I try to be generally positive… look ahead at the bigger picture and see the positive in the days. It doesn’t always work, and I can sometimes hear myself slipping into negativity. I have tried really hard to stay make a point of praising the children when they’ve achieved something, or when they have at least attempted something they were a bit reticent about.
I wrote last year about taking time to reset after a hard few months with the children’s behaviour and how I was questioning our whole approach. I am glad to say that things have been much happier – don’t get wrong it isn’t all perfect all the time, but we are much happier than we were last year.
As stressful as last year was, I’m glad we came out the other side as I’ve really tried to learn from that experience and make sure we have time in our weeks to just have, as the children call it, a quiet day. Often these days are anything but quiet and it can be simply going for a walk, going to the cafe or going for a family meal. Just something different from our usual routines. It gives us time to reset and just ‘be’.
But, that said there are still plenty of things that can cause me stresses in the day – I don’t want to present life as being insta-perfect – it’s not! Here are three stress triggers in my day.
Being quizzed by strangers.
I generally am pretty open about discussing home education, but sometimes answering the same questions gets a bit boring and tiresome. I always get asked on the days when you just want to get something done quickly and really don’t want to enter into a discussion. The worse times are when it’s the person who you know will have a strong (and often poorly informed) judgement about what you do. It’s happened a few times recently and there’s nothing like the judgement of a stranger to dampen the mood of the day.
When IT lets you down
I make use of the internet a lot, finding materials and ideas for teaching the children certain concepts. I tend to do a lot of this research at night when the children are in bed and during the day we use YouTube videos to illustrate to the children certain ideas and concepts. When I’m doing one to one work with the children, the other two will either play or use the Skoolbo app and work through a few of those games and activities. (I can thoroughly recommend Skoolbo as both Emma and Daniel love it). Nothing can ruin the flow of a lesson more than when the internet drops out and I’m interrupted by the children moaning to me that their apps aren’t working or a YouTube video crashes. I must admit I tend to send Damian a stroppy message (he works in an IT role) about our home IT but, since we switched to fibre broadband, our internet connection is much more reliable and means that at least one stress is eliminated. We used to be on a normal connection and I can’t tell you how often it would drop out or just be really slow loading pages.
We ended up doing various speed tests on our broadband connection there’s various sites that will tell you the speed you’re getting and what it could improve too with a different service, in my case fibre. I won’t pretend to understand what all the numbers mean but I have been super impressed with how much faster our service is, and, most importantly, how much more reliable it is.
Missing books and equipment
I try to have a reasonably organised learning area – the older two children have their own baskets where they store their various workbooks and folders (I ought to get Harry one too). The pens, pencils, paper etc are all stored in set areas. But there are always those days when you’re preparing for a project or new piece of work and you just can’t find something. It drives me nuts when I misplace something or can’t find a specific book we want to work with.
What are the triggers for stresses in your home life? One of my major ones has been really reduced now we have a speedier and more reliable internet service since we switched to fibre broadband… I just need to work on getting our tablets updated now!