When you’ve had an emergency take over your regular family schedule, it can be incredibly difficult to get things back on track when it’s over. Maybe you’ve been struggling to keep your family going on the right path, and your normal routine has entirely fallen by the wayside. Maybe you’ve been cramming schoolwork in between other necessary activities, and your lessons haven’t been the greatest. Your regular homeschooling plans have disappeared completely, and what’s left is something that doesn’t even resemble your original intentions.
How do you get back on track?
Consider it a fresh start. Just like at the beginning of the school year and any time after major vacations, any time you come back to homeschooling after a long break is a great opportunity to start over. Was there something about your former schedule that you didn’t like? Now is the best time to change it. Something that you meant to accomplish with your kids each day, but never managed to work into the schedule? Put it in your new schedule now and make it part of the new normal.
Let your kids know a definite start date. Don’t just spring on them one morning that you’ll be headed back to school—that just upsets everyone involved, particularly if you have high-needs children. Let them know ahead of time that it’s coming, whether you start on a Monday or in the middle of the week.
Don’t try to play catch-up too fast. Accept that the crisis has put you behind schedule, and that it may take you a little while to get things back to “normal” again. Don’t assume that you will be able to catch everything up within a matter of days—you won’t! Trying will only make you feel like you’re still in crisis mode. Part of getting back to normal is letting things go on as usual—maybe with an accelerated pace when it’s appropriate, or with some weekend classes, but as normal as you’re capable of making it.
Work some time into your schedule for fun. You did that before the crisis hit, right? Remember that it’s still equally important to work things into your schedule that you and your kids will enjoy doing together. Work on projects, do an experiment, or take a field trip! Remember, the important thing is still that they’re learning, not necessarily that they’re cramming down state standards as fast as they can swallow them.
Take some time out for you. After a crisis—whatever it may have been—you need time to recharge. If you don’t, not only will your routine suffer, but your homeschooling schedule will, as well. Take some time to take care of yourself. Make time every day for a long shower, or to read a good book, or to watch a movie that you know you will enjoy. Whatever you do, taking a little bit of time for you will benefit everyone in the long run.
Let your kids have some “me time,” too. They’ve likely been as stressed as you have, even if they aren’t showing it in the same ways. Give them a chance to rest and recharge a little, even if you have to make some concessions. Let them work on something that they will enjoy doing every once in a while instead of cramming down the subjects that were most ignored while you were in crisis mode, or block out some time when they are not expected to do schoolwork or chores, just to be kids. Kick them outside for at least a little while each day, weather permitting. Take it easy, and watch them for cues. If they’re going back to normal behavior, then you can probably expect a little more of them. If bad behavior is lingering, it might be worth considering what needs to change in your daily schedule.