Do You Plan for {Bad} Days?

A few weeks ago, Mystie Winckler hosted a planning chat with 4 regular mamas who have worked through her courses.  Sometimes round table events can feel a little diluted.  No one really gets to speak fully because there are so many voices.  I almost didn’t even listen…but there was a giant pile of laundry that needed folding!  And you know what?  It was wonderful!  I loved hearing the different perspectives on the same course.  One experience can resonate so differently with different people.  I even found myself answering back–offering my experience to…the pile of laundry.  And now to you!

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One of the first questions that struck me was about bad days.  What do you do when a homeschooling day goes bad?  It can be a late start, a whiny kid, a mama with allergies, a toddler who got in the markers again–or the perfect storm of all 4!  These were my troubles last spring. 😉  Here are my strategies for surviving and thriving–even on the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.

Bad Days Happen

Sometimes I think I cause more stress for myself just because I’m surprised when a day goes south.  It happens.  Even if you’ve got a good rhythm, even when the lessons are planned, even when YOU are bringing your A game.  This homeschooling thing has a lot of moving parts.  A lot of people.  People are not predictable, fool-proof machiches.  That’s one of the glories.  So we don’t need to be upset when our days don’t go as planned.  It happens!

Not a Failure

Bad days do not equal failure.  They are not even necessarily a sign that things need to change.  Give yourself grace.  Give your children grace.  Beginnings are hard.  Always begin again.  But if the bad days go on and on, maybe it’s time to think about your rhythms.

  • Is there margin in your day?
  • Is everyone healthy and getting the rest they need?
  • Are the seasons–and your energy, interest, desire–shifting?
  • Do the resources you’ve chosen support your child as they learn?

Plan in Weeks

This is a extraordinarily wise Mystie Winckler hack.  Days can go bad, but over the course of a week things tend to even out.  All of our homeschool plans are laid out by week: how many times a week do we need to do math?  And writing practice?  And history?  I make a list each week in my planner, and check things off as we complete them.  That way a bad day is buoyed along by all the other days.

Redeem the Time

Have a way to rebound when you hit a hard day.  For us it’s Poetry Teatime.  Nothing elaborate, just tea and cinnamon toast.  Then we gather around the table and listen to a poem or another chapter from our read-aloud.  If I’m feeling especially drained, I put on an audiobook  Then we can all have the pleasure of listening.

These small shifts in attitude and direction have saved us many a day.  How do you deal with the bad days when they come?

P.S. Mystie is offering 20% off anything in her shop with the code homeschooling through the end of the month!  And there are loads of other discount codes over at The Curriculum Choice this month!

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