Homeschoolers (and moms in general, really) aren’t perfect. We drop the ball, just like everyone else. Sadly, some homeschoolers (and moms, for that matter!) believe the following lies:
- Admitting that you drop the ball is bad.
- Dropping the ball means we shouldn’t homeschool.
- Telling others that dropping the ball is bad is an appropriate behavior.
All of those are big fat lies. Seriously.
Just like any other job, the ball gets dropped on occasion and it’s our fault. As any successful person will tell you that it’s what you do after you drop the ball that is key.
So… here are a few suggestions for when you drop the ball homeschooling (or even when you drop the ball as a mama):
Take the time to seek the LORD. Ask Him to reveal if there is a sin issue going on, if you are missing a key element in your homeschool (a child’s learning struggle, for example), if a curriculum is not working for you, if a schedule change is in order, and so on. There is usually a reason for the problem. Wisdom is key for solving it.
If you messed up with a child or children, take the time to admit your mistake and ask for forgiveness. Humbling ourselves before our children is an important part of them learning grace, both to accept it and extend it.
Have a catch up time.
If you are behind, then take a week to double up, just do catch up work, or focus on the problem area(s). You can even do this on a Saturday, if you need to. I’d highly encourage using rewards and incentives for all involved. For example, you could have a movie night with treats after the work is caught up or something equally fun for your family.
If the problem isn’t that you are behind, but that a child is struggling and you didn’t realize it, then have a ”zone in” time every day to help.
As far as applying this for just mothering, maybe you and your children need to “catch up” in whatever area you are struggling. For example, if you noticed a serious ball drop in the table manner area when you went somewhere recently, then have a Manners Boot Camp every night at dinner for a week or so. Tell them why and do the “work”. You can do this in just about any area you want to focus on, really. Mark it on your calender and zone in!
Move on. Sometimes, there is no need to make a big deal. Just keep moving forward with your schooling. Take note of what happened, but don’t dwell on it.
Switch gears. I know, I know. If you are midyear, it sounds crazy to switch curriculum, but it really can solve ball dropping problems. For example, if grading math work is a constant ball drop, then consider using Teaching Textbooks. The auto-grading sold me from the get go. Seriously. Also, I started using Writing With Ease and First Language Lessons because it is scripted.
If I am sick or something major comes up, an older child in the family can pick up that ball for me. They just have to read the teacher’s script with Phoebe and Esther. Lovely, no ball drop.
Being a mom doesn’t involve curriculum, but it does involve a mindset. If you are really dropping the ball, maybe your mindset is flawed or doesn’t really work for you no matter how well it works for a great friend. For example, if you believe you’ve dropped the ball in the hair department with your daughters because their hair is simply brushed every day (or most, whatever), maybe the problem isn’t really a problem.
Maybe the problem is that you think you are supposed to have your daughters’ hair done fantastically every day, but that simply isn’t a gift of yours, nor an interest. Let it go. Leave that ball right on the floor and switch mindsets.
No where in the Bible does it say you have to do up your daughters’ hair beautifully or creatively every day. Likewise, there isn’t anything wrong with it. It’s a preference, not a requirement.
Apply this in any struggling area and see if maybe you aren’t dropping the ball, but instead you aren’t supposed to be holding that ball at all.
Ask for help. If you are dropping the ball often and you aren’t sure why, ask a trusted friend who is farther in the homeschooling journey than you. You’d most likely be surprised to hear their struggles, their solutions, and their encouragement.
A few years ago, I was really dropping the ball. I didn’t know why. All I knew was that we weren’t getting everything done and I was frazzled. I talked to a few moms who are ten years older than me, and they immediately crossed subjects off my list. Turns out I was trying to cram way too much into a day. Naturally, it wasn’t all getting done because there are only so many hours before dinner.
I couldn’t believe the difference when we “took a break” from some “subjects” I had always done. I laughed later ,thinking I could so the same amount of work and teacher “meetings” with five kids (at that time, I was only schooling five) as I had done with two.
If the help you need is beyond the assistance of friends, then start googling. Yes, seriously. Type in the problem your child is having and see what pops up. You’d be surprised.
Join an online forum for homeschooling moms. I have been truly blessed by online moms who can share a different perspective and can help me see issues differently. I would recommend that you join at least one Christian group, but you can also gain some homeschooling help from non-Christians.
I have done the same thing with a dear friend when concerned about a mothering area. It blessed my socks off to talk with someone and gain perspective as well as help. The prayer support was no small gig either. Share your struggle with a godly mama and see what God has for you.
Keep a realistic perspective. Remember, even well paid teachers drop the ball on occasion. I was one, so I should know. The very best teachers know that, remind others of that, and learn from their mistakes. It’s not the end of the world and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t homeschool.
It simply means you are human.
Have chocolate. Seriously. All kinds of endorphin release goodness. If you eat dark chocolate, you can call it health food.