Tough days come – often more frequently than we would like. Things that should be easy feel impossible. Simply getting everyone out of bed is a giant task. That subject that your child excels at has become a burden. School work is taking impossibly long. No one is doing their best work. Attitudes stink. And you just want to throw in the towel.
Should you give up on the day?
Should you walk away and try again later?
Should you give up on homeschooling all together?
When is enough, enough?
Take a deep breath mama. Walk out of the room. Think about why you’re homeschooling or schooling at home. Think about what this time is for. Think about your intent. This doesn’t take but a minute but it’s impact is lasting.
Re-centered? Good. Now, let’s talk about when enough is enough.
Enough is enough when your family needs it to be. Yep, I said it. You are in control of this situation. Does that mean give in every time something is hard? Certainly not. Does that mean that you can take several days off every week? Not if you want to actually follow the homeschooling laws in your state. What it means is that you get to choose when to fight the battles, the mental block, the stinky attitudes, when to teach perseverance. When we’re having a particularly difficult day or moment, I ask myself 3 questions . . .
1. Who is having the hard day? This question usually comes as a gut check. Yes, the kids may be grumpy but are they feeding off of me? Am I projecting some sort of stress on them that has nothing to do with what they are doing? Did I sleep poorly? Am I off? Or is it really them?
2. When did the hard day begin? Did the person wake up that way? If so, why? Is something concerning them so they didn’t sleep well? Do they not feel well? If the person woke up just fine, what happened right before the attitude shift? Did they work on something hard? Did something take longer than expected? Is someone else getting to do something “fun” and so things appear “unfair”? Did another person say or do something that sent them into a tailspin?
3. What can we do to move forward? Would a brain break help? How about some exercise? A nap? Some extra attention? Do we need to push through because this attitude is simply stubbornness? And sometimes meeting stubborn with stubborn is the best choice. Or is it best for our relationship today and long term to be finished? Remember that “why” we thought about at the beginning of this post? Here’s where that comes in. A huge part of our why is building relationships with each other and modeling Christlikeness to one another. So, if this is tearing our relationship apart or causing us to be un-Christlike I have to consider another question, is today a lesson in, let’s say, math or is the lesson on emotional regulation or perseverance? If emotional regulation or perseverance is your answer, then keep pushing through. If it’s not, take a break or switch subjects and come back later. If the attitude and struggle prevails after the break or change of subject, it’s quite possible that you just need to try again tomorrow. You’re not failing if you decide to start again the next day.
There are times when enough is enough. There are times when walking away is the healthiest choice for everyone. Don’t overcomplicate things. Don’t overthink. You know your family. Keep it smart. Keep it simple. And all will be what it needs to be.