Recently, I was having my round of check-ins with the different families I work and consult with. Almost every one of them asked the same question:
“How do we stay motivated at this time of year?”
As we all know there are no easy answers to any of the questions we ask ourselves about our gifted children and students. And I’ll level with y’all, there is no easy answer to this question either.
One Room, the micro-school I led for gifted learners, met for class three days a week. The other days of the week my students homeschooled, took lessons, and engaged in other enrichment classes.
Micro-schools like One Room can be ideal for gifted children who tend to accumulate stress like a snowball gathering snow, due to their heightened sensitivities and intensities. Five-day-a-week, traditional school with all its sensory triggers and structure can feel like torture for a gifted learner!
Here’s what I’ve noticed. The transition back into the homeschool routine is extremely difficult after the sensory avalanche of the holidays. In February things are meant to return to business as usual. Isn’t this expectation a wee bit oversimplified, especially for the gifted child?
After the holidays haven’t we all been tested and grown as a result? I think we owe it ourselves to take a little bit of time to integrate that growth into our routine.
Also, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing. SAD is diagnosed by a depression that occurs when the weather turns colder and greyer. It is thought to be an evolutionary device that allows people to conserve energy (hibernate) during the winter months when survival was historically challenging.
My advice: In the fall months before the holiday season begins: GO HARD.
Whatever your family values– academics, creativity, freedom of choice. Go hard on those things with as much zeal as you can muster.
And plan in advance to have a few months when not much is going to get done. Of course, if you’re homeschooling with a structure, you cannot let up completely as a basic minimum of math and language arts has to be completed. As a homeschooler you can plan to function on a pared down set of expectations.
You may want to take this down-time to plan something exciting for the Spring! You may just want to wait and see what’s going to come up organically.
Also, around January 1st sometimes I like to switch it up. Try a new math curriculum, download a bunch of new apps. Have you seen IGame Mom’s blog? It’s an amazing resource for fun educational apps. I often use January to throw as many different learning opportunities against the wall and see what sticks. What sticks is what gets us through February.
Most of all, go easy on yourself during this time. There is no homeschooling family on earth that has figured out how to stay perfectly motivated all year. Have you seen this infographic on homeschooling in America and how much more effective it can be than traditional school? Maybe print this out and tape it to the wall… now.
How does your homeschooling family stay motivated throughout the school year? I’m always looking for new tips and tricks! Please share with me and the rest of our community in the comments below.
This blog post was a contribution to the GHF Blog Hop on staying motivated throughout the homeschool year.