A couple of weeks ago I went mountain biking for the very first time. I learned how to lower my center of gravity and sit far back from the handle bars. Last week I finally learned how to make a loaf of gluten free yeast bread. Over the last few weeks I have been learning how to care for our dog, which was recently diagnosed with diabetes. (A month ago I didn’t even know dogs could get diabetes!) I have been busy designing a new garden, figuring out how to use a new history curriculum, organizing a new home school group and entertaining a lot of family. Life has been full and busy, which is great except for one thing: I’m a writer (at least a wanna-be writer) and I am preoccupied by so many things I can’t write. The thought of sitting down for even 30 minutes and organizing my thoughts on a single topic is almost torturous.
My early bout of spring fever has given me some serious empathy for my squirmy, active children. Sometimes they are excited about our day’s written work, but there are other days when glares and moans of agony are all that meet my request to get out a pencil. So what’s a mom to do when neither she nor her children can sit still? Here are a few things that seem to help with those wiggly days.
- Establish a routine. At our house we try to start our seated work at approximately the same time every morning. When we all know what to expect it’s easier to settle into the day.
- Take frequent breaks. Sometimes it is tempting to make kids sit until they’re done with an assignment, especially when they are stalling and droopy. However, I find that if I have them run a few stairs or spend a few minutes on the trampoline they come back energized and ready to get to work.
- Work movement into the lesson plan. When I let my kids color or play with Legos while I read aloud it helps everyone focus on the material. Any project that doesn’t involve a pencil and paper is always met with enthusiasm.
- Encourage study and exploration of topics that are of interest to the kids. We are all better at focusing when we’re studying something that is interesting to us.
- Break up the routine. As important as routines are, life gets pretty darn boring when we do the same exact thing every. single. day.
- Recognize that there truly are times and seasons. It is normal for interests to ebb and flow. All I wanted to do all summer was write. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Now it’s like pulling teeth. So I’m going to cut myself some slack, learn and do things that are more in tune with my current energy levels, and recognize that not all learning has to be done with a pencil and paper.
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