Some days are better than others. There are those mornings I wake up and know the children are going to be in trouble and then there are the days I wish we could repeat over and over for the rest of the homeschool year in an endless loop. Let’s face it. We’re all crabby some days and enthusiastic on others. Why should kids be any different? However, sometimes things in our environment can affect us in ways we don’t know and set the mood for the rest of the day. Here are some things to be aware of that can affect your homeschool day for better or worse.
I just finished reading Sonic Boom by Joel Beckerman in which he talks about how sound can be manipulated to make us feel something. He is concerned mainly with the marketing side of using sound and music – jingles, anthems, things like that. But it got me thinking about how much sound affects me in my daily life. Consider how constant whining in the background makes you feel, think about your own tone when you speak to your children. Or how about the constant drip of television shows or video games in the background?
How about playing classical or jazz while you’re doing chores? (I find that to truly relax I need a wordless environment for a little while. Even music with lyrics tire me mentally. Experiment with different kinds.) How about playing study music while the kids do independent work for greater focus? Pandora and Spotify are free. Also, if you like the coffee shop environment, there’s an app for that. Or perhaps you need white noise?
Play around with it and eventually you’ll hit a sweet spot. Music calms my children down and puts me in a better mood – for both work and play. Win-win.
I mentioned above that words in music can sometimes make me feel mentally exhausted. Perhaps it’s because I’m a writer and notice things like lyrics more than the instruments in a piece of music. But words have the ability to change the way we think about things as well. Michael Hyatt talks about specifically about how a shift in our vocabulary can affect our thinking here.
It’s not a stretch to see how this affects our homeschooling through the day. It might seem like a good idea to “vent” about a bad day to a friend, but it is not always productive and can sometimes be detrimental. Instead, focus on what has worked, what you can do to make it better or if that seems like too much, just take a break and be quiet for a little while. Take a nap.
Watch your words and teach your children to do the same. It will dramatically change your mood.
What do you wear through the day? Do you know that getting dressed for a day of work can actually affect your mood and productivity more than any other thing you can think of? Fly Lady talks about getting dressed to lace up shoes. People looking for work are told repeatedly to get up, shower and dress for work as if they already had a job, and then begin the job search process. There is power in dressing well.
As a homeschooler, you should not be in pajamas all day. Sure, there are days for that. But your children are looking to you to see if what you do is important, if what they do is worthwhile – pajamas don’t convey that to them. There are plenty of clothes that are comfortable enough for you to be able to teach in and hang out with kids. Look to teacher’s clothes for inspiration. Most days, you will find me in a skirt with a comfortable top.
You are at work. What you do is important. Act like it.
Tweak these three things and see if it doesn’t change your homeschooling. You might be surprised at the results.