How to Work Through a Challenging Day of Homeschooling
No matter where your little one learns — in a classroom, online, or homeschool preschool — everyone has tough days. Homeschooling is indeed beneficial in many ways; however, not every day doing preschool at home is a walk in the park. The balance of parent/child and teacher/student can be hard some days. Every teaching lesson has its obstacles, and sometimes these obstacles are simply more difficult to navigate. Some days we just don’t have the energy to work through a difficult preschool at home challenge. All of these things can happen, and you can work through them.
Here are some ways to help both you and your little one take care of yourselves when dealing with a hard homeschooling day:
Try a different way – Let’s say your preschool at home curriculum calls for a science experiment and you forgot to get an essential material, or maybe your little one is just not interested and it’s starting to feel like “what’s the point?” See if they would rather read a storybook about a science subject, or even watch an educational show about that subject. We’re not going to learn the same way every day; finding something they will engage with in whatever way they are able that day is one tactic to still accomplish a bit of the intended lesson. They may even gain interest in the experiment after learning about it in a different way.
Take a break – Tension can build in times of frustration. If you feel yourself needing a breather, give your little one something to do that they enjoy independently — possibly some time in their calm corner — and give yourself a break as well. Get some water and/or a snack for both of you; this gives you each a moment to self-regulate, fuel with some brainfood, and come back to work through the homeschool preschool lesson together. Another way to break the tension is to play a silly game or have a dance party. Sometimes our brains and bodies just need a break in order to move forward.
Pivot – If sticking to the curriculum isn’t in the cards that day, change direction. Switch subjects or allow them to work on something they enjoy; be that an art project, building with legos, a matching game, or molding some playdough. Learning through meaningful play is a way to break up the lessons, and make homeschool preschool learning look and feel different. Maybe you were teaching about dinosaurs so you begin to make dinosaurs out of playdough — start conversations about the topic and drop in little lessons as you play.
Call it a day – Some days we just don’t have the capacity to do it all. Everyone has days when patience wears thin or energy is low, and letting the day go is not giving up. Teaching a toddler who didn’t sleep very well the night before is going to be tough, so why not put the homeschool preschool lessons aside and spend the day doing something you and your little one will actually enjoy — cuddling up on the couch with a favorite movie or tv show or book, or taking a nature walk! Putting pressure on yourself and your little one to learn when feeling this way is not going to be fun nor is it going to be productive, but practicing self-care and being good to your mind and body when they feel in need of a recharge is productive.
The hard days do not define your homeschool preschool journey — even those hard days can be great teaching opportunities. Valuable lessons are taught to your little one when you teach them to take care of themselves when they are not feeling their best. Learning how to work through complex emotions on their schooling journey will only benefit them in the long run.
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Hi, I'm Miss Julia!
Miss Julia has been an early childhood educator for 5 years, with over 10 years of experience working in childcare. She has been teaching at Playgarden Prep since 2017, and is happy to share ideas on some of her favorite early education topics with you! Miss Julia has a BA from UC Irvine, and uses her experience in performing arts to inspire little ones every day in her enrichment classes at Playgarden. In her free time, Miss Julia loves enjoying nature, cooking, and creating with friends.