I have often wondered if it is wise to ever take time off from school. Starting back up after a holiday, sickness or even over the weekend is painfully slow. The kids swear they have no idea how to the same problems they breezed through only a week before. Even time off from Friday to Monday, only a two days difference is as if we have taken a month off. Getting back on track can be painful. It can be hard to know when to push through a tough morning and when to call it a day and go to the beach. There is wisdom in stepping back and assessing which needs to be done.
Here is what I use to assess how our morning is going. One of the first thing I ask myself is are my kids a mess emotionally, mentally and/or physically? In my experience when one part of a person is thrown off, it usually throws the whole person off. Discovering which one will bring back balance can be tricky.
Are they hungry?
Did they eat cold cereal for breakfast instead of hearty toast and eggs? Depending on the lesson that needs to be taught will determine if I allow them to get a protein and/or fruit during their morning learning. If they chose to get up late and had to rush through breakfast, then they may need a growling stomach to encourage them to get up earlier. Did they rush through breakfast because they were helping me with laundry and Timmy? Then they will definitely get a snack to help tide them over to lunch. It’s amazing how teaching them to eat properly often calms their emotions, leading to mental stability.
Are they tired?
Were they sick the night before or getting over an illness. Did they struggle with nightmares through the night or was their sister coughing through the night. Did they stay up late reading or playing in bed? My mentoring them in this area depends on the what and why. Their tiredness may mean I help them choose to take a rest/nap as well as get an earlier bed time. I make sure to share with them if their earlier bed time is wisdom or discipline or both.
Are they frustrated, scared, sad or a number of other emotions?
Do they not understand the content, is the content they are studying too hard? Do they need to ask a question (in the absence of communication, harry monsters grow. You can read more about this here.). Is there pride getting in the way of them asking the question. Do they not know they need to ask a question and they need my wisdom to show them how? If they are struggling emotionally they may be asked to go journal. Journaling has been a positive way to help them brainstorm what they are struggling with and why. They may draw pictures if their writing skills are not strong. Either way it helps them to get their emotional voltage out.
During the mornings when I am ready to pull out my hair I try to step back and take a deep breathe. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and then realistically assess what has been happening in our home. The kids are also use to me asking them if they are hungry or tired. Now that our kids are use to us helping them brainstorm they are quicker to realize what is causing their triggered reactions. They are then quicker to be able to problem solve their emotional explosion down the road. If they discover they are hungry they will ask if they can grab a cheese stick and an apple then continue their studying.
More often than not academics are not the subject being worked on during our mornings. It is more common for it to be the bi-product of our kids learning endurance, responsibility, persistence, confidence and reward. I have learned to let learning happen when it happens. It is what actually makes a person up our character that requires more fine tuning. When there character is looked after, learning happens.