Some days are easy, some days not so much. Most home school moms know exactly what I mean. School seems to start out in August very smoothly for my family. The first day the school room is quiet and peaceful as the kids open their new books, and log on to their new classes ready to tackle the year in style. By week two we are chatting and getting distracted. Mid year we are grumpy, stressed, and feeling like caged lions ready to escape a zoo. So what do we do when we are feeling penned up and just plain sick of school?

I learned early on in my homeschooling journey that kids have a hard time getting into a routine but once they do get into a routine it is better not to disrupt that routine. Getting kids back into a routine after they have had a break is harder than setting the routine to begin with. Christmas break fast became more of a dark cloud looming on a rocky horizon than a welcome respite from the studies. Until I discovered a trick that changed everything. ‘

Our school week used to be 5 days long filled to the brim with lessons, videos and busy work. We would be sure to clock every single hour and make them count! Recently I have switched to a 4 day week which has seemed to work out much better for us. But what was even better, and more effective was changing our yearly schedule entirely. Now starting in early August, we can afford to take a long weekend every month. We also take a week at Christmas just for family, and the entire month of January off. We end then in mid May.

We can do this because I learned a little secret I want to share with you. Chores count! You can count the hours your kids spend helping you with gardening, laundry, cooking and so much more, towards your required hours for school. You can also count family bike rides, and hiking. You can count the time they are helping dad work on the family car, or fix the washer when it breaks. There are so many diverse ways to get your hours in that you don’t have to stress over the 900 hour minimum that most states deem necessary for home school students.

When you have a bad day and no one is motivate, or mom gets just plain frustrated with teaching, you can throw your hands up and say let’s have a park day! Take the kids for a bike ride, or go to the local health club and play a little one on one. Those days count too! Snuggle in bed and watch a great nature show, or pop some popcorn and put on a you tube science video.

School doesn’t have to be stressful. Kids want to learn! They love learning and investigating things. If your child is finding it difficult to concentrate or you are having a hard time finding a way to connect them to the subject in a way that engages their minds then give up! Search for a game or other fun learning manipulative that will get them learning again! Learning is fun, and if we can get our kids to see that then the school year becomes a breeze and our bad days grow fewer and further between