After long breaks, I usually have to get creative and make our learning environment enticing. This isn't solely for the girls' benefit, but for mine too. Breaks have an effect on the brain. There's a sense of easy that takes over so becoming more focused isn't always an easy transition.
When we jumped back into our studies, I knew I didn't want to start off by falling into the checklist mode. You know, writing a list of assignments, checking them off as they were completed, and calling it a day. In order to not do that, I made different set of goals instead. A set that included enjoyable things like doing Daily Puzzlers, listening to Diane Waring's What in the World? audio discs, and starting our day with a nice mug of hot chocolate (recipe below).
- Take time to plan and prepare. Making a list of goals for each day can offer guidance. Also by planning, you can guarantee that you will have the materials needed to complete any lessons or activities.
- Incorporate activities that are not the norm. Each morning we have a morning gathering time which includes fun activities such as my oldest daughter's favorite, Daily Puzzlers and games like Scripture Memory.
- Reduce anxiety. I am usually anxious when I start something new. I have learned to channel these anxious feelings into excitement versus worry. I am most successful with this process if I submit the thoughts to prayer.
- Approach the first back with excitement versus dread. When I am crabby then the atmosphere in my home reflects it. Therefore, I intentionally become the thermostat in our learning environment since I know getting back into the groove of things can be just as hard for children as it is for adults.
- Be flexible. I intentionally do not overschedule our first sessions back. I pencil in realistic goals. I really do use a pencil. :) For us, I left out foreign languages our first week back because they aren't our most exciting subjects. I also didn't plan many outside activities because they may hinder us from getting back on track.
This approach did exactly what it was expected to do which was creating an enjoyable, relaxing learning environment. When our youngest was asked, "How was your first day back to school?" Her response was, "Awesome!" A response that would delight any home schooling mother.
How does transitioning after breaks work in your home? Share your tips for making transitioning a bit easier in the comments.
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup chocolate chips (I've used both milk and semi-sweet; I usually do half and half)
- whipped cream
- Heat milk in medium saucepan over medium low heat.
- Add chocolate chips and a dash of cinnamon.
- Stir occasionally during a course of 5-10 minutes.
- Serve in mugs. This recipe makes two mugs.
- Top with whipped cream and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
- Serve to your favorite people. :)