Consistency is huge when raising children and flexibility is huge when homeschooling. So how do the two mesh and not contradict each other?
Having established routines helps to be consistent but by having them be routines instead of schedules, you have flexibility because when things come up, like a late night, you can have the flexibility to sleep in and yet once you do get up, you have the routines in place to enable you to get done what needs to be done. Now, you may need to be further flexible and cancel, eliminate, or postpone some items from the routine (like certain school subjects or activities) in order to accomplish what absolutely must be done.
Flexibility involves realizing that not every day of the school week HAS to cover every subject and that sometimes there are “bare bones” things that must be done in order to count the day as educational, remembering that “life skills” are essential to a child’s training.
Now the flip side of the coin is being consistent but the consistency I’m talking about is with what you say and following through. If you tell your child that you are going to punish him/her if he does xyz, then you better follow through or you have just shown your child that you do not always mean what you say and have just opened the door to some tough times ahead as he/she tests your word. It’s not easy, I know!
Also remember that children, no matter what their age, need play time. Break up book work with physical activity, even if it is just going to check the mail or running around the house. When Tiffany was young, many times she would day dream and dawdle and just plain had a hard time focusing on the subject at hand. I would have her stop and run around the house three times. Sometimes this required bundling up, but the air was invigorating in the winter and good for her. In the warmer times, the outside air could help ‘blow the cobwebs out of her head’ and help her focus a bit better upon her return inside, enjoying the air conditioned house and a glass of water. Other times I would just have her stop and do some jumping jacks or bounce on the rebounder for a bit. Something to break her out of her procrastination.
Sometimes we would take a break from educational pursuits and race each other as we each accomplished a cleaning task. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break, putting on some music, turning it up loud (as long as nobody is sleeping) and dancing away for 5-15 minutes. Physical activity can boost attention spans when the child returns to his/her work.
So remember to be consistent, flexible, and take breaks incorporating some activity.
Until next time, God bless,