Around this point in every semester, my children and I tend to hit a lull in our learning together. The enthusiasm of fresh beginnings is waning and other areas of life begin to crowd in, diverting attention and easily sliding us out of routine. Am I alone in this? We are caught in the nebulous middle of our term, far from both the start and our finish around the holidays. Perhaps it is here where I’m most likely to forget goals each year, to lose sight of what we wanted in the beginning when I felt so hopeful and full of clear vision–or at least more energy. Wink.
By this point in our unofficial school year, I’ve realized maybe some goals I had in August are meant to be pruned and left by the wayside for another year or season. Our handwork, for instance, has been slow, as we’ve encountered trouble I didn’t anticipate. I’m not intending to let it go, but I didn’t understand how long it would take to work on skills unfamiliar to all of us. Slow is okay, I have to remind myself. We have no tests or checkmarks to prove, take your time and enjoy it. This seems to be a fitting reminder in all of our work. Some of our science or history projects have seemed to fall away simply because of time, which is okay too. But it begs the honest question of myself: how do I fight the lull, the longing to shove aside what is hard and instead sink into comfortable, yet aimless days? I know, as with tidying or anything else, I’m looking for that tender balance between effort and letting go. Here’s a few things I’m trying right now.
relax the routine a bit | Last week, emotions seemed to be running fairly high around here, and I knew we needed to change our routine up a bit. I let the kids sleep in and we limited our academic work to practicing maths and a bit of reading each day. We took a few mornings out for hiking and other things. It was sort of a fall break, a way for us to experience a change while keeping with a few, small goals.
make time for yourself to be inspired | I realized part of why I feel fresh with vision at the beginning of the year directly connects to the amount of time I’m giving to learning myself. I read everything from books to blogs, sifting through ideas and finding ones that might fit our family. Once we begin our school year, this sort of time naturally falls away, too. We are busy doing! This week, I’m planning a little more time for myself. I’ve begun sifting through books and magazines I’ve read before, notes I’ve made, perusing blogs or Pinterest for help revising my original ideas and searching for fresh inspiration. In short, I’m taking time to nurture my own love of learning. It’s a good start.
ask my children | This can seem simple and obvious, and yet I sometimes forget to simply ask my children their thoughts about our routine. Since my children are getting older this is getting easier to naturally discuss while we’re making dinner or reading together. I ask them them questions such as, “How is our work going for you?” “What’s difficult or dull for you during our day?” “What’s your favorite thing you’re learning right now?” “Is there anything you’re sad we don’t have enough time for?” These straightforward questions help bond us in such an insightful way.
Do you experience this sort of lull in your routine? How do you fight your own or your children’s lack of enthusiasm? I would love to hear.