Re-entry can be ugly, folks.
The other day, a friend asked me about the “best part” of our holiday break. I immediately replied, “all that blessed white space on my calendar!”
It was glorious.
But all good things must come to an end. And that last Sunday of vacation? I had the Sunday night blues BIG time. I’m no fool and I know that getting back into the homeschool swing of things can be tricky business.
Still, with another homeschooler added to our fold, I wanted re-entry to be as painless as possible.
And so, as my family sat in front of the fire watching Return of the Jedi and eating popcorn, I sat with a notebook in my lap and books spread out before me. And I know I wasn’t alone because, when I was procrastinating, I saw you all doing the same on Instagram.
Right now, in our homeschool journey, I don’t typically plan on Sundays. I mean, I have an idea of what I want to accomplish each week, and I have little notes all over the place, but I’m not one to sit down and plan it all out. So the fact that I was planning it all out said something about my desire for the first week back to go well.
Monday arrived and I was up and at ’em early. I’m talking up, showered, dressed, fed, and ready with a smile when those little people descended the stairs. I had a dentist appointment later in the day and a babysitter (Hallelujah!!!!) coming, so I wanted to make sure I showed Monday who was the boss before all of that.
And, you guys, I did.
We did more before 10:30 am than we usually do all day. But it wasn’t in a pressured we-must-do-all-the-things way, it was more of a the-stars-are-aligned-and-everyone-is-wearing-pants sort of way.
We read aloud, lots.
We played some math games.
We wrote out some thank you notes.
We made hasty pudding, just like Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Actually, if we’re being honest here, the kids made hasty pudding while I drank my coffee and watched them make a beautifully fun and delicious mess.
As I sat in that dentist chair, I felt proud of my homeschooling self. I had banged Monday morning clear out of the park. Go me!
Aaaaaaaand then Tuesday happened.
See that photo above? Those jammies and slippers belong to yours truly and I was still wearing them at 12:37 pm on Tuesday. Now, believe me, there are days when we jam it up around here, and there are even re-jammin’ days. But Tuesday morning was a loss. I know this because the kids asked for lunch and I thought to myself, “Lunch? It can’t be lunch time!” and then I looked at the clock, and down at my jams, and I snapped that sad little photo.
I don’t even know what we were doing, exactly. There was a lot of bickering. And there was far too much whining. And there were some bumps and bruises on overtired noggins and kneecaps. And there were tears.
And there were cups and cups of super-strong, dark coffee.
To be fair, there had been some reading.
But somehow lunchtime sneak-attacked my jammie covered kiester and I had absolutely nothing to show for myself. It was the complete opposite of the day before.
I felt sorry for myself for a minute. How had I gone from super-planner woman to jams and bedhead at noon in a mere 24 hours? But then I remembered that this is okay. It’s normal to have trouble getting back into a routine after a wonderful vacation.
And, do you know what else? The beauty of homeschooling is that you can have a bad day and make up for it on other days, or you can have a bad morning but then a fantastic afternoon. And that’s what I decided to do, folks. I patted down that bedhead, downed the last sip of my beloved coffee, and gathered my little people.
First, we brewed tea because that’s what we Brave Writers do.
And then, we focused on learning. While eating our lunch and sipping our tea, I started to read (psst… I have a reading-related post over on GeekMom this week).
We started with Little House in the Big Woods because the Little House series is amazing and it never fails to inspire learning.
Then, we read more great books on subjects related to Little House.
And then we read a goofy book that had absolutely nothing to do with Little House just for fun.
And then I cleaned up our lunch while the little two worked on math together and my oldest practiced piano.
And then my oldest did his math, followed his new obsession: Memorize the Periodic Table. Stay tuned for a post on this one, folks!
Then, I started to relax because I could see that things were happening. I stopped mentally crossing off boxes in my mind because I knew we were back on our respective games. I did, however, take some photos because this little post was starting to write itself in my mind.
After returning from karate class on that freezing evening, the kids wanted to take an early tub and get into clean jammies. And they asked if I could read more Little House while they bathed. I happily obliged and then we gathered in the kitchen where the kids made bird feeders while I worked on dinner.
Sometimes, re-entry can be downright ugly. Sometimes you find yourself, in your jams, drinking lukewarm coffee at 12:37 pm. Sometimes, certain mornings are a loss. But that doesn’t mean that you are destined to have a bad day. You can turn those days around. All you need is a good book and an open mind.
Now, it’s your turn…
I love hearing from you guys. How are you doing? How goes the re-entry? Have you had ugly moments, or have you hit the ball out of the homeschool park? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram