If you enter our home now, you will notice boxes piled high in all the rooms. We are moving house. And to make matters worse, we are doing it in two steps. There is no other word for it: it is difficult. It is also uncomfortable. Paring things down for daily use, deciding what is to be kept and what stored is not familiar territory to me. We don’t tend to have a lot of clutter, but I like what I have on hand and I usually know where to find what I need.
No more, though. Change is hard.
Sometimes, we tend to forget that as homeschoolers. When the routine becomes so familiar, we forget what it used to be when we were new. And that new ground is what some of you new homeschoolers are stepping into this August. So my best piece of advice is this: keep something familiar. Do not underestimate the comfort of that one familiar thing.
Change can be incredibly exciting.
I remember raring to go when I first decided to homeschool. It was an exciting time. We were embarking on an adventure, after all. I could smell it. There were decisions to be made, things to buy – everything was so new and fun!
But there was a downside. It was exhausting.
I had never done this before. My kids had never done this before. When we hit a snag, we didn’t know how to move forward. If my children didn’t react or learn the way the workbook said they should, I didn’t know what to do.
In those days, I realized the same thing I am discovering now in the midst of our move: there is comfort in the familiar. Instead of overhauling everything, keeping some things the same can be hugely motivating.
Ever heard the phrase “some things never change?” Notice the relief in that.
One thing I never took into account when we decided to move was how disruptive this would be for my children and how shaken they would feel as a result. Because our family thrives on our daily rhythms, the sudden change and discord became apparent. They became mopey and difficult. I began to wonder what had happened to my usually cheerful and happy kids.
So I had to be intentional about the small things, I realized. Because to the kids those were the big things. In the midst of moving, we brought back family movies, read alouds; we brought back library days.
So when beginning homeschooling – as in when moving – remember to balance the new with the old. Newness can be fun but tiring. And sometimes we need the old to tie us down and make us feel grounded.
Never underestimate the comfort of the familiar.