Our science experiments have usually been one of the highlights of our homeschool weeks. But recently, on one already disagreeable day, our physics lesson was the last straw.
Looking back, I should’ve seen the perfect storm brewing:
- I was underprepared for our experiment; I didn’t have all the supplies ready.
- I didn’t test the experiment ahead of time to make sure it worked.
- I’d been ignoring our dwindling pencil supply for weeks.
- We’d all had a late night, overslept in the morning, and woke up crabby.
- Because we’d woken up late, we skipped our usual morning snack.
- Our school area was beyond messy (like “can’t find the floor” messy).
I won’t bore you or embarrass myself with all the painful details. But by the end of the morning, there were more people crying than not, and no one knew or cared what the science lesson was supposed to have been about.
If anyone wanted to convince someone not to homeschool, they could’ve just brought them to my house at that moment.
It was complete chaos. Utterly ineffective. A total disaster.
Or was it?
Everyone has bad days. But educating at home helps give families the time and space needed to make the best out of the worst and learn from it all.
After everyone’s tears dried and I came out of “mommy time-out” (i.e. a Snickers bar eaten in a locked bathroom), here’s what happened:
- We gave and received apologies all around.
- I realized how I’d squashed the kids’ input in my efforts to “stay on track.” They explained their creative solutions to some of the failed parts of our experiment.
- We all decided together to give the experiment another shot. It turned out to be a great demonstration of the concept we were learning.
- They loved the whole thing so much they took the experiment even further. They kept our pulley contraption up for days and continued their own testing and improvements to the setup.
- We talked for a good long while about what might’ve caused our morning to go off the rails. They learned more in this 25 min. crash-course in nutrition, sleep, and emotional intelligence than I could’ve taught them in two weeks of “health class.”
Yes, it took two times as long to circle back and basically redo our entire morning. But, as home educators, we HAVE that time!
A bad homeschooling day can be one of the best days to practice living out positive character traits. It can be a great opportunity to model prayer, perseverance, and self control. And if our frustrations get the best of us, then the day becomes an opportunity to model forgiveness, mercy, and humility.
As homeschoolers, we are present to see the the heart issues that pop up in ourselves and our kids throughout the day. And we have the time and freedom to stop and address those problems before they grow.
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