My routines have also suffered because of all the CHAOS and as a result I hadn’t been to the grocery store. My meal planning has been planned out like a Pantry Challenge for the past week or so. I’ll admit that we also spent more on fast food this past week than I would have on groceries. Not a good thing for someone who has been working so hard to stay on a budget!
So what do I plan to do about all of this and when will we get back to homeschooling?
Well, we do plan to continue homeschooling the kiddos as I still feel strongly about this. In fact I read something the other day that said this year, in Florida alone, there will be approximately 90,000 homeschool students! (I have a post planned on this as well.)
We will continue to do our ‘Morning Table Time’ and probably add the other areas within the next week or two. During this ‘transition’ time I will be working on getting our house back in order. I just can’t function when my house is in CHAOS and disorganized. While our house isn’t that BAD it isn’t the way I’d like it to be.
Last year was rough as we had just moved and trying to get things in order took FOREVER! This past summer we worked hard on getting things organized. So hopefully if I focus my attention on getting things back in order we will have a better homeschool experience.
I will be working on getting lessons planned out and pasting links to videos/articles in the notes section of our Homeschool Manager app. (Check out the giveaway here.) I am also going to get things printed out and filed so they are ready when we need them.(Did I mention that the whole wireless system had went crazy while I was gone? I just got it fixed yesterday.) This will hopefully prevent the craziness of tearing everything apart to find what it is that we need at the last moment.
I already have a blog post series started to keep track of everything we are using so that I can post it for others to use as well. This little bit of time spent planning will help to make that series go along a little easier as well. I will try to get it posted week by week at first so that anyone who wants to follow along can have easy access to resources and materials.
The lack of space has been addressed with Mr. Awesome who is working on some solutions. While we have been looking at some ‘new to us’ houses we haven’t found ‘the one’. We also agree that we would like to be a little bit more financially secure before we commit to a mortgage payment. That means we need to get creative and find some ways to make our current space work better for us.
Then there are the interruptions. I know that interruptions are a fact of life and can not always be prevented. Sigh… we just seem to have so many more than I am used to right now. I have registered with the National Do Not Call Registry as well as with some of the local sites. I also make sure to let each telemarketer know that I want to be removed from their list ASAP. I may look into one of these gadgets here to help prevent telemarketer calls from coming through or I may invest in one of these phone systems that has it all integrated in one unit.
As far as the visitor interruptions, most of them come from people we know, I will have to get a little bit more creative. I do have an idea to rearrange the furniture which will put the homeschool area away from the door. I have also thought about coming up with a simple sign to hang on the door ‘Quiet Please… Learning in Progress!‘ or something like that to let them know that we are indeed working on something important.
There are other interruptions that just can’t be helped like the flat tire that I need to go get fixed when I finish here but we will just need to deal with them as they arise.
One of the great things about homeschooling is the flexibility. I know each family can decide how strict or how relaxed their schedule should be. I consider our schedule to be somewhat relaxed but I do have an outline of things I would like to cover/accomplish within a certain time frame whether it be for the day, the week, the month, or the year. When we have so many interruptions day after day it puts us behind and we end up not finishing what I had planned. The flexibility of being able to put things aside can also be the root of stress when things just keep getting put aside for later.
Our schedules are kind of crazy and I try to allow for that when I plan out our homeschool year. This is part of the reason I love Homeschool Manager so much as I don’t have to erase anything or change anything. We can easily rearrange our schedule or simply work off of our ‘back log’, if I like. I can also enter in important events, just as I do with my Cozi Calendar, so that we can plan around them. Both of these make life so much easier.
I do try to get up earlier than everyone else so I can get a little bit of important work done but sometimes that just doesn’t happen because of one thing or another. This is something that I do need to try to improve on though and I plan to work on this during the next week or so. I also know that once the house is back in order then a lot of this other stuff will fall into place.
I am also trying to come up with some kind of idea to help the kids, and everyone else, know when I am working on something important. Sometimes I go to my bedroom and work on a makeshift desk but the kids know where I am so they are constantly interrupting me. I read somewhere, and maybe even posted, about a mom who wears a hat when she is ready to start homeschooling. This lets the kids know that it is time to settle down and get ready to learn.
I don’t think I want a hat but maybe an apron, I did have one with apples and a chalkboard on it so I may need to dig it out, or another little sign will let them know that I am working. I have even thought of maybe scheduling a little time to head to the library for a bit of solitude. I do want to be accessible for the kids but I also need to have a little bit of distraction free time so I can work on lesson plans, blog posts, club activities, or just taking care of household business.
Then we have the routines. While we have our basic routines in place they just haven’t been followed lately. This will take a little work to get back on track but that will be one of main focuses this week. Once we get back into routines things will start getting back to where they should be and our home will once again be working like the well oiled machine that it has been in the past.
When we get there we will be able to start back to our homeschool routine. The little bit that we get did done was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to sharing it with all of you soon!
Have you ever had to take an unplanned break from homeschool?