When the Start of Your Homeschool Year Isn’t All Sunshine & Roses

Today is the first day of fall as I record this episode of the Art of Homeschooling podcast. And I’m thinking about what happens when the start of your homeschool year isn’t all sunshine & roses…

Hey homeschooling mamas & papas, are you starting a new year? Have you just begun your lessons for the fall? Has it been less than stellar? Or even a huge flop? 

Well, I want you to know that you’re not alone, my friend!

It can take some time for everyone to settle into a new routine, a new rhythm. We had lots of years in my family that got off to a rough start. 

Whether you’re new to homeschooling or have been on this journey for a while, know that transitions can be rocky. And they always seem to last longer than we expect them to!

So in this episode, I want to offer you some beginning-of-the-homeschool-year encouragement that we all need to hear sometimes.

Plus some ideas for what you can do when the start of your homeschool year isn’t all sunshine and roses.

When the Start of Your Homeschool Year Isn’t All Sunshine & Roses

First of all, let’s just acknowledge that so many things can derail us at the beginning of a homeschool year.

Perhaps you’re not quite ready with your plans…Or you wake up and discover you forgot to get that one book at the library…Or someone in your family is sick, or you’re getting a lot of resistance and push back from one of your kids, or on your first day, you had a challenging phone call before you even began.

So many things can throw us off track. And when they do ~ when the beginning of a new homeschool year isn’t great ~ we have a tendency to think homeschooling is going to be a disaster all year.

In fact, we can plummet into all-or-nothing thinking so quickly we don’t even recognize it’s happening. There’s a term for this!

All-or-nothing thinking is a common type of cognitive distortion. This just means that your thinking has gotten twisted up and is based on inaccurate information or assumptions.

What I want you to remember here is that a rocky start to your new homeschool year doesn’t mean homeschooling is a failure, or that you or your kids are a failure! 

That’s good news, wouldn’t you say!?!

Here are some tips to help you get back on track when things go awry so that you don’t get stuck in the muck of worry and self-doubt.

Reflect and Reset

Every new year or new season offers an opportunity for us to reflect. I encourage you to save some of your energy and time to make some observations about how everything is going.

Give the newness some time to settle in. Not just days, but a few weeks or even a whole month. Don’t give up or change things too soon. Even if you’re getting push back. I suggest changing or tweaking just one little thing at a time so you can see if it makes a difference. And above all, set aside some time to reflect and reset.

Establish Clear Rhythms and Routines 

At the beginning of a new year or new season, establish clear routines that everyone is aware of.

I often had a really hard time envisioning how our days would play out. Did we have too many activities going on or not enough? Would we feel tired after an outing or energized?

Sound familiar?

That’s where the reflecting I was talking about comes in. But also be sure that your kids know ahead of time what the rhythm will be. Preview each day or the week with them, so they know what to expect. Not all the details, but just to give them a little taste of what to expect. 

Stay Out of the Trap of “All Or Nothing

When things are clunky or not as we’d hoped, we often want to give up entirely…OR dig in our heals and push through. But it turns out that neither of these approaches is very effective!

First of all, we never want to give up out of resignation. That’s very de-motivating. And our children can feel discouraged when we do that as well. On the other hand, pushing through as if it’s our job to MAKE our children DO the work is less than satisfying as well.

The truth is, “all or nothing” usually adds to the problem rather than resolving it. So when things don’t get off to as good a start as you’d like, remember to be OK with the grey areas. Change a few things and then try again. Wait for the muddy waters to clear.

The problem with “all or nothing” thinking is that it over-focuses on mistakes and flaws while discounting strengths, accomplishments, and effort. 

Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.

~lao tzu

Homeschool Days Full of Sunshine & Roses are Just Ahead!

Here’s what I want to leave you with today. Even if the start of your homeschool year has been less than stellar, remember to focus on what has gone well, embrace rhythm as a way to guide you and help your days flow more smoothly, and most of all, stay out of the trap of all-or-nothing thinking.

Transitions are HARD. For that reason, keep in mind that even when the start of your homeschool year isn’t all sunshine & roses, it doesn’t mean anything about how the rest of your year will go. 

Sending you lots of homeschool energy and encouragement!

More Resources

In Episode #3 of the Art of Homeschooling Podcast, Relax into Your Homeschool Rhythm, we’re talking more about rhythm, routines, & schedules.

And in Episode #80, Homeschooling Mantras, you’ll find 12 powerful mantras you might need to hear right now.

For more support, coaching, monthly masterclasses, and a beautiful community of homeschooling parents, check out my Inspired at Home membership, too!

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Or simply pop on over to lovethepodcast.com/artofhomeschooling and choose where you want to leave your review.

And if you want to show your appreciation for the Art of Homeschooling Podcast, you can buy me a coffee!

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