Thursday, January 22

Homeschooling When You're Distracted

Who among us doesn't have to deal with this?

Maybe you're waiting to hear about a medical test. Waiting for your oldest child to call you when they finish that road trip back to college. Worried about the stock market. Hoping to hear good news about your husband's job interview. Wishing you could just break away for the afternoon and work on a special project. Ever heard the phrase, "You're only as strong as your weakest link?" Well, getting the kids focused will only happen to the degree that you remain focused.

I think I've spent the past five years in a state of distraction. And over the next couple of months it will only increase. So what do we do? Here's my pattern:

1. Get something done. First move through the most important parts of the learning day (Math, reading and writing are my choices). If nothing else happens at least you covered the basic foundations.

2. Chunk it up more. If I think we need to accomplish 9 things today and I'm not in a productive state of mind then I will probably do all nine badly. If I think we need to accomplish two and then two and then two more, etc. then it feels possible. Taking breaks in between ideas or concepts or subject is fine.

3. Give in. If what's distracting me is going to keep me from being an effective teacher/parent, then I need to deal with the distraction as best as I can. I can work toward solving a problem that is distracting me or relieve some of anxiety by making a phone call to someone who will let me vent. Once I've given in to it a bit, I'll be able to focus more on what the children need to address for the day. It could mean not starting "school" until after lunch, but it is okay.

4. Put the kids first. There are certain things that weigh on our minds that we can't do a darn thing about. Kids are a perfect way to get your mind off something and they would love to have your complete attention. Let them do something out of the ordinary and call it school. Today I just might pull out the watercolors and we'll all paint. Yesterday we made Chinese food together for our dinner (because we're studying China) and it counted as part of our day. The fact that they were helping me made me more alert, took my mind of other things and made the experience of cooking a meal for the family much more enjoyable.

Homeschooling comes with a lot of freedoms, but it also comes with a lot of distractions. (You all know that you don't have to answer the phone when it rings, right?) Holding myself accountable is one of the greatest challenges I face. Some days more than others. Now, what do we have left to do today....?

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